Meanest Blues of All (Live 1973)
This bootleg has been knocking around in various forms ever since there was digital music – and probably in some shape or form before that. Most recently it’s being credited to Lowell George solo rather than the band Little Feat but make no mistake this is Little Feat. Live in 1973. A couple of albums under their belt and already road-tight and turning on a dime, sinewy country funk (Got No Shame), wistful balladry (Willin) and glorious New Orleans-infused rhythmic grooves (Fat Man In A Bathtub). Everyone’s firing here, but George’s slide guitar and Richie Hayward’s drums are the duel stars of the show for me. Phenomenal playing throughout from both – great backing vocals too and the recording quality is decent-as, very nearly sublime. We are lucky to have so many of these radio broadcasts sneaking back out into the domain in one way or another. Official or not.
Given this was first broadcast on a radio station the track ‘Band Introductions’ takes the form of a mini-interview, George does name and rave about each member of the group but it’s in a prompted interview. Nothing wrong with this by the way, George is funny and lets out the wee nugget that Willin’ was written when he was still a member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers.
But you’re here for the mercurial groove of this band – Two Trains and Dixie Chicken, you’re here to hear country music stripped of artifice and made into pure art (Sailin’ Shoes), you’re here if not for the meanest blues of all time then certainly for some searing slide workouts (Apolitical Blues) and for a road-band that was never going to grow moldy (Got No Shadow).
Cherry picking from the best of what they had on offer at this early point, this is worth finding for the sound quality and song selection. Songs like On Your Way Down feel like marvels, still; great songs assembled from the best parts of Allman Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, The Meters, Eagles and Ry Cooder. So good. So very good. So vital.