I even like “The Last Record Album,” where the tension between George’s earthier instincts began to clash with the rest of his band’s longing to sound more like jazz-fusion juggernaut Weather Report.
In my mind, things went straight downhill for Little Feat after that, and eventually George decided to go it alone and put the focus squarely on his singing on the fairly straightforward album “Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here.”
Maybe George had a Crowe-like moment and decided that he’d had enough of crazy fans trying to extract layers of meaning from his surreal lyrics. Or maybe his band mates just got tired of his worsening drug problem. But unlike Crowe, he didn’t “go gentle into that good night.”
I had the pleasure of seeing George on his last tour in 1979. He stopped at Bogart’s in Cincinnati with a terrific band – probably session guys from L.A., but they all seemed excited to play old-school rock ‘n soul with a rejuvenated George. The show was much more satisfying than a Little Feat concert I’d seen a few years before. He was in fine form – although clearly overweight – and it was great to hear the band blast away all the production sheen from the songs on his solo album.
A week later, George died of a massive heart attack – right after he performed the same show at George Washington University in D.C. And in that grand showbiz tradition, he left us all wanting more.