Little Feat – Dixie Chicken – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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White Hot Stamper sound on side two — yes, it is possible, and this very copy is Proof with a capitol P. Most copies of this album sound like cardboard, especially the later pressings on the palm tree and tan labels. To get the best sound you need originals of this album, and Warner Brothers green label originals are getting pretty darn hard to find as more and more collectors and audiophiles are coming to the realization that the unending stream of heavy vinyl reissues flooding the market leaves a lot to be desired. (Our desire for them is at zero as we no longer bother to order the stuff.)

Folks, this is no demo disc by any means, but the later pressings strip away the two qualities that really make this music work and bring it to life: Tubey Magic and Big Bass. This side two has both in SPADES.

Listen to how breathy and transparent the chorus is on the first track. Now layer that sound on top of a fat and punchy bottom end and you have the formula for Little Feat Magic at its funky best. This is the sound they heard in the control room, of that I have no doubt, and it is all over this side two. No side of any copy we played was better.

This is A Triple Plus As Good As It Gets Little Feat Sound, the best we have ever heard for any of the early albums.

That WB Sound

Side one earned a grade of A+ to A++. It lacked the top end that lets the sound open up in the choruses, a very common problem with early WB pressings which have a marked tendency to be dull. (We know; we’ve played them by the hundreds, from Deep Purple to the Doobie Brothers to America to Van Morrison and scores of others too numerous to mention. There are ten dull WB pressings for every one that’s bright. )

The bass is excellent and the piano really sounds right on Dixie Chicken, but when you flip the record over you will hear what it could have sounded like (and practically never does).

The MoFi

We’ve never bothered to order one. This is an album about rhythm. Half-Speed mastered records have bad bass and consequently lack rhythmic drive. Why would anyone want to half-speed master an album such as this? The obvious answer is not that it’s a good idea, but, if it’s the only idea you have, because you are in the half-speed mastering business, then half-speed master is precisely what you are going to do.

Good idea or bad idea, it’s the one idea you have. As the old saying goes, if all you have is a hammer everything looks olderlike a nail.warn

Personally

The All Music Guide (and lots of other critics) think this is Little Feat at their best. With tracks such as Two Trains, Dixie Chicken, Fat Man in the Bathtub and Roll Um Easy, who’s gonna disagree!? (I guess I am. I prefer Waiting for Columbus and The Last Record Album but cannot deny that Dixie Chicken is probably the best of the albums that came before them.)

One of the Greats

Little Feat was a wildly eclectic band, bringing together strains of blues, R&B, country, and rock & roll. The bandmembers were exceptionally gifted technically and their polished professionalism sat well with the slick sounds coming out of southern California during the ’70s. However, Little Feat were hardly slick — they had a surreal sensibility, as evidenced by George’s idiosyncratic songwriting, which helped the band earn a cult following among critics and musicians. — AMG

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Dixie Chicken
Two Trains
Roll Um Easy
On Your Way Down
Kiss It Off

Side Two

Fool Yourself
Walkin” All Night
Fat Man in the Bathtub
Juliette
Lafayette Railroad

AMG 5 Star Rave Review

It all adds up to a nearly irresistible record, filled with great songwriting, sultry grooves, and virtuosic performances that never are flashy. Little Feat, along with many jam bands that followed, tried to top this album, but they never managed to make a record this understated, appealing and fine.