Itís the fifth, actually

Nov 29, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:A Apolitical Blues, Long Distance Love, Day Or Night

Cons:Don’t Bogart That Joint & Somebody’s Leavin

The Bottom Line:

This is a very good Little Feat album, although it is not their greatest. I still recommend it with the reservations listed in the cons.

Despite the rather ominous title this was not the last Little Feat album. It was in fact their fifth and wasn’t even the last one before anyone in the band left or died. In the liner notes, Lowell George tries to offer an explanation for this, but I’m afraid he lost me round about the image of Hollywood as “a giant fruit salad with a twist of a cool whip like a mirage in your garage”.
All that aside, this is a very good album, as you might expect from such a top band.

A somewhat new look Little Feat emerges with opener, Romance Dance. It is written by keyboardist Bill Payne with guitarist Paul Barrere and bassist Ken Gradney and for the first time the album is not heavily weighted towards Lowell George compositions. This one is still pretty much in their normal style though. Featuring Lowell George on slide guitar, it is a good old ‘road song’ about a lonely guy in a strange town trying to convince a young lady to ‘do the horizontal mambo’ with him, as the lyric so delicately puts it.

Next up is a song that definitely breaks with LF tradition. All That You Dream written by Barrere and Payne is a bit of a hybrid between a country song and a jazz tune. I think it works very well.

Long Distance Love is the first track you would immediately associate with Little Feat and this is probably because it is the first one here written by Lowell George. Backing vocals come from Valerie Carter and Fran Tate

Based around Bill Payne’s keyboards, Day Or Night is another departure. It develops into a bit of a jazzy exposition with solos from keyboards, drum and bass.

Although written by Payne, Barrere and Gradney, One Love Stand returns to the Little Feat country blues groove that you associate with Little Feat. Lowell’s slide is there again and Carter and Tate add the bvs.

Down Below The Borderline begins with the same sort of hesitation beat you get at the beginning of Hendrix’ If Six Was Nine. It’s a strange little song with some quite interesting lyrics; viz: “onomatopoetry symmetry in motion”.

Bill Payne solo composition Somebody’s Leavin’ is really a type of blues built around piano and synthesizer, except that it has a gospel/country feel to it. This really is an odd track with a mid-section that drifts off into some kind of peyote haze and you hear what sound like some female backing vocals that have been recorded backwards. The song is a bit of a ‘Curate’s Egg’ (good in parts) and I really don’t know what to make of it.

The last ‘official track, Mercenary Territory sounds like it might be referring to some of the demons that dogged Lowell George. The music was written by Lowell and drummer Richie Hayward who was a founding member of the band and who died in August 2010.

This disc contains what are described on the sleeve as three bonus tracks. This is a trend record companies have been getting into a lot. The idea is presumably to ‘add value’ to the album and convince those with a vinyl copy to splurge out for the CD. Unfortunately like so many things they do, there seems to be a presumption that more is better. Sometimes it isn’t.

In this instance, we could well have done without the silly bonus announcement and the lame version of Don’t Bogart That Joint. However, I can’t argue with the live version of A Apolitical Blues which is an absolute cracker. I have loved this song ever since they first recorded it on Sailin’ Shoes. The version on here has been taken from their Waiting For Columbus live album and was recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London in 1977. It absolutely blitzes the original thanks to the addition of the Tower of Power horn section and the legendary Mick Taylor on slide guitar.

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