Ben Fong-Torres
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Buy *Willin': The Story of Little Feat* by Ben Fong-Torres online

Willin': The Story of Little Feat
Ben Fong-Torres
Da Capo Press
296 pages
November 2013
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Little Feat are probably one of the least understood and least appreciated bands of the past 40 years. Though they released multiple albums on a major label (Warner Bros.), they never broke into the mainstream and in fact were never quite able to rise above the status of serious cult band.

The author details all of that in this excellent history. He talks about the band's roots, which were built around various members of Frank Zappa's band who had left the Mothers. Slide guitarist and vocalist Lowell George was the band's guiding light, and in his crafty hands the group was able to mash up blues, rock, jazz, funk, country and R&B.

Always seen as a musician's band--Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant were big fans--Little Feat had trouble creating a presence on radio that would lift them above underground status. Part of the problem was due to drugs and alcohol--George was a heavy cocaine abuser--as well as group in-fighting. But, for the fans, Little Feat's music was like no other band around. Albums like Sailin' Shoes, Dixie Chicken and the live recording Waiting For Columbus are now all seen as classics.

Fong-Torres tries to untangle the confusing drama of Little Feat's career. It is not a simple task, but he manages to make sense of a band that no one quite ever understood.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2013

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