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Willin' [Hardcover]

Ben Fong-Torres
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
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Book Description

11 July 2013
The saga of the legendary Los Angeles band Little Feat is one of rock 'n' roll's great stories. Formed in 1969 by ex-members of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, Little Feat created groove-heavy music that was an irresistible mix of rock, blues, R&B, country, jazz, soul, and funk. Fronted by the charismatic but doomed vocalist and brilliant slide guitarist Lowell George, the band recorded such classic studio albums as Sailin' Shoes and Dixie Chicken, as well as Waiting for Columbus, which many consider to be one of the best live albums of all time. Acclaimed journalist Ben Fong-Torres-working with Little Feat's surviving members, their friends, and associates-wrote Willin' based on hours of brand new interviews with the key players. The result? The first definitive biography of this beloved rock 'n' roll institution.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (11 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306821311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306821318
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Booklist, 11/1/13 "Drawing on interviews with bandmates, family members, and fellow musician...details the in-fighting; the romantic entanglements (which rival those of Fleetwood Mac); the drugs; and the music. ...This long-overdue biography is a treat for Feat fans and an homage to a seminal '70s band whose influence on other musicians far outweighs its commercial success." Niagara Gazette/Tonawanda News Sunday, 10/27/13 "If you are familiar with the music of Little Feat you will absolutely love the book, as it answers a lot of questions. If not, well it is a great cultural history piece on how the music industry has evolved over the years and one band's tenacity to overcome all of those changes." Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 11/10/13 "A definitive history of a most interesting (and talented) band" Vintage Guitar, 1/1/13 "[An] enticing, entertaining read." Blogcritics, 12/4/13 "Fong-Torres was the perfect choice for this book...For those of us who have been waiting for the definitive Little Feat book to come along, this is it." Toronto Globe and Mail, 12/7/13 "Probably the most underrated band in rock 'n' roll history, Little Feat (Willin', Dixie Chicken) finally gets its due. Focus is properly on its presiding spirit, the brilliant and doomed Lowell George." Glide Magazine, 1/8/14 "Founding Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres does an admirably restrained job of telling the Feats story factually and without undue melodrama...Meticulously gathering facts like the expert reporter that he is, Fong-Torres speaks with seemingly all those around George at every point in his life." Houston Press, 1/20/13 "[The] story and music of Little Feat are due for reevaluation among classic-rock fans, and Willin' is a big step in that direction." Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/16/2014 "A fine Rolling Stone writer drawn to tales of tragic greatness unfulfilled... Fong-Torres is a good stylist, an excellent music reporter, and a compassionate storyteller. It's hard to tell stories about music and musicians: So much is hidden, so much chaotic. The rock life is a road, not an arc, highlights but few resolutions. Fong-Torres knows that better than almost any writer alive. He weaves a tale of superbly gifted, sensitive people trying to make something good, enjoyable, and lasting... Willin' is one of the few books that makes a band's post-spotlight career as interesting as its salad days."

About the Author

Ben Fong-Torres is a journalist, author, and broadcaster, best known for his work in Rolling Stone and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the author of nine books and lives in San Francisco. BenFongTorres.com

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second to none! 26 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
LF was a band thats hard to compare to any other. The complex rythms! Sadly, the loss of Lowell George DOES bring a comparison into mind: The ressurected Band WITHOUT Robbie Robertson in the line-up.
Fong-Torres gives a fine back ground account to this unique band.
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3.0 out of 5 stars FEAT WITHOUT THE MEAT 22 May 2014
By Doris H
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is as close to an `official` biography of Little Feat as you`ll get and while I wasn`t looking for some kind of cheesy tell-all account, this lacks meat and tends toward bland, respectful, band-sanctioned accounts of their career. It must have ben a lot more exciting than this and the band`s own accounts in interviews and other written pieces suggest that it certainly was. It is nevertheless a well-written book for diehard fans from a respected critic. Just a tad dull and worthy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Band 16 Feb 2014
By Terry
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a well written book with a good balance of the good and bad times with support from those involved.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory. 8 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thought i knew a lot about the band,having been a fan since the early seventies, but was unaware of the tensions and personality clashes within "Feat "these differences contributed in a positive way in forming the music,but they did contribute to the exit of the main man.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A wasted opportunity 17 Jan 2014
By harpyface - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a die-hard Little Feat fanatic, but was immensely disappointed with this book. Given Ben Fong-Torres' undoubted reputation as a legendary Rolling Stone journalist and the fact that he had access to the band and Lowell George's immediate family, it is amazing how little his book reveals in the way of insights or even new information.
He sketches over vital moments such as Little Feat's coming together and the recording of highlights such as 'Dixie Chicken' and instead seems to tell the story of this much-loved band through judicious use of already available sources. Passing and coy references to substance abuse won't suffice when drugs played a key part in the music and it's story.
Fong-Torres gives credit to at least two editors, so why are there whole blocks of writing that appear word for word twice within a few pages of each other.
I felt that this was altogether a slapdash and lightweight book - not entirely without merit, but the definitive story of Lowell George and Little Feat is definitely still waiting to be told.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For completists only 24 Dec 2013
By Eilert Ottem - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ben Fong Torres' book on LF is full of factual errors, laboured prose and inconsequential, lurid stories. Granted, they need to be told, but he tells them in a gossipy kind of way. Too much second- or third hand stories of their (particularly Lowell's) infidelities and general misbehaviours, too few, if any, attempts at looking at what made them tick musically.
If a regular music fan gets a John Lennon song title wrong, no matter, but when a journo makes it "Jealous Kind," and actually doesn't discover that while proof reading, then you know he's no proper music man. I had a few a laughs while reading it, but that was due to the subject matter, not the work of Mr Torres. Shameful
Two stars for uncovering a couple of autobiograpical facts on the guys, zero stars for Mr Torres.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feats don't fail me now! 12 Dec 2013
By joseph j macdonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've always loved this band!!!! Even though my prejudice made me
stop listening after Lowell's death, I now realize that I've been missing out.
Sometimes though, reading bios of my musical heroes make me a bit
saddened by the realization that their talents always seemed to mask
self-cannibalistic inner demons. Still, a great read to understand the heart
and soul of one of our most underrated and undervalued bands!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disjointed 17 Jan 2014
By robert h - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been a Feat fan since 1975 and was excited to find this. The story telling was very interesting, but sometimes hard to follow. It would be a difficult read if you were not a fan. Learned some things is didn't know. I had attended the Roxy shows that were referred to in the book and now learned the reason for gift certificates. What should have been included was LF played Tripe Face Boogie and stopped virtually mid note - did the raffle - and picked up mid note. An amazing musical moment for us. It appears that Jackson Browne chose not to participate with the author and I think he could have added a lot. A good read for a fan, but if not....
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great material, written in a rush? 4 Mar 2014
By bgandl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've been a fan of both the author and the band since the sixties. Fong-Torres can sure write better than this and he needed a better editor than he got on this one. I appreciated hearing the story told from the inside, but the prose didn't sing. Jarring errors, both factual and grammatical, jump off the page. I'm glad I got it from the library and didn't purchase it.
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