4

Little Feat: Rooster Rag

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Little Feat: Rooster Rag Too often lumped in with jam bands like Phish, String Cheese Incident or Widespread Panic, Little Feat more properly belongs with Allman Brothers Band, which developed a greater popularity early on before settling in for largely improvisatory concerts based on its own band book and covers. Little Feat diverge from the ABB in that it has released two studio albums of new material, 2003's Kickin' it At the Barn (Hot Tomato) and the present Rooster Rag, to the Brothers' 2003 Hittin' The Note (Sanctuary).

Rooster Rag reveals the same sophistication of all post-Lowell George-era Little Feat releases, except that this sophistication sounds progressive, more like the band is having a good time making the music. Rooster Rag is the first recording without original drummer Richie Hayward, who passed away in 2010 from liver cancer. Longtime drum technician Gabriel Ford takes over the drumming duties; as with George's death in 1979, all would be okay, but thjings would never be the same.

Guitarist Fred Tackett, who composed "Fool Yourself" for Dixie Chicken (Warner Brothers, 1973), has taken a larger songwriting role, with contributions like the neo-Southern soulful "Church Falling Down" and "Tattooed Girl." Tackett brings a softer voice to the group, one more impressionistic. Keyboardist Bill Payne takes on a songwriting partner in Robert Hunter, who was long associated with the Grateful Dead, for a spate of smart songs including the strangely apropos title piece, as well as several others.

This album is something other than greater than the sum of its parts. The blanket presence of Paul Barrere's underrated slide guitar causes this disc to reveal that these seasoned musicians can still draw from their peers. Payne/Hunter's "Salome," "Rag Top Down" and "Way Down Under," and Tackett's "One Breath at a Time" all bear the influence of slide guitarist Sonny Landreth's unique style, being assimilated by Barrere in his own slide guitar playing. Barrere does not merely imitate, as he is too great a guitarist for that. Rather, he incorporates Landreth's method to great effect. His distinctive vocals open the disc with the band's concert standard, Mississippi John Hurt's "Candy Man Blues." The disc closes with percussionist Sam Clayton singing Willie Dixon's contribution to Little Walter Jacobs' "Mellow Down Easy." This is a fine evolution of a respected American band.

Track Listing: Candy Man Blues; Rooster Rag; Church Falling Down; Salome; One Breath at a Time Just a Fever; Rag Top Down Way Down Under; Jamaica Will Break Your Heart; Tattooed Girl; The Blues Keep Coming; Mellow Down Easy.

Personnel: Paul Barrere: guitars, vocals; Sam Clayton: percussion, vocals; Gabriel Ford: drums; Ken Gradney: bass; Bill Payne: keyboards, vocals; Fred Tackett: guitar, mandolin, trumpet, vocals; Larry Campbell: violin; Darrell Leonard: trumpets; Joe Sublet: Saxophones; Johnny Lee Schell: vocals and guitar; Kim Simmons: harmonica.

Title: Rooster Rag | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Hot Tomato


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "The Drive" CD/LP/Track Review The Drive
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Choice" CD/LP/Track Review Choice
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "The Journey" CD/LP/Track Review The Journey
by James Nadal
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Wild About You" CD/LP/Track Review Wild About You
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 2, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.