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 Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" CD/LP/Track Review Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete NPR Jazz Alive! Recording" CD/LP/Track Review Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete...
by John Kelman
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Tether" CD/LP/Track Review Tether
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "As It Should Be: Ballads 2" CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Ripple" CD/LP/Track Review Ripple
by Bob Kenselaar
Published: November 29, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.