Little Feat – Chinese Work Songs (2000)

Posted by Green on July 16, 2022as

320 | FLAC

Some fans of Little Feat’s classic 1970s recordings argue that the band should have lost the right to use that name when Lowell George died in 1979; as they see it, the band heard on 2000’s Chinese Work Songs isn’t really Little Feat. If this band can get away with calling itself Little Feat, the argument goes, why shouldn’t Bob Weir assemble a band without the late Jerry Garcia and call it the Grateful Dead? You have no doubt heard those arguments, and while it’s true that Little Feat recorded its best work in the 1970s, the lineup heard on Chinese Work Songs isn’t half bad. In its 2000 incarnation, Little Feat’s lineup ranges from 1970s members Bill Payne (keyboards), Richie Hayward (drums), Paul Barrere (guitar), Kenny Gradney (bass), and Sam Clayton (percussion) to more recent additions like guitarist Fred Tackett and female singer Shaun Murphy. The addition of Murphy in the 1990s proved to be a plus for the band, and her whiskey-voiced, Bonnie Raitt-influenced belting is a definite asset on this CD. Chinese Work Songs isn’t in a class with 1973’s Dixie Chicken or 1974’s Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, but it’s a decent, if uneven, outing, and the 2000 lineup is faithful to the band’s roots rock-Southern rock history on original material as well as covers of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” the Band’s “Rag Mama Rag,” the Hooters’ “Gimme a Stone,” and Phish’s “Sample in a Jar.” Although not essential and not recommended to casual listeners — who would be better off with a collection of Little Feat’s 1970s recordings for Warner Brothers — diehard Feat fans will find that Chinese Work Songs, despite its imperfections, is enjoyable more often than not.

One Comment

  • steve washick says:

    Thanks Green! This is one of my favorite post-Lowell George Little Feat records. They do a really good version of Phish’s “Sample In A Jar”! Bela Fleck plays on “Gimme A Stone”.

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