Monday, 19 November 2018

Little Feat - Sailin' Shoes (1972)


Released May 1972

Recorded in Los Angeles

After the idiosyncratic bluesiness of their debut album, Little Feat returned with a more dynamic album, more focused and slightly more commercially appealing. It was still based around their agreeable mix of rock, blues, country and Americana, however. This album just seems a slightly more polished, fulfilled one than the debut. Little Feat were beginning to create their own unique identity on this one.


1. Easy To Slip
2. Cold, Cold, Cold
3. Trouble
4. Tripe Face Boogie
5. Willin'
6. Apolitical Blues
7. Sailin' Shoes
8. Teenage Nervous Breakdown
9. Got No Shadow
10. Cat Fever
11. Texas Rose Cafe

"Easy To Slip" is an upbeat slice of American road-rock, with the sort of riffs that The Eagles were to trademark over the next few years. "Cold, Cold, Cold" has some huge. chunky guitar breaks and a hard rocking, bluesy beat. "Trouble" is a delightful, almost soulful Band-style country blues number underpinned by an addictive accordion sound. "Tripe Face Boogie" is, as the title suggests, a lively, rocking boogie that makes you think "who does this sound like?", the you realise it sounds like Little Feat. This is very much their sound. It is a great track, loaded with searing guitar, great boogie piano and a rumbling bass.

"Willin'" is reworked from the first album, which sounds even more gloriously country/roadhouse on a warm evening than the previous version. The bass is further up in the mix. "Apolitical Blues" is a thumping blues with a muscular drum sound and some slow temp bluesy piano. The title track is even more bluesy, with a shuffling, subtle rhythm to it. "Teenage Nervous Breakdown" (also covered the following year by Nazareth) is one hell of a rocker, just over two minutes of pounding fun. "Got No Shadow" has a sumptuous bass/drum intro and is another track that helps to epitomise Little Feat's sound. When you listen to albums like this and you find yourself wondering "what does that track remind me of" you realise just how influential the music is, in that whatever it is it reminded you of invariably came after this album. The keyboard break on "Got No Shadow" is a good example. The guitar too. My goodness, this is a great track.

"Cat Fever" is another intoxicating, bassy dollop of Southern-style blues rock. A melodious, deep bass drives the soulful rock of  "Texas Rose Cafe". Big echoes of The Band on this one. Overall, though it is Little Feat who were the influencers with this excellent album. So much subsequent material owes a debt to albums like this.


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