Thursday, February 17, 2022

Album Review: Little Feat - Electrif Lycanthrope Live At Ultra-Sonic Studios, 1974

Little Feat
Electrif Lycanthrope Live At Ultra-Sonic Studios, 1974
*** out of *****

Little Feat were at their peak in the early 70's with their classic lineup of  Lowell George – vocals, guitar, harmonica Richie Hayward – drums, backing vocals Bill Payne – vocals, keyboards Paul Barrere – vocals, guitar Sam Clayton – congas, vocals, percussion Kenny Gradney – bass. This Record Store Day release takes a famous live bootleg of the band at their best and makes it official with improved sound quality and packaging. 

Electrif Lycanthrope Live At Ultra-Sonic Studios, 1974 was recorded at a radio station out in Hempstead, Long Island on September 9th 1974 in front of a small audience of invited fans.  The sound and quality of the release is top notch as the master tapes were used and the band kicks it off with "The Fan" which is the most prog rock the band sounds on this album with flashes of Frank Zappa who Lowell played with years before. 

More in the Little Feat wheelhouse is the follow up "On Your Way Down" which hooks in with a molasses like groove as the band digs deep into the Allen Toussaint tune with grit, providing an album highlight. That slow sweet groove continues for a three song flow as "Spanish Moon" chugs along excellently before the players drip into "Skin It Back". This track finds the guitars and vocalist Barrère lacking energy but the percussion picks up leading the way into "Fat Man In The Bathtub" as Clayton on percussion proves the MVP.

Things pick up, almost sounding like a new session, as the band kick into "Rock and Roll Doctor", which along with "Oh, Atlanta" gets two versions on this release. Both of the first takes are more upbeat and rock focused while both second takes fall more into the patented slow groove Little Feat are more known for.

That patented slow sound gets to the point of near collapse on "Sailin' Shoes" proving that it is a tricky skill that Feat show off, sometimes can drag too much. That is never the case with "Willin'"though as it is one stone cold great song that George and company nail on this release. 

The final three song segue fest delivers the goods as "Cold Cold Cold" with light funk before the picture perfect guitars, piano work and singing on "Dixie Chicken". The track flows beautifully into album closer "Trip Face Boogie" which shakes along to rambling finish. 
Electrif Lycanthrope Live At Ultra-Sonic Studios, 1974 returns listeners to the halcyon era of Little Feat with a cool collection of some of the bands best songs in varied versions. 
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