LITTLE FEAT – ” Sailin Shoes ” Classic Albums Released May 1972

Posted: October 4, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Sailin' Shoes

By 1972, Lowell George and his Little Feat cohorts had an acclaimed debut album under their belts but with their second album “Salin’ Shoes” the band reached another level entirely – something obvious from the opening notes of “Easy To Slip,” which stands among the great lost singles of the decade. Produced by Ted Templeman, the Warner Bros. collection features some of George’s best-loved songs, including “Cold, Cold, Cold,” “Tripe Faced Boogie,” “Teenage Nervous Breakdown”

Highlighted by a reworked group version of “Willin'”, the track that had led to Frank Zappa sacking the guitarist and vocalist Lowell George from The Mothers of Invention, it also featured such enduring tracks as “A Apolitical Blues,” Little Feat’s second quartet album, didn’t sell any better than their eponymous debut. But it offered gems a-plenty. This one showcases how George’s deep blues roots are morphing into his fluidly idiomatic slide guitar; his vocals have absorbed influences like Wolf but are becoming his own. The lyrics brandish classic Little Feat attitude: a flip-the-bird blues. It was suited to this moment, when the country was nearly exhausted by the strife between Nixon’s “silent majority” and the ongoing civil rights and antiwar movements. And the music rocks: Bill Payne, George’s primary creative alter-ego and jousting partner, unleashes his always adroit piano.

“Easy to Slip” and the title track, all by guitarist and lead vocalist Lowell George, the second co-written with Martin Kibbee, credited as “Fred Martin”, a former bandmate from The Factory, and the first appearance of the “George/Martin” credit on a Little Feat record.

Lowell George and Bill Payne don’t stop at being the writers of virile, touching songs–they’re also masterful musicians. Payne plays a cool, elegant piano and a hot, whirring organ. George makes his slide guitar howl and roar like a tractor trailer in the midst of a steep, mountainous descent. George illustrates the muscular mating of men and their machines, while Payne celebrates it. Together with former Mother Roy Estrada on bass and Richard Hayward on drums, they compose one super rock ‘n’ roll band. Little Feat can play steaming hot, iron-ore heavy, over-easy light, or non-stop speedy, as the occasion demands. They never sound pretty, but there’s an unmissable beauty about their rough-around-the-edges designs.

As seasoned L.A. music veterans, the foursome deliver performances that are pretty near immaculate and, more importantly, soulful; the roots-informed rock of these 11 tracks goes down mighty easy. If Neon Park’s cover art isn’t sufficient inspiration to kick up your heels, just give a listen to SAILIN’ SHOES It’s a true classic album. Little Feat is involved with–and living folklore. Sailin’ Shoes, interweaving its big trucks, seedy hotels, and greasy spoons with songs about rock & roll, seeks to incorporate this special music into the raw, vibrant, and vast setting of mythic America.

It was the last full Little Feat record to be produced by an outsider until 1977’s Time Loves a Hero, with each of the three interim albums being produced almost entirely by Lowell George.

Personnel:

  • Lowell George – guitar, lead (all but 10) and backing vocals, harmonica, baritone saxophone, drum machine
  • Bill Payne – Hammond organ, backing and lead vocals (10), Wurlitzer electric piano, piano, accordion
  • Roy Estrada – bass, backing vocals
  • Richie Hayward – drums, backing vocals, percussion
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