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Music DVD Review: Little Feat – Skin It Back

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Bill Payne and Lowell George formed Little Feat in 1969. Paul Barrere joined in 1972 as a second guitarist/vocalist and several years later they were stars. Albums such as Dixie Chicken, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now and The Last Record Album established the band’s eclectic brand of southern fried rock, blues, R&B, and jazz.

Little Feat have always been recognized as superior live performers. Their ability to jam and improvise has kept their concerts interesting and entertaining.

Skin It Back was recorded in 1977 as a part of German Television’s Rockpalast Series. It features their classic line-up of Payne, George, Barrere, plus drummer Richard Hayward, percussionist Sam Clayton, and bassist Kenny Gradney.

Shortly after this concert they would record Waiting For Columbus which is one of the better live albums of the seventies and probably their strongest release.

This concert has been released in various forms previously including VHS and bootleg versions, but here the sound and video have been remastered to give it a superior quality. It is all the more amazing when you consider the technological limitations of 1977.

In addition the liner notes are extensive and give a fine history of the group and concert. The foundation of their sound is Payne’s keyboards and the double percussion. Barrere and George then layer in their guitar sound. When thinking about the great guitar players in rock history many times Lowell George is forgotten. He had a unique slide technique which is on display here.

They cover all the bases on this DVD. “Skin It Back/Fat Man In The Bathtub” is funky blues. “Old Folks Boogie” is a slow blues piece. “Dixie Chicken” is extended close to fifteen minutes and gives the group members room to stretch out musically.  “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now” and “Triple Face Boogie” receive a funky rock treatment.Skin It Back is a fine look at the seventies Little Feat. Lowell George would be dead within two years of this concert. The other five members with an addition or two have carried on to the present day.

If you want to see one of the better rock bands of the seventies in their live element, then this is a DVD for you.

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