on 22 January 2007
The sound on the first Little Feat is markedly different from the other 1970's Feat albums. Don't expect the polished sound of albums like "Time Loves a Hero", "Down on the Farm" or "The Last Record Album".
The line-up changed after this album, which may be part of the explanation to the sound change.
As usual most of Lowell George's songs are great; some even outstanding. On this album several of his songs are written with Bill Payne, who also wrote a couple of the songs alone.
Though the sound may be rougher than on most later Feat albums, most trademarks of the band are already shown here; the fat slide-guitarplaying, the great voice of Lowell George and of course the unique songwriting.
Some of the biggest Little Feat classics come from this debut-album. Songs like "Truck Stop Girl", "Willin'", "I've Been the One" are standout-songs.
Lesser known tracks like "Brides of Jesus" and "Taking My Time" are almost equally strong.
Interesting that some of these songs were actually released by other artist before this album came out. The Byrds recorded "Truck Stop Girl" for their "Untitled" album, and their version with Clarence White's vocals up-front is my clear favourite version of that song. Seatrain recorded "Willin'" for their 2nd 1970 album. My favourite version of that song is Little Feat's own re-recording for the "Sailin'Shoes" album, though this first version is also great.
on 7 August 2009
This is the first album by Little Feat, Lowell George's solo project following his altercations with Frank Zappa, and, along with Sailing Shoes pre-dates the change in line-up that led to the funky rhythm section of Dixie Chicken and all following Little Feat recordings.
As such, it has a much more countrified feel to it that their later work, tinged with blues and some countercultural rock.
It's a bit of a mish-mash really - there's some folky-western tunes in there (The Brides of Jesus), some good rocking tunes on what it's like to be a hippy (Strawberry Flats), a couple of love songs influenced by the whole trucker-ethic (Truck Stop Girl, Willing) and the blues of 'How Many More Times?/44 Blues'.
Throughout, George's voice is forceful, tender and soaring as the need arises, and his slide guitar work is second to none. A great early album, but before they really defined their rather more Cajun sound.
This was Little Feat's first record and you can hear them assembling all the different elements that would make up their style for years to come:
multiple styles - check, great playing - check, killer songs - check, wierd lyrics - check. While they hadn't got the mix quite right yet, it was almost there and it does contain some classic songs that stayed in the act for many years.
For a start there is the first incarnation of "Willin" with Ry Cooder on guitar - it's not the definitive version which was to appear on "Sailing Shoes" but it is still mighty fine. Cooder also stays on for a medley of Howlin' Wolf songs, some of the toughest, most authentic blues Little Feat ever recorded. There are some beautiful country songs "Truck stop girl" and "Brides of Jesus", some melodic ballads "Taking my time" and "I've been the one" and some wierd ones "Hamburger midnight" and "Crazy captain gunboat Willie". Ah there was no one quite like Little Feat.
on 31 October 2011
A really good album with mostly great songs & a couple that are just OK. I personally prefer the later line-up after Estrada left & Barrere, Gradney & Clayton joined. However this is still an excellent album with standout songs such as Snakes All Over Everything, Truck Stop Girl, Willin & Crazy Captain Gunboat Willie. There's more of a Country feel to this 1st release than later records. Also, the production is a bit rough & ready compared to their other albums.
If you are new to Little Feat, I suggest something from a later period such as Dixie Chicken as an introduction to the band. Already a Little Feat Fan? Then you'll love this one too.