When Little Feat headed into the studio to record Time Loves a Hero, tensions between the bandmembers -- more specifically, Lowell George and the rest of the band -- were at a peak. George had not only succumbed to various addictions, but he was growing restless with the group's fondness for extending their jams into territory strikingly reminiscent of jazz fusion. The rest of the group brought in Ted Templeman, who previously worked on their debut and produced Sailin' Shoes, to mediate the sessions. George wasn't thrilled with that, but that's probably not the only reason why his presence isn't large on this release -- all signs point to his frustration with the band, and he wasn't in great health, so he just didn't contribute to the record. He wrote one song, the pleasant but comparatively faceless "Rocket in My Pocket," and collaborated with Paul Barrere on "Keepin' Up with the Joneses." Barrere was responsible for the only bright moments on the album, the ingratiatingly silly "Old Folks Boogie" and, along with Bill Payne and Ken Gradney, the funky singalong title track. Elsewhere, Barrere and Payne come up dry, turning out generic pieces that are well played but not as memorable as comparable Doobie Brothers cuts from the same time. Then there's "Day at the Dog Races," a lengthy fusion jam that Templeman and everyone in the band loved -- except for George, who, according to Bud Scoppa's liner notes in Hotcakes & Outtakes, disparagingly compared it to Weather Report. He was right -- no matter how well Feat play on this track, it comes across as self-serving indulgence, and the clearest sign on this muddled album that they had indeed lost the plot.
Time Loves a Hero Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine