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Keyhole (KHCD9030)

Apolitical Blues, Got No Shadow, Willin’, On Your Way Down, Walkin’ All Night, Interview, Two Trains, Fat Man In The Bathtub, Sailin’ Shoes, Cold, Cold, Cold, Dixie Chicken, Tripe Face Boogie, Teenage Nervous Breakdown

Having reviewed a ‘lost’ radio broadcast from Little Feat as recently as catalogue 181 in late 2014 (see SMCD930,  Electrif Lycanthrope), is there a danger of overkill by reviewing another so soon after? Particularly as this performance was captured just a short year prior to the previous release and features a number of the same tracks? Well, if you are as much of a nut for golden-era Little Feat as I am, and the recording is this good, then I really don’t think so.

Admittedly, this new selection does not come with anywhere near as much back-story as Electrif Lycanthrope (which, prior to its recent ‘official’ release, was long-considered to be among the most revered and sought after bootlegs in rock history, no doubt enhanced by the strong suspicion that Lowell George himself had a hand in its mixing and excellent sound quality). This set does however have a performance and sound that is pretty much the equal of Electrif Lycanthrope and thus offers a magnificent companion piece for us all to now marvel at and enjoy.

Being recorded a little earlier, the emphasis of the material naturally leans towards the three earliest band albums and does not feature any of the tracks from the Feats Don’t Fail Me Now album that Electrif Lycantrope was in part organised to showcase. As a result, we get here the knock-out opener, Lowell George’s stunning 12-bar blues pastiche, Apolitical Blues, complete with his searing slide guitar, a tender version of the plaintive Sailin’ Shoes, and a 10 minute wig-out ending that segues a couple of their rocking-est numbers from the Sailin’ Shoes album (being Tripe Face Boogie and Teenage Nervous Breakdown). Best of all perhaps is the knock-out version of Allan Toussaint’s On Your Way Down, with Lowell exuding funk and soul in his vocals as only he could .

Of the tracks that do turn up again on Electrif Lycanthrope, the sublime Fat Man In The Bathtub gets a speedier reading than usual (and comes up trumps again) and Two Trains is perhaps the best live version of the track that I have heard. Willin’ is, as you would expect, present and correct and gets the biggest cheer of the night from the enthusiastic audience.

So, what’s not to like? A great band performing at their peak on some of the best songs released in the early-mid 1970s. Get this and Electric Lycanthrope (if you haven’t already done so) - clear evidence that too much of a good thing doesn’t always have to have negative connotations!

Review Date: January 2015

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