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Little Feat: Barnstormin

C. Michael Bailey By

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Little Feat: Barnstormin Little Feat whet our appetite with the release of Barnstormin' Live, Volume One last year. A second volume has just been released and the two have been packaged together. Since the band's reformation in 1988, it has released numerous live recordings, including the archival releases Raw Tomatoes, Volume 1 & Ripe Tomatoes, Volume 1 and three contemporary live recordings, High Wire Act Live in St. Louis, Down Upon the Suwannee River and Live at Rams Head. These recent live recordings differ dramatically from the touchstone Lowell George-era Waiting for Columbus, which was known for its sinewy mixing, resulting from LG's obsessive attention.

The two volumes of Barnstormin' Live document LF's 2004 tour of the same name. The set illustrates two major differences from earlier releases: first, the inclusion of less LG-era music and a spotlight on less tried and true material. For example, Barnstormin' lacks "Dixie Chicken, Fat Man in the Bathtub and "Willin'. Instead, we hear "Roll 'Em Easy, "Fool Yourself and "Six Feet of Snow. New songs are showcased, including "Keepin' Up With the Jones, "Change in Luck, and "Under the Radar.

The second difference between the eras is in sonics. LG preferred the band to have a well-separated sound where all of the instruments were evident and there was plenty of Miles Davis-like space between instruments. The newer recordings show a more muscular approach with a John Coltrane-ish wall-of-sound that has a powerful aural momentum. This is immediately evident on both "Rocket in my Pocket and "Down on the Farm, both sporting Paul Barrere's superb slide guitar, particularly on the latter piece, where Barrere shows off his blues chops.

The 21st Century Little Feat is a powerful band with an extensive book of both original and cover material. Like its 1970s cohort, the Allman Brothers Band, Little Feat has released just enough studio material to keep its live shows interesting and its creative processes growing. These bands are not merely survivors; they also prevail in their effort to produce a sound that is at once completely familiar and fresh.


Track Listing:

Disc 1: Rocket In My Pocket; Keepin' Up With the Joneses; Change In Luck; Spider's Blues; One Clear Moment / Just Another Sunday; Walkin' As Two; Last Night; Roll Um Easy; The Blues Don't Tell It All; Why Don't It Look Like the Way That It Talk.

Disc 2: Down on the Farm - Candyman; Under The Radar; Fool Yourself; Sailin' Shoes; Night On The Town; A Political Blues - Long Distance Call; Distant Thunder; Six Feet Of Snow; Fighting The Mosquito Wars; Day At The Dog Races.

Personnel: Fred Tackett: vocals, guitar, mandolin, trumpet; Paul Barrere: vocals, guitar, harmonica; Bill Payne: vocals, keyboards; Richie Hayward: vocals, drums; Shaun Murphy: vocals, tambourine; Sam Clayton: vocals, percussion; Kenny Gradney: bass guitar.

Title: Barnstormin | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hot Tomato


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