It is no ‘little feat’ that Paul Barrere turns 60 today. No pun intended, if you don’t know who Paul Barrere is, it’s time to find out.
Before I start my verbiage about Paul B. and Little Feat, let me give you some background. “Little Feat” was, in the ’70′s as far as my wife and myself are concerned one of the greatest, tightest and fun bands ever. I know, I saw them perform live many times in Wash. D.C. in the ’70′s. I/we spent unusual amounts of time listening to their records(vinyl)for hours every day, down in my basement. I even had the great fortune to obtain a ticket to Lisner Hall at G.W. University for their first live album, “Waiting For Columbus”. What a rush.Actually we saw them in concert here in Florida a few years ago. They just keep getting better. See them in concert if you get a chance. At the time they really started to become famous, and perhaps part of why they became so popular was they backed Robert Plant as a band in the album “Sneaking Sally Through the Alley”. Probably the best “Little Feat” album ever. Although it was really Robert Palmer’s name on the cover.Paul Barrere was born in 1948 in Burbank,(California) is still a current member of the band Little Feat, having joined the band in 1972. Barrere has also recorded and performed with many notable musicians including Chicken Legs, the Blues Busters (featuring Catfish Hodge), Valerie Carter, Helen Watson, Chico Hamilton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Palmer, and Carly Simon.His best known contributions to Little Feat include Skin It Back and Feats Don’t Fail Me Now from the album Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, All That You Dream from The Last Record Album, Time Loves a Hero from Time Loves a Hero, and Down on the Farm from Down on the Farm.
Barrere is a swing man guitarist, and can play all styles including blues, rock, slide, jazz, and cajun. Now, as the front man for the band he calls the signals on stage for the band to switch keys or songs. Paul also records and tours as an acoustic duo with fellow Little Feat member Fred Tackett.
Little Feat is an American band formed by songwriter, singer and guitarist Lowell George and keyboard player Bill Payne in 1969 in Los Angeles. The band broke up shortly after George’s death in 1979 , and reformed nine years later. A change of vocalist in 1993, ushered in the third incarnation of Little Feat. The band plays a mixture of blues, R&B, country, New Orleans funk, and rock and roll.
Barrere can not be measured as an artist in an common way. His wizardry with the guitar is part of the attraction. He is a highly imaginative guitar player , master at the slide guitar and can be considered “a master of rhythm and a rock and roll king”. He has two degrees in bee bop, and a PHD in swing also. Anyway you put it, Paul has been the heart and soul of Little Feat since Lowell George died in ’79(RIP), particularly the guitar side. However he has always been an active song writer who’s style was perfect match with Lowell George.
The last concert we attended a few years ago, Paul looked great and his playing was off the charts. I mean he is a better player now. Incidentally, I saw Robin Trower in concert last year, and he had clearly become(if possible)a better more detailed and technical guitar player too. All said, when a band stays together almost 40 years with the same core members, less Lowell George, than you would expect them to be tight. A quick note of interest, we saw Willie Nelson in concert about 6 months ago. There is another band who has been together over 30 years. They also had that super tight band feeling you only get after being together for a while. Where everyone knows and anticipates what the other members are doing or going to do, those are instincts my friend.
Note: Ever notice in the NFL, teams with offensive lines that have been together for a while and know each other well, work together better? A band is a team also.
Actually, all of my Little feat collection is either vinyl or 10″ reel to reel. Now, you can purchase it on CD or DVD. I checked out Amazon, and they have all the albums they ever made and, Robert Palmer/ Little Feat “Sneaking Through The Alley With Sally”. Check it out, the Amazon Search Box on the left is there for your convenience.
Thanks and Enjoy.