Fred Tackett: Coming Home
Before then it was very schizophrenic, I did classical music on the trumpet, I did rock and roll on the guitar, and I did jazz on the drums; and then it was like somebody did me like Mose Allison-stole my drums, and I never played drums again. [Mose Allison] played trumpet, if you listen to the very first Mose Allison records there is always a couple of cuts where he plays trumpet, a couple of standard jazz tunes. He said once somebody stole the trumpet, and that was it for the trumpet. Same thing with me and the drums.
AAJ: Mose Allison is another great Southern jazz musician.
FT: Mose Allison, he was one of the first singer/songwriters unless you go to Stephen Foster maybe, but Mose Allison was everything. You can't find a guy that is working around from our generation that wasn't heavily influenced by Mose Allison.
I told the story, while on the Lynyrd Skynyrd tour, that I used to carry this album around up in Hillcrest with a picture of Mose Allison, trying to get a Roman haircut; everybody had flat tops then and I go into the barbershop with this thing and ask, "Where am I gonna get a haircut like this," and I would come out of there with a flat top.
Another anecdote was while I was working Boz Scaggs, we were in the studio and he hired Jimmy Smith to play the organ to play on one of his tunes. And after he finished the cut they went into the sound booth and Jimmy Smith said, "Why do all you white guys sound like Mose Allison?" He was a great influence.
AAJ: How has songwriting for you changed since from [Little Feat's} Dixie Chicken (Warner Bros, 1973) to the last two albums you've done?
FT: We went through a period, when Dixie Chicken was recording, when I was working for [composer] Jimmy Webb. [Little Feat co-founder/guitarist/vocalist] Lowell [George] was a real good friend of Jimmy's. My wife and lived next door to Lowell and brought him over to Jimmy's house to play guitar. Well, Lowell at that point played only sitar and was studying at [sitarist] Ravi Shankar's school, and about three weeks later he was with the Standells and then he was with the Mothers of Invention and we became real good friends. I said, "This is a guy whose humor I can work with."
We were working on a soundtrack for the Naked Ape movies with Jimmy [Webb], and Lowell played some slide guitar on it. And at that time I gave him, I played "Fool Yourself" for him. Paul [Barrère] and all the other guys joined the band and Lowell said I am going to record "Fool Yourself." So that's how I started ... I was writing songs myself.
Then, in 1988, when we put the band back together our Idea was for me and Billy [keyboardist/vocalist Bill Payne] and Paul to collaborate, to experiment and we did that for a lot of albums. Paul and I wrote together and Billy, Paul and I wrote together and, for this last record [Rooster Rag], I had been working on a solo project [Silver Strings (R Cole Music, 2010) ] and Billy hadn't been writing anything and Paul was just getting started. Then Billy started writing with Robert Hunter and the album came together.
AAJ: Welcome Home.
Little Feat, Rooster Rag (Hot Tomato, 2012)
Fred Tackett, Silver Strings (R Cole Music, 2010)
Little Feat, Barnstormin' Live (Hot Tomato, 2005)
Fred Tackett, In a Town Like This (Hot Tomato, 2003)
Little Feat, Raw Tomatos Volume One (Hot Tomato, 2002)
Little Feat, Let It Roll (Warner Brothers, 1988)