Sloan’s Secret Stash – Little Feat
This week we’re travelin’ West, because a couple of you have had a craving for Little Feat. When listening to the original line-up on their self-titled first album, you’d never guess they were formed out of Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention.
Feat’s lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Lowell George was a part of Zappa’s original bands, and Zappa was integral in getting Little Feat their first record deal. In fact, this tune is supposedly the reason Lowell George was ‘let go’ from The Mothers by Frank and told to form his own band, because he was quote; “Too talented”.
According to Feat legend, Lowell presented ‘Willin” to Zappa, who rejected it and subsequently fired George because of it’s drug references.
‘Willin’ is unique in the fact that it has been recorded by the band THREE different times on three different albums. It first appeared on their self-titled debut, then re-recorded with a slightly different arrangement for their second album, ‘Sailin’ Shoes‘, then later, live, on ‘Waiting For Columbus‘.
Ironically, three recordings couldn’t push this song past cult status, but one cover of it by Linda Ronstadt was included on her #1 album ‘Heart Like A Wheel‘.
This live version of the song is very moving. You can tell that that this song was very close to Lowell’s heart. It’s also one of my favorite tunes of all time. It was an honor to meet these guys (sans Lowell, who has passed by then) when they played out at Bailey Ray’s Upper Mississippi Shakedown a few years ago. It was the third and last time I’ve been able to catch them live. Their best performance for me, came the first time I saw them, back in 1989 outdoors at Trout Air Amphitheater near Forest Lake, where they performed with The Allman Bros., and The Radiators.
The first album by these guys is very hard to find on vinyl, and even harder to find on CD. I was fortunate to find it in a used CD joint out in California about 10 years ago and I haven’t seen it since. If you ever see it, please rescue it and play often, I’m confident Lowell’s spirit will bless you with good fortune if you do.