Little Feat – an American outfit, from the Deep South, featuring Lowell George on vocals and guitar and Bill Payne on keyboards. They played a mix of swampy Southern Rock with hints of soul and country. The key player was always Lowell George, who had a remarkable voice and style. I bought their, what turned out to be, third album in 1973 – Dixie Chicken. Much later I bought a box set of their first five albums, which coincides with George’s membership of the band. So, starting with the first eponymous album Little Feat (1971) – I am not very fond of this record, it doesn’t seem to have any real direction – the songs come and go and leave no trace behind, maybe best are ‘Truck Stop Girl’ and ‘Willin’. But, I suppose as a debut album it was okay though not great. Sailin Shoes (1972) was a bit better, a more defined sound and better production. Best songs – The title songs and a re-worked ‘Willin’. But far better was their best album – Dixie Chicken. This album has a unique feel, a wholeness, a completeness, a perfection all of its own. Hard to pick a best song because there isn’t a weak song on the album – but favourites are the title song and ‘Fat Man In A Bathtub’. A truly great and by far their best album. They followed this on ’74 with Feats Don’t Fail Me Now which may be somewhat prophetic, as this album seems to slip back into the shouty noisy first two albums. Not a terrible record really but compared to Dixie Chicken it is poor. The final album before Lowell George left and went solo (to a nondescript career and early death) was The Last Record Album. Well, slightly better I suppose, but still not great – or even moderately good really. Just how many shuffling boogies do we want?
Loggins and Messina – Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina teamed up for a handful of albums in the mid-seventies, carrying on the sound of the Eagles but with a softer, possibly more lyrical touch. The best of the 2 records I owned are now available as a single album The Best Of – Sittin In. Lovely to hear these songs again, especially from the first album, Sittin’ in; the bucolic ‘House At Pooh Corner’, ‘Same Old Wine’ and ‘Danny’s Song’ – not forgetting the joyous ‘Vahevalla’.
The Low Anthem – Just the one record form this US 90’s outfit, the gloriously named Oh My God Charlie Darwin. Some really nice stuff, almost spoiled by a handful of raucous noisy ones. Still, a half decent record. I like the title song and ‘Ohio’ – but then my concentration slipped and nothing stuck.
Graham Lyle – one half of Gallagher and Lyle (see G) the lovely Scottish duo, who I think split because it all got too much for them. They both took a long holiday and only sporadically returned to making music; Graham wrote a few decent songs for others, Tina Turner being one. I have only 2 further albums by Graham Lyle – Something Beautiful Remains (2003) – this is a sort of resume of his post Gallagher and Lyle career, a few hits by American artists, but to be honest – Graham’s versions are limp and weak, almost instantly forgettable. A pity, as he wrote some great songs for others. Much better was an earlier album, just after he split from Benny Gallagher he linked up (again) with McGuiness (formerly of McGuiness Flint (see M); of course he used to be in that band along with Benny in the early seventies. The album Acting On Impulse (1983) is much better with some great songs. I suspect these were maybe written earlier as possibly Gallagher and Lyle songs. A really nice album, most of the sogs would have been great recorded by the duo and stand up well here. Of course – the album sank without a trace. Best songs – ‘Elise’, ‘Faded Photographs’ and ‘Acting On Impulse’.
Shelby Lynne – An American singer-songwriter who has mainly performed in the country arena. Just the one album 1981’s Love Shelby, which had a good write-up at the time. Not a bad record at all, a bit poppy and a bit country. I really don’t know why I collect avidly everything by some artists and have just one album of others. Choice is always an arbitrary thing I suppose. But reviewing and re-listening I find this quite a rewarding record; best tracks – ‘Trust’, ‘Jesus On A Greyhound’ and ‘Tarpoleon Napoleon’ (if only for the great title).