Little Feat Paul Barrere Turns 60 Today

Posted by: Daniel R. Lehrman Posted in: Pics-Players-Interviews

Paul Barrere
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.

Find out more guitar related stuff at Guitar Players Center, or find a guitar upgrade that interests you. Have you heard of Paul Barrere? See who else you need to know about at GPC.

Thanks and Enjoy.

11 Responses to Little Feat Paul Barrere Turns 60 Today

  1. I actually heard Little feat recently. They still got it!

  2. Squara, they are still great.

  3. First of all strike Robert Plant—the later mention of Robert Palmer’s “Sneaking Sally” album is 100% correct.
    I’ve been a Feat fan for 30+ years and have seen them as many times. I’ve also had the good fortune of working with the manager at the merch tables & naturally meeting the band numerous times. Not only is Paul one of the most gifted guitarists you’ll ever see but he’s one of the friendliest & down to earth people you’ll ever meet. Don’t cheat yourselves, go see them—you too will walk out with a smile on your face (Paul’s guarantee).

  4. Couldn’t agree with the opinions expressed in this blog any more except to express them with more enthusiasm. I, too, have worked with (the now retired) Denny Jones for the past decade, and have come to know most of the members of Little Feat on a personal level. Who would have thunk it, back in 1974 when I first saw them in Los Angeles and was totally blown away by their funky skill and killer rhythms (not to mention sly innuendos) that one day I would be eating a picnic dinner with them backstage at the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival. What Daniel Lehrman said about Paul Barrere regarding talent and growth and … yes … “personableness” goes for each of the other six members of Little Feat. You gotta see them live! Be prepared for two hours of non-stop snake-necking!

  5. See the Feat the first chance you get. You won’t be disappointed…I think that it may have been The Meters and Lowell George who backed Robert Palmer on Sneakin Sally. Lowell can also be heard on one of the Meters early albums, although he was far back in the mix.

  6. Thanks for all your personal comments. It’s obvious Paul Barrere and little Feat are dear to our hearts.

  7. Pingback: Guitar Style Reviews » Blog Archive » “two degrees in beebop, a PHD in swing, he’s a master of

  8. Little Feat is still “the best unknown band in America.” I enjoyed their small but fun exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well. Catch this band at one of the many outdoor concerts they play. A great time for all ages!

    If you like Lowell’s production of Sneakin Sally Through the Alley (who wouldn’t), don’t overlook the masterfully produced “Shakedown Street”, by The Greatful Dead – also produced by Lowell.

  9. I was surfing the web, looking for the lyrics to one of Paul’s songs, included on his first solo album, ‘On My Own Two Feet’, when I came across your article. I have to comment on a couple of inaccuracies contained in it.

    1: “perhaps part of why they became so popular was they backed Robert Plant as a band in the album ‘Sneaking Sally through the Alley’…” You have corrected yourself later on, but this reference should be Robert Palmer, (although Richie Hayward, who sadly left us here on Planet Earth a few weeks ago did play with Robert Plant during Little Feat’s disbandment.) Also, Lowell George played guitar on some or all of the tracks from Sneaking Sally Through the Alley, but the other band members were not among those who contributed to that effort.

    2: “The band broke up shortly after George’s death in 1979…” Actually, Lowell died in Washington, DC, while touring in promotion of his solo album, “Thanks I’ll Eat It Here”. This was after the break-up of Little Feat. BTW: Lowell’s final concert at Lisner Auditorium in Washington was fantastic. I’ll never forget how stunned I was when I learned of his death the next day.

    3. Little Feat original band members were Lowell George, Bill Payne, Richie Hayward, and Roy Estrada on bass.

  10. Charley Yorgey

    Concerning this topic, it is often hard to find honest suggestions on the Web. Thanks for sharing your suggestions on guitar lessons for adults and associated topics. Incidentally, do you have any good suggestions on where I can find more useful recommendations on the Internet? Keep up the excellent work!

  11. Paul and I are good iends and I remember coming out of Trancas market in Malibu ca and hearing high roller at trancas, the club where i met everyone…trancas is chumash indian for “meeting place,” he and richie stayed at my housex most of the time and back in Kentucky, I went backstage and introduced my band at his show in Louisville. Your post means a lot to me cause I’m a huge little feat fanatic and still write songs in Nashville with that attitude…spanish moon to u and ur wife

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