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Feats Don't Fail Me Now

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Album Review

If Dixie Chicken represented a pinnacle of Lowell George as a songwriter and band leader, its sequel Feats Don't Fail Me Now is the pinnacle of Little Feat as a group, showcasing each member at their finest. Not coincidentally, it's the moment where George begins to recede from the spotlight, leaving the band as a true democracy. These observations are only clear in hindsight, since if Feats Don't Fail Me Now is just taken as a record, it's nothing more than a damn good rock & roll record. That's not meant as a dismissal, either, since it's hard to make a rock & roll record as seemingly effortless and infectious as this. Though it effectively builds on the Southern-fried funkiness of Dixie Chicken, it's hardly as mellow as that record - there's a lot of grit, tougher rhythms, lots of guitar and organ. It's as supple as Chicken, though, which means that it's the sound of a touring band at their peak. As it happens, the band is on the top of their writing game as well, with Bill Payne contributing the rollicking "Oh Atlanta" and Paul Barrere turning in one of his best songs, the jazzy funk of "Skin it Back." Each has a co-writing credit with George — Payne on the unreleased Little Feat-era nugget "The Fan" and Barrere (plus Fred Martin) on the infectious title track — who also has a couple of classics with "Rock and Roll Doctor" and the great "Spanish Moon." Feats peters out toward the end, as the group delves into a 10-minute medley of two Sailin' Shoes songs, but that doesn't hurt one of the best albums Little Feat ever cut. It's so good, the group used it as the template for the rest of their career.

Customer Reviews

Feats Don't Fail Me Now

I can't believe this is the first review of this classic album. it brings back memories of the Little Feat appearances on the 'Old Grey Whistle Test' show back in the 70's. Worth buying for 'Rock and Roll Doctor' alone....a timeless classic.

Near-forgotten unsung classic

Got this as a teenager in the 80s on the recommendation of a hifi magazine (of all the things) - it was utterly unfashionable then, and I guess it still is now - although it is strangely timeless while still reeking of the 70s. It took me a solid year to really get what this was about - I was a kid listening to real adult musicians and finally began to see how good-time rock, made for fun, can be meticulously put together with conviction, class and utterly brilliant musicianship across the board.

I wore out my vinyl copy long ago, got the Cold Cold Cold/Tripe Face Boogie medley played as my top tune of all time on Radio Caroline and moved on. Only to rediscover the true delight of this great great band a quarter century later. It seems like Ry Cooder and many others, yet just keeps growing in its delights. Warming without schmaltz, brilliant without being coldly technical, it is the kind of durable delight which just makes you smile. I miss a band which had broken up (in its original guise) before I ever heard of them, and it all started with this record.


Formed: 1969 in Hollywood, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Though they had all the trappings of a Southern-fried blues band, Little Feat were hardly conventional. Led by songwriter/guitarist Lowell George, Little Feat were a wildly eclectic band, bringing together strains of blues, R&B, country, and rock & roll. The bandmembers were exceptionally gifted technically and their polished professionalism sat well with the slick sounds coming out of Southern California during the '70s. However, Little Feat were hardly slick -- they had a surreal sensibility, as...
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