Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Little Feat: Rooster Rag

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
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

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May24Fri
Little Feat
Humphrey's By the Bay
San Diego, CA
May25Sat
Little Feat
Saban Theatre
Beverly Hills, CA
May31Fri
Little Feat
Revolution Hall
Portland, OR
$79
Jun1Sat
Little Feat
Moore Theatre
Seattle, WA
Jun3Mon
Little Feat
Wilma Theatre
Missoula, MT
Jun5Wed
Little Feat
Red Butte Garden
Salt Lake City, UT

Related Articles

Read Poems For Orchestra Album Reviews
Poems For Orchestra
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 26, 2019
Read We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Album Reviews
We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
By Mark Corroto
April 25, 2019
Read Golem Dance Album Reviews
Golem Dance
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 25, 2019
Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019