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LITTLE FEAT As Time Goes By - The Very Best Of (1993 German pressed 20-track CD album featuring a collection of their best loved songs including Hate To Lose Your Lovin Texas Twister Let It Roll Rock N Roll Doctor Dixie Chicken Long Distance Love and more with a picture sleeve showing the Neon Park artwork and containing sleevenotes and picture discography!)
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So why has Warner neglected the band's back-catalogue in recent years, save for the box-set? Maybe it would detract from the post-George band's more recent output. But it's time for a worldwide release of a double CD compilation of the same quality as Steely Dan's SHOWBIZ KIDS.
For the time being, this is the only compilation available. Originally available in 1986 as just a 12-track, 38-minute CD (the Feats always made short records!), the collection has been extended to a more appropriate CD length. I cannot fault the selection as an introduction to the band. This, like all the band's 70s albums, was well remastered by Lee Herschberg in the mid-80s. (He must have been a busy man at the time, doing all the Doobies' LPs as well.)
When the band released DIXIE CHICKEN in 1973, it was almost universally ignored. Its classic status was only appreciated years later. Now it appears that the band's 70s portfolio is disappearing back into utterly undeserved obscurity. The band's excellence -- in particular, Lowell George's soulful voice, slide guitar and song-writing, coupled with Bill Payne's versatile piano -- will have to remain a secret known only to their many fans across the world.
The "Southern rock" label is applied by superficial listeners because of Little Feat's funky rhythmic feel and the fact that Lowell played slide guitar. But Lowell's playing, while influenced by Delta blues, is much more musically advanced than most Southern rock, it is jazzy, subtle and experimental. If Duane Allman was influenced by Coltrane's extended linear solos, Lowell was more of a Thelonious Monk, exploring fractured rhythms and dreamlike, otherworldly harmonic textures. listen to Sailing Shoes or Trouble. These songs stop and start, then collapse and flow like melting honey. Lowell's slide playing was all about ornamental texture and atmosphere, he mostly played behind and around his vocal lines creating rich sound shadings to emphasize and enhance the emotional expression of the lyrics with tone colors. Check the slide on "Got No Shadow" -- for would-be slide players like myself, this is a master-class in how to extract a molecular explosion of tone from a few sustained notes. Lowell's lyrics, are closer to people like Dylan than Skynyrd. "Lady in a turban and a Cocaine Tree," "The footprints on your ceiling they're almost gone".
OK, I'm done, case closed. Listen to Lowell, he's the doctor.