Little Feat

Let It Roll

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When Little Feat reunited in 1988, they were embraced by some dedicated fans, but were spurned by nearly an equal number of cultists. That's because to certain diehards, Little Feat belonged to Lowell George and, without him, the group doesn't exist. While it is true that George was the main songwriter and visionary during the early years of the group, he had pulled away from the group in the last half of the '70s and only had a marginal impact on their final three albums of the '70s. Also, throughout their career, the band contributed significantly, co-writing songs with George, writing their own tunes and, of course, shaping the band's sound with their musicianship. Although George was gone, they still had the desire to perform, so it was understandable that they wanted to reunite, with Craig Fuller taking George's place. What's surprising about Let It Roll is not just that it works, but that it works smashingly. It sounds as if the group picked up after The Last Record Album, deciding to return to the sound of Feats Don't Fail Me Now. True, the songwriting might not have the idiosyncratic genius of George, but it's strong, catchy and memorable, from the fine singles "Hate to Lose Your Lovin'" and "Let it Roll" to album tracks. More importantly, the band sounds lively and playful - Little Feat hasn't sounded this good in the studio since Feats, so it's easy to see why the members wanted to regroup. Yes, George is missed - it's hard not to miss such a gifted songwriter and musician - but Let It Roll isn't disrespectful of his memory, it keeps his music alive, which is the greatest compliment it can be paid.

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