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LITTLE FEAT – Live From Neon Park (Floating World FLOATM6353)

Recorded in December 1995 at venues in California and Oregon, this was originally released in June of the following year and is a fine overview of the post-Lowell George group, tackling much of the band’s classic repertoire, though this was the first tour with leather-lunged Shaun Murphy on vocals – she joined the band in 1993. Otherwise the line-up is Paul Barrere on guitars and vocals, Bill Payne on keyboards and vocals (and showing off his New Orleans licks to great effect), Sam Clayton vocals and percussion, Kenny Gradney on bass, Richie Hayward on drums and vocals, and Fred Tackett on guitars, mandolin and trumpet, plus several guests including The Texicali Horns.
Google the band and no-one seems to agree on the style of music you’ll find here: “mainstream rock”, “blues-rock”, “classic rock”, “southern rock”, “boogie rock”, “funky rock” and “album rock” all show up in the results, so let’s add another and settle on roots-rock, as that seems to incorporate all those – as does the music on the two CDs making up this set. Great songs, familiar to anyone now of a certain age – I’d not listened to the likes of ‘Willin’’, ‘Fatman In The Bathtub’, ‘Dixie Chicken’ and ‘Feats Don’t Fail Me Now’ for many years, but could immediately sing along with these. Lovely warm arrangements – you may well be familiar with the best-known numbers, so try ‘Hate To Lose’, one of the few late originals here, heavily reliant on Craig Fuller’s mandolin playing, and then we have the blues with the Muddy Waters/ Robert Johnson mash-up of ‘Can’t Be Satisfied/ They’re Red Hot (Hot Tamales)’, and Etta James flavoured southern deep soul/ blues is provided by the impassioned ‘You’re Taking Up Another Man’s Place’. So, there’s no complaints about the music here, and the packaging is nicely informative, but if I’m gonna have to nit-pick, the abrupt quiet gaps between tracks are a little jolting. But that really is nit-picking for a very fine and enjoyable two hours plus set. Give it a listen.
Norman Darwen
(www.floatingworldrecords.com)

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