One of the top ten concert moments in my experience was etched by Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre at Halloween in, I recall, 1975. In the band’s iconic jam Cold, Cold, Cold/Dixie Chicken/Tripe Face Boogie, Payne whipped out a rhapsodic excerpt from Piano Sonata No. 1 by Charles Ives. The moment was glorious not because of the obscure-to-hippies Ives piece, but because it’s hard to play!
Payne has been the anchor of Little Feat for forty-four years, and counting.
He has allowed Archive.org to preserve and present streams and downloads of an ongoing series of shows (with drummer Gabe Ford,) at which Payne plays and sings and tells stories, most of which concern his years with Little Feat. He is a world class raconteur. It’s a gold mine of great music and history.
The Band – Live at the Academy of Music 1971 Bill Payne‘s “Tracing Footsteps” with Dennis McNally 2013-05-17 (all shows) Grateful Dead – Dave’s Picks Vol. 7 Jimi Hendrix Experience – Miami Pop Festival (iTunes)
Bonus: best bootleg: Graham Parker & The Rumour – The Stone Pony (Asbury Park, NJ) 2013-04-19
comment: Five unreleased tracks key The Band’s Academy of Music deluxe set. Fans get something more in that this set showcases a Bob Clearmountain mix the cornerstone live date Rock of Ages and provides a nicely saturated and visceral mix of the later set in discs 3 & 4. Every year brings more remastered Grateful Dead goodies from the prime 1968-1974 era. Hendrix is God.
Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne has been touring as a solo act and has used the opportunity to tell about the history of Little Feat. He is a natural raconteur. I hope more dates pile up on archive.org. I had to pick one. All the ‘Tracing Footsteps’ dates supply a piece of the Little Feat & Bill Payne puzzle.
comment: The reunion of Harris and Crowell fulfills expectations: it’s transcendental. On the song Back When We Were Beautiful, Emmylou evokes Edith Piaf. Aussies Finn and Kelly acoustic power pop is cheery and grown-up. Both Dan Baird and The Del Lords appropriate the attack of Sticky Fingers era Rolling Stones and deliver the old school rock and roll goods. It’s especially explosive to have The Del Lords tossing grenades again. Linda Thompson’s comeback record is full of felicitous moments and heartfelt expression–and it seems to me to be her finest hour. Guy Clark is what Bob Dylan would be if contemporary Dylan were more observant, less self-satisfied, and, consistently true to a deep artistic vision.
The Clash – Sound System The Beach Boys – 50th Anniversary Box Set
Revolutionary punk or reactionary power-pop. What floats your boat?