CD Review - Perf 9 / Sound 8
On the heels of DIXIE CHICKEN, arguably Little Feat's finest moment, came this superb collection of country-fried grooves and good times. Even leaner and more energetic that DIXIE CHICKEN, FEATS DON'T FAIL ME NOW injects higher doses of rock & roll and country boogie into the group's rootsy aesthetic. Bandleader and lead songwriter Lowell George plays less of a determining role here, contributing two songs of his own (including the lushly funky "Spanish Moon," which features some killer horn charts) and co-writing four others (including the in-concert classic "Rock & Roll Doctor").
But while George takes a step back, the band sounds tighter, sharper, and better than ever. The dance-oriented direction is perfectly broached: in-the-pocket drumming, burbling bass, crying guitars, and wiry synths (note the delicious groove of "Skin It Back") merge beautifully with the band's dusty, back porch origins. Little Feat would stick to the easy country funk refined on this album for the rest of their career, and though the diminishing role of George would later hurt the band, FEATS DON'T FAIL ME NOW is one of the last recordings on which everything worked in perfect synchronicity.