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Old 11-21-2017, 09:23 AM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Default Lowell George documentary

Lowell was known more for electric slide than acoustic, but I know we have some Little Feat fans on the AGF.

I got turned on to this movie by a thread about a John Fahey documentary. At the end of that movie one of the suggested links was to a documentary about Lowell. They are both on Amazon, free if you have Prime.

This is a must see for any Little Feat fan. It is probably about twice as long as it needs to be, the interviews with some of the journalists could stand some serious editing. And no one from the band participated, but there is quite a bit with sometime songwriting partner Martin Kibbe and producer/arranger Van Dyke Parks. Parks blames Warner Brothers for killing George, and he is quite serious about that. In fact he has a picture on his twitter page of Lowell signing a contract with WB with the caption "signing his death warrant."

Much of the movie is given over to pre-Feat days and Lowell's influences. Everyone talks about Zappa, but it is pretty clear he developed his vocal style from Howlin' Wolf. And his slide playing was a fortuitous accident, which I don't want to spoil by mentioning here.

The take away here is that like so many, he was a tortured genius and couldn't deal with the demands of the monster he created. I kept thinking about the parallels with Jerry Garcia while watching it.

I've think I have mentioned previously that I had a chance encounter with Lowell and Richie Hayward about a year or two before Lowell died. I was able to talk with both of them for quite a while. Richie was charming. Lowell was pretty much incoherent, until he put down the bottle (he was drinking hard liquor, I believe Scotch, from a 7 oz. beer glass) and hoped up on stage with a local band. He was transformed, belting it out for 50 people at 1 am in a small club in the middle of nowhere.

Lowell George remains one of my favorite musicians. He was on his way to being an American version of Van Morrison, in my opinion. RIP Lowell and Richie, you guys created something special.
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:46 AM
Mycroft Mycroft is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeve21 View Post
Lowell was known more for electric slide than acoustic, but I know we have some Little Feat fans on the AGF.

I got turned on to this movie by a thread about a John Fahey documentary. At the end of that movie one of the suggested links was to a documentary about Lowell. They are both on Amazon, free if you have Prime.

This is a must see for any Little Feat fan. It is probably about twice as long as it needs to be, the interviews with some of the journalists could stand some serious editing. And no one from the band participated, but there is quite a bit with sometime songwriting partner Martin Kibbe and producer/arranger Van Dyke Parks. Parks blames Warner Brothers for killing George, and he is quite serious about that. In fact he has a picture on his twitter page of Lowell signing a contract with WB with the caption "signing his death warrant."

Much of the movie is given over to pre-Feat days and Lowell's influences. Everyone talks about Zappa, but it is pretty clear he developed his vocal style from Howlin' Wolf. And his slide playing was a fortuitous accident, which I don't want to spoil by mentioning here.

The take away here is that like so many, he was a tortured genius and couldn't deal with the demands of the monster he created. I kept thinking about the parallels with Jerry Garcia while watching it.

I've think I have mentioned previously that I had a chance encounter with Lowell and Richie Hayward about a year or two before Lowell died. I was able to talk with both of them for quite a while. Richie was charming. Lowell was pretty much incoherent, until he put down the bottle (he was drinking hard liquor, I believe Scotch, from a 7 oz. beer glass) and hoped up on stage with a local band. He was transformed, belting it out for 50 people at 1 am in a small club in the middle of nowhere.

Lowell George remains one of my favorite musicians. He was on his way to being an American version of Van Morrison, in my opinion. RIP Lowell and Richie, you guys created something special.
A hearty "hear hear." Good, even if imperfect, documentary.
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:54 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Thanks. Big Lowell George/Feat fan here, and 'Thanks, I'll Eat It Here' remains a favourite record

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CewqL7KgKIs
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:00 AM
Eldergreene Eldergreene is offline
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Ditto - LG unequalled as slide player & singer for me, & Little Feat were surely one of the most evolved as well as funkiest outfits ever; time to go listen to 'Spanish Moon', I think..
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:06 AM
Denny B Denny B is online now
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Thanks for the heads up, Bob...

I've got Amazon Prime, and one of the things I like most about it is all the music documentaries available if you dig for them...

I've seen the John Fahey doc, enjoyed it a great deal, and I'll be looking for this one first chance I get...
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:14 AM
catdaddy catdaddy is offline
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Let me add my thanks as well! 'Lowell era' Little Feat is probably my favorite U.S. band of all time. Looking forward to checking out the documentary!
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:26 AM
Nyghthawk Nyghthawk is offline
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Waiting for Columbus is one of my favorite albums ever. Wish I could have heard them live. I will look for the documentary. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:41 AM
Scottj121 Scottj121 is offline
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I saw and enjoyed this one too.
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:03 AM
gfa gfa is offline
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Thanks for the suggestion, I love LG era LF. I think they were seriously underappreciated.
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:49 AM
Rip VanWinkle Rip VanWinkle is offline
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I was (still am) a huge Feet fan. Liked the first two albums.. but the band with Paul, Bill, Sam, Richie and the amazing Kenny Gradney on bass was the best live band in rock and roll (IMHO, of course). I saw them a number of times before Lowell passed away. The only time I saw them after was when I wandered next door at a rehearsal studio complex and watched Bonnie Raitt rehearsing with them for a tour. Good times! My favorite show was at the Tower theater in Philly in 1974. Opening act...Allen Toussaint! What a night that was."Goodbye Columbus" is a tremendous document of how really great Feet was live. They sounded exactly like that. I don't know if they showed this in the documentary, but Lowell had this little gambit he liked to pull on people. He would ask you for a light...and when you gave him your lighter he would palm it and not return it. He had amassed a huge collection of stolen lighters I understand. I know it's true...he did it to me!
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:10 PM
smurph1 smurph1 is offline
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I was listening to Google Play on shuffle in the car the other day and several tunes from "Thanks I'll Eat It Here" were included. Excellent stuff. Lowell was and still is a favorite. He stands right next to Duane Allman as far as excellent slide players are concerned IMHO.
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:11 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Hi Rip,

The lighter trick didn't make the movie, but I did read somewhere that he was constantly losing lighters. So it makes sense he had to replace them, too!

I agree with your comment on the live shows. I got to see them 7 or 8 times in the space of just a few years in the late 70's, and every time was an incredible experience. "Skin it Back" in concert was the one of the coolest tunes I had ever heard, and it didn't even make the cut for the live album!

It could be argued about who had the greatest live band, but they sure were the tightest group I ever saw.

And regarding Kenny Gradney, there is a guy that deserves a lot more acclaim. Richie and Kenny together was something to hear!

I have seen the Lowell-less Feats a bunch of times, too. Kenny was still bringing it hard a few years ago. He plays with so much joy, I just love to watch him dig in. But of course it's not the same without Lowell and Richie.

I'm sure you and all the other Feat fans are going to like this movie.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:19 PM
Rip VanWinkle Rip VanWinkle is offline
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Bob, you are so right. The greatest rhythm section in rock...Richie and Kenny...and Sam. the thing I forgot to mention earlier was that it was weird to see them towards the end. Still great...but Lowell clearly hated the jazz fusion stuff that Billy was writing. I remember him walking off the stage during Billy's vamp on "Red Streamliner" And not looking very interested in what Billy was playing. Lots of Bolivian marching powder being done by members of Feet in those days. Thanks for posting about this film...gotta go track it down!
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Last edited by Rip VanWinkle; 11-21-2017 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:31 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Rip, the movie talks pretty candidly about the Lowell/Billy rift and how Lowell would walk off during Bill's solos. I really enjoyed his explorations, a chance to catch my breath! And I like jazz improvisation very much.

As you may know, and will see in the movie Bill was heavily influenced by Joe Z. and the rest of Weather Report at that time. Lowell tended to compose his solos rather than improvise them, so he was coming from a different place.
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Old 11-24-2017, 08:27 AM
catdaddy catdaddy is offline
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Watched the documentary last night. Very interesting especially if you're a Little Feat/Lowell George fan.

Wished they would have included some band member interviews. I'd especially like to have seen Billy Payne given a chance to share his insights about his rift with Lowell and the Feat's musical direction.

I found it interesting that Van Dyke Parks accused the Record Label (Warners) of being partly responsible in contributing to Lowell's death. I had a chance to see Little Feat perform in a small venue in Pittsburgh shortly after their Dixie Chicken album was released in 1973. Bonnie Raitt (with bass player Freebo) was the opening act- unquestionably the best concert I've ever attended.

While Bonnie performed I sat at the Bar with Kenny Gradney drinking draft beers. We had a chance to chat for a good while (a great guy!) and Lowell joined us for a few minutes shortly before the Feat got on stage. After the show Lowell invited me back to the band's hotel to "party". Specific drugs were mentioned and the meaning of "party" was clearly pharmaceutical. I declined the offer as I had about a 3 hour drive back to University, and quite frankly the drugs mentioned weren't anything I would have done even being a typical guy who came of age in the 60's. It's worth mentioning that I also got the impression that not everyone in the band was enamored of that type of recreation.

Considering that at the time of that concert things were harmonious within the band and they had a taste of some success it was apparent to me that Lowell was already into some heavy drug use and heading down a road that would end badly if he didn't clean up his act. I'm not sure I agree completely with Van Dyke Park's assessment that Warners was in some way culpable for Lowell's death. He made the unfortunate choices early on (before the stressors mentioned in the documentary became an issue) and paid for those choices with his life.
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