There are those who regard the Lowell George era Little Feat as one of the greatest American bands of the 1970s. Their musical chops and deep soulful funkiness meant that they were as much a live phenomenon as they were a 5 star recording unit.

Some would say that it all came together in the studio on the classic Dixie Chicken album that preceded this one. With Lowell’s idiosyncratic and wildly surreal lyrics and some of the finest songs he had ever written, Dixie Chicken was Lowell’s masterpiece. Feats Don’t fail Me Now is more of a band effort and in many ways is more accessible and enjoyable as a result.

Here we find the band making more of a contribution and Lowell, who would eventually leave the band, taking more of a back seat this time around. This togetherness along with the musical tightness acquired over many months of constant touring ensured that every track is as funky and tight as any band would want to get.

Here we find two stone cold classic tracks in ‘Rock and Roll Doctor’ and ‘Skin it Back’ written by guitarist Paul Barrere. Alongside these Bill Payne pens the crowd pleasing ‘Oh Atlanta’ and both share co-writing credits with Lowell on other songs. On this album then we find a more band orientated effort and this guarantees that the album stands as one of the finest that the band ever recorded.

Other stand out tracks include ‘The Fan’ and the much loved title track. The music on the album is a mixture of Pop, R&B, Rock, Blues and Country mixed together in a funky surreal stew. A heady concoction that is taken by the scruff of the neck and played with an assurance few bands could muster.

This album is one that any Little Feat fan will return to again and again. It is an outstanding album by one of the greatest American bands and one of the best they ever recorded. An album that once heard will find a place in any true music lovers collection.

Islwyn Paul Mainwaring

 

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