Little Feat

Feats Don't Fail Me Now

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If Dixie Chicken represented a pinnacle of Lowell George as a songwriter and band leader, its sequel Feats Don't Fail Me Now is the pinnacle of Little Feat as a group, showcasing each member at their finest. Not coincidentally, it's the moment where George begins to recede from the spotlight, leaving the band as a true democracy. These observations are only clear in hindsight, since if Feats Don't Fail Me Now is just taken as a record, it's nothing more than a damn good rock & roll record. That's not meant as a dismissal, either, since it's hard to make a rock & roll record as seemingly effortless and infectious as this. Though it effectively builds on the Southern-fried funkiness of Dixie Chicken, it's hardly as mellow as that record - there's a lot of grit, tougher rhythms, lots of guitar and organ. It's as supple as Chicken, though, which means that it's the sound of a touring band at their peak. As it happens, the band is on the top of their writing game as well, with Bill Payne contributing the rollicking "Oh Atlanta" and Paul Barrere turning in one of his best songs, the jazzy funk of "Skin it Back." Each has a co-writing credit with George -- Payne on the unreleased Little Feat-era nugget "The Fan" and Barrere (plus Fred Martin) on the infectious title track -- who also has a couple of classics with "Rock and Roll Doctor" and the great "Spanish Moon." Feats peters out toward the end, as the group delves into a 10-minute medley of two Sailin' Shoes songs, but that doesn't hurt one of the best albums Little Feat ever cut. It's so good, the group used it as the template for the rest of their career.

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