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Mott the Dog's review on....

Little Feat - Waiting for Columbus

Review: 123
Date: 14 Apr 03


Rating: 5 Stars

Kenny Gradney/ Bass and Vocals
Lowell George /Slide guitar and Vocals
Bill Payne/ Keyboards and Vocals
Sam Clayton/ Percussion and Vocals
Ritchie Hayward/ drums and Vocals
Paul Barrere /Lead guitar and Vocals

Tracks Listing:
1 Join the Band
2 Fatman in the bathtub
3 All that you dream
4 Oh Atlanta
5 Old folk's boogie
6 Dixie chicken
7 Tripe faced boogie
8 Rocket in my pocket
9 Time loves a hero
10 Day or night
11 Mercenery territory
12 Spanish moon
13 Willin
14 Don't Bogart
15 A Apolitical blues
16 Sailin shoes
17 Feat's don't fail me now
18 One love stand
19 Rock n roll doctor
20 Skin it back
21 On your way down
22 Walkin all night
23 Cold cold cold
24 Day at the dog races
25 Skin it back
26 Red steam hammer
27 Teenage nervous breakdown


Having been a long time fan of this wonderful multi-talented band, when their double live vinyl album was released in 1978, it was with great excitement that it was whisked home to my rustic record player. The volume was turned up to 'unbearable' and the Dog spent his day listening to one of America's finest, laying down a live set that would curry a favorable impression with any band on the Planet. I happily state that ' Waiting for Columbus' should be up there with all the other great live albums of the seventies. But then what constitutes a great live album? It's clearly not the mere replication of a band's studio performances. That approach may satisfy the attending audience whilst proving how clever a band can be, although not showing any imagination or creativity. But what's the point of making a record of one that already exists? It's far more rewarding to experience a live album on which the boys really get stuck in and show what they can do when released from the confines of the studio, and all the Record Company 'suits' in attendance. Other examples include the Who's scorching 1970 document 'Live at Leeds', where the Who were able to show off what an inspiring and exhilarating Rock 'n' Roll band they were outside the confines of hit singles and rock operas, or the Allman Brothers Band at the Filmore East, when a band can expand the length of a song searching out every aspect of its outer regions.

What makes 'Waiting for Columbus' so memorable is that it seamlessly puts all the qualities of a great Live album into one neat little package. Upon it's first release there was perhaps a feeling of some regret that not the whole of a 'Little Feat's' set could be squeezed onto four sides of vinyl and a three album set would of been welcome, but then we should be happy with what we got. But when it was originally released on the CD format, fans of the Feat really did have cause for grousing, as to fit into the requisite CD formula three further songs were cut from the running list, considered by all to be very unsatisfactory. However, finally now released in a two CD set in its full glory with original tracks replaced, plus the addition of ten wonderful new songs added on with some extra in-between banter from the band.

From the warm up cappella that the band ritually used to sing on their way to the stage, to the Country Joe Woodstock style intro, right the way through to the closing jam of final encore 'Feats Don't Fail Me Now', you get it all. As soon as the band hit the stage they lock into the opening groove of 'Fat Man in the Bathtub' and you are whisked away to the feeling of belonging that normally only happens on very special Rock 'n' Roll occasions, like being in TQ corner on a great night! There are too many highlights to mention them all, but accolades must be given to the 'Tower of Power' Horn section that joins the band from the fourth song 'Oh Atlanta', where the whole ensemble really begins to cook. An extended version of perhaps the Feats most well known number, 'Dixie Chicken', when all the members of the band had room to show their talents. Of course, spread like a thick layer of choice caviar every song has its fair share of brilliance from Lowell George, whose sumptuous slide guitar and unique vocals dominate this set. George's 'Mercenary Territory' is probably one of the best live moments of music ever recorded. After a break from the 'Tower of Power' Horn section, Lowell George comes charging in right after them, leaving nobody in doubt as to who the Boss is. That is not to say it is just the Lowell George show - far from it. Kenny Gradney lays down perfect Bass rhythms adding just the right amount of Funk to the proceedings. Sam Clayton's percussion give the Feat their unique sound. Richie Haywood is one of the busiest drummers in the business. Bill Payne lays down some of the finest all round keyboard work to be heard on any live album, whilst Paul Barrere's lead guitar work was the perfect foil for the music to hang onto, giving added depth to the band's forays into the land of Jazz/Rock fusion like on the nearly fourteen minute long impromptu jam of 'Day at the Dog Races'.

If you like your music live played by slick musicians who like to live on the edge and are not afraid to let go and give it their all, then this could be exactly what you are looking for. Brilliant!

It is quite extraordinarily sad that within a year 'Little Feat' were no more and Lowell George had left this planet, as many feared he would. But the legacy of music left behind is a fine one with this perhaps being the jewel in the crown. Several years later the remainder of the band reformed under the 'Little Feat' banner, but, although they were a popular live attraction, without George the magic had gone.


Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew


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