Sunday, 12 June 2016

"Waiting For Columbus: Deluxe Edition" by LITTLE FEAT (Inside The 2014 'Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971 to 1990' 13CD Box Set) - A Review by Mary Barry...

"…Tripe Face Boogie…"

"Waiting For Columbus" by LITTLE FEAT (1978 Double Live Album)

Taking its Box Set title from a New Orleans bopper on 1990's "Representing The Mambo" LP - "Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971 to 1990" by LITTLE FEAT is a 13CD Mini Box Set that many fans will say has been a long-time coming.

And for the purpose of this review - amongst its many Audio pleasures is the 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' of their fabulous "Waiting For Columbus" 2LP set from 1978 – their official 'live album' whilst Lead Guitarist Lowell George was still with us and leader of the band. And yet even though "Columbus" has garnished a legendary status amongst LF fans (Funky-Rock at its finest) - as a release it's somehow gotten lost across the decades for everyone else - often overlooked for more famous studio efforts like "Sailin' Shows" and "The Last Record Album". I'd argue 'over look' no more music lovers and let's dig in. Here are the Fat Men In Bathtubs consuming weeds, whites and wine...

UK released Monday 24 February 2014 (4 March 2014 in the USA) - “Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971 to 1990" by LITTLE FEAT on Rhino/Warner Brothers 8122796057 (Barcode 081227960575) is a 13CD Mini Box Set of Remasters. Discs 7 and 8 of the 13 are the 1978 double live-album "Waiting For Columbus" Remastered onto 2CDs with Bonus Tracks. It plays as follows...

Disc 1 (60:19 minutes):
1. Join The Band [Side 1]
2. Fat Man In The Bathtub
3. All That You Dream
4. Oh Atlanta
5. Old Folk’s Boogie
6. Dixie Chicken [Side 3]
7. Tripe Face Boogie
8. Rocket In My Pocket
9. Time Loves A Hero [Side 2]
10. Day Or Night
11. Mercenary Territory
12. Spanish Moon

Disc 2 (78:02 minutes):
1. Willin' [Side 4]
2. Don't Bogart That Joint
3. A Apolitical Blues
4. Sailin' Shoes
5. Feats Don’t Fail Me Now
6. One Love Stand
7. Rock And Roll Doctor
8. Skin It Back
9. On Your Way Down
10. Walkin’ All Night
11. Cold, Cold, Cold
12. Day At The Dog Races
13. Skin It Back
14. Red Streamliner
15. Teenage Nervous Breakdown
Tracks 1 to 12 on Disc 1 and Tracks 1 to 5 on Disc 2 make up the original 2LP vinyl set "Waiting For Columbus" – released March 1978 in the USA on Warner Brothers B2K 3140 and in the UK on Warner Brothers K 66075. Tracks 6 to 12 on Disc 2 are previously unreleased outtakes with 13 to 15 also being are outtakes first issued on the “Hoy Hoy” double album retrospective in 1981. It peaked at No. 18 on the USA LP chart and No. 43 in the UK.

Audiowise fans will know that in April 2002 Rhino issued an 'Expanded Edition' of "Waiting For Columbus" onto 2CDs with a card slipcase (Barcode 081227827427). Luckily this superb 2014 Box Set gatefold card sleeve repro apes that reissue and remaster by including its 10 Bonus Tracks – seven 'Previously Unreleased' Outtakes from the concerts and three more Live Outtakes that first appeared on the "Hoy Hoy" double-album compilation issued in July 1981. BILL INGLOT and DAN HERSCH carried out the 2002 CD Remasters and that's what you get here – gorgeous sound and real ballsy clarity.

It opens with the jokey ditty "Join The Band" – a recorded in a bucket two-minute mess around before launching into proceedings proper with a Funky-As-A-Vicar's-Teacakes "Fat Man In A Bathtub". You're struck the great Remaster and just how tight this band is – swaying like this beautifully sexy thing – and achieving that unique 'Little Feat' sound. It had been no secret that on the Warner Brothers Live Show Tour - Little Feat would regularly slaughter good live bands like The Doobie Brothers, Kokomo and Graham Central Station every night. At times the crowd would get so hot they'd actually boo the other quality acts – calling for the Feat's return. And followed by the equally cool "All That You Dream" – it's easy to hear why – and why so many say that you can only really appreciate the band in a live setting.

Then there’s the band players and those big league guests – BILL PAYNE on Piano, PAUL BARRERE on Lead Guitar and Vocals, KENNY GRADNEY on Bass, RICHARD HAYWARD on Drums and Percussion with LOWELL GEORGE on Lead Vocals and Guitar. Friends like Mick Taylor of The Rolling Stones guest (he's on "A-Political Blues") whilst the "Hoy Hoy" outtake allowed us to hear Michael McDonald and Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brothers guest on "Red Steamliner". But probably best of all is the TOWER OF POWER Horn section on fab stuff like "Spanish Moon".

Amongst the extras are very cool Funky tunes like "One Man Show" that could easily have been a 45 and the Bluesy "On Your Way Down" - a forgotten slow and moody nugget on the "Dixie Chicken" album from 1973. Rocking boogie comes in the shape of "Walkin' All Night" where they sound like The Band finding their inner Betty Davis - getting all bitchy with that rhythm...

"Waiting For Columbus" is a wickedly good live double and combined with those superb CD extras on the 'Deluxe Edition' - elevated to something extraordinary. And lodged inside the 13CD embarrassment of riches that is the 'Rad Gumbo' LITTLE FEAT Box Set - it's also a value-for-money 'feats won't fail you now' purchase. 

God bless you Lowell George...

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