Little Feat: Dixie Chicken

LITTLE FEAT was the brainchild of co-founder LOWELL GEORGE, a former member of Frank Zappa's "Mothers of Invention." Frank was very anti-drugs. So when Lowell brought in his song "Willin," with the line "Give me weed, whites and wine," Frank told him to form his own damn bad to sing the dope songs. So he did.

George and co-founder BILL PAYNE recruited Frank's bassist Roy Estrada, and drummer Richie Hayward. The musical score was all over the map because of Lowell's interests in various forms of music like, Rock, Country, Blues, Jazz, Folk, Gospel, Soul...etc. They christened the band: Little Feat.

Little Feat's first two albums on Warner Brothers, "Little Feat" and "Sailin'" were very well received and when Linda Ronstadt covered, "Willin" it was a smash, became a standard and brought in some much needed cash. As they recorded and played Live Gigs, Little Feat's popularity spread quickly, especially in Southern California.

Like many bands, players came and went--but in 1973 the band recorded their signature album, DIXIE CHICKEN. It's one of my personal favorites, probably because of the New Orleans style music they were making. That was followed by FEATS DON'T FAIL ME NOW, an effort to capture their live shows that was recorded mostly in studios.

In 1979, George, who was the songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer, primary guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for Little Feat, (pretty much the whole shebang), died of a massive heart attack in a Washington, DC, Hotel Room at 34 having over-dosed on cocaine...the bane of the music business at the time. Bill Payne would carry on the Little Feat music and tradition, and the band PHISH would often perform Lowell's music, but in my opinion it was never the same without Lowell.

Fun Fact: The name "Little Feet" was suggested by Zappa's drummer Jimmy Carl Black when he observed this large man with small feet, Lowell changed Feet to Feat as a tribute to The Beatles. The shows recorded and filmed at London's Rainbow Theater in 1977, are considered some of the best Live Concert footage of all time, and we are fortunate to have a clip from one of those shows with Lowell and Little Feat performing their signature, "Dixie Chicken" with excellent sound and picture. @therealdonrocks

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