"Effortless virtuosity": Little Feat's timeless sound on Sam's Place is oddly reassuring in these turbulent times

Feats don't fail the blues as swamp rock veterans Little Feat tackle Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters on their first album in more than a decade

Little Feat: Sam’s Place cover art
(Image: © Hot Tomato)

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Little Feat might have lost original members since forming in 1969, but they still brandish supernatural chops and signature Louisiana swagger, as long-time conga player Sam Clayton steps up to handle vocals with gruff aplomb on their first blues-based album. 

With original keyboard player Bill Payne and bassist Kenny Gradney joined by guitarist Fred Tackett, slide guitarist Scott Sharrard, drummer Tony Leone and harmonica maestro Michael 'Bull' LoBoe, Feat seamlessly plug in to the Willie Dixon- Muddy Waters songbook (apart from Clayton's brass- laden opener Milk Man), with Bonnie Raitt duetting on the latter's Long Distance Call

Effortless virtuosity and timeless idiosyncratic tropes elevate nine tracks recorded at Sam Phillips Studio in Memphis (except for the live Got My Mojo Workin'). 

Hearing the Feat flaming on dazzling form more than 50 years after early landmark albums such as Dixie Chicken and Feats Don't Fail Me Now Is oddly reassuring in these turbulent times.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!