CD review: Little Feat 'Rooster Rag'

by Brandy McDonnell Published: August 3, 2012
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ROCK

Little Feat ‘Rooster Rag'

(Rounder/Hot Tomato Records)

Little Feat serves up another heaping helping of casually superb, cheerfully messy musical gumbo with “Rooster Rag.”

With its first batch of new material since 2003's “Kickin' It at the Barn,” the influential jam band again blends rock 'n' roll, blues, jazz fusion and more into a hearty sonic stew.

While the sextet seasons the recipe with its usual easy virtuosity and freewheeling spirit, “Rooster Rag” doesn't have a standout track like “Dixie Chicken,” “Fat Man in the Bathtub” or “Let It Roll” to give the recipe a much-needed kick.

Little Feat has undergone more than its share of lineup shifts over the decades, and its 16th studio album marks more changes. It is the band's first release since founding member Richie Hayward died in 2010, and new drummer Gabe Ford does a solid job laying down the beats. But “Rooster Rag” misses the spice of Shaun Murphy's powerhouse vocals; the songstress left the group in 2009 after 15 years.

The participation of Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter adds a heady dash of the surreal to the mix. Keyboardist/singer/Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne teamed with Hunter to pen four of the album's 12 tracks, and each sounds markedly different, from the merrily trippy “Way Down Under” to the blues-funk road song “Rag Top Down.” The title track struts along with a playful bluegrass vibe while the Cajun-fried, story-song “Salome” sings the praises of a whorehouse that dishes up soul food on the side.

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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more...
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