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Times Love A Hero. 時代の寵児になれなかったロックバンドがリトルフィートだ。だがそれがどうした。彼らのアルバムは全て既存のロックの範疇を越える優れた内容を持つ。それ故の日本でのデジタルリマスターだ。所詮女、子供には理解できなかったということだ。ワカル奴だけ分かればいい。リトルフィートはきっとそういうバンドだ。 さてラストレコードアルバムと題されたアルバムの後にリリースされたのが、この"Time Loves A Hero"という皮肉なタイトルの作品だ。まずDay At The Dog Racesに耳を奪われる。これってピンクフロイドかプログレ、はたまたウエザーリポートというインスト曲。ビルペインがリーダーシップを取った、ローウエルジョージ不参加のこの曲を発表したいが為にこのアルバムを発表したってことが痛い程わかる。これがグループの６分の５がこの頃にやりたかったことなんだね。前作のDay Or Nightをアグレッシブに発展させた作風が潔くて好きだ。この勢いが他の収録曲にも色濃く反映されている本アルバムのメインディッシュだ。良く聴いてあげて下さい。 デキシーチキンからのファンの為には、ローウエルジョージがリードをとる"Roket In My Pocket","New Deli Freigt Train"とかがあるが、例の手癖が出てきてツーマッチ(飽き飽きした)という感じ。 リズムが新鮮な味わいを醸し出すタイトル曲やローウエルジョージの最後屁"Rockt In My Poket"やポールバレールのシャレが冴え渡る変態ソング"Old Folk Boogie"が好きで良く聴く。ローウエル以外のメンバーの心意気を感じるアグレッシブさが好きなアルバムだ。
Time Loves a Hero is the sixth studio album by Little Feat and it was released in 1977. Little Feat was formed by lead vocalist and guitarist Lowell George and keyboardist Bill Payne in 1969. George disbanded the group due to creative differences in 1979, shortly before his death. Little Feat was one of my favorite American bands of the 1970s. I bought this record when it came out and it still sounds good. It reminds me of my college years. The music has a timeless quality.
Little Feat's music was a quirky combination of rock, country, blues, New Orleans, jazz fusion, R&B, and funk. On the early albums, there was a strong New Orleans/Dr. John influence. The lyrics were often surreal. “Time Loves a Hero” is a more conventional rock album and it has guitar solos. For me, the standout track is "Day at The Dog Races" which is a brilliant six-minute jazz-fusion instrumental.
The band consisted of guitarist/vocalist Lowell George, guitarist/vocalist Paul Barrere, keyboardist Bill Payne, bassist Ken Gradney, drummer Richie Hayward, and percussionist Sam Clayton. George and Barrere both came from Los Angeles and their parents had movie industry connections. Gradney and Clayton were both originally from Louisiana. Payne was from Texas and Hayward from Iowa. The band members are excellent musicians and have a long list of session credits. Elton John described Payne as one of the best keyboard players he has ever heard. The album was produced by Ted Templeman, who was an in-demand producer in the 1970s. He also produced the Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, Aerosmith, Carly Simon, Tracy Chapman, and Van Halen.
The band was championed by the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page, and Mick Jagger in the 1970s. Unfortunately, the band has been overlooked by the public and they deserved to sell more records. A hit single would have helped. This album reached #8 in Britain and #34 in the U.S. Little Feat reformed in 1987 and is still going strong. This album deserves to be remastered the sound quality could be better.
With Michael McDonald (self, later Doobie Bros., early Steely Dan) on Red Streamliner, I had to buy the CD of the album I adored way back in college days. Every track is such a worthy listen. The lyrics of the title track. The building waves of jazzy, blues sound that is "Day at the Races."
Oddly cathartic, I am now closer to "Old Folks Boogie" and farther from the heat of "Rocket in My Pocket." Even in these, my in-between years, as I'm neither young nor old, these songs still reach me.
Time Loves a Hero is one of my favorite Little Feat albums, along with the live Waiting for Columbus. It has stayed in my car's player for a few weeks now.
Time Loves a Hero would be a return to form after their previous uneven release, The Last Record Album. Paul Barrere and Bill Payne would officially become the chief songwriters of the band as Lowell George's contributions would be limited to just two songs, one of which was co-written with Barrere. Their most eclectic album, Time Loves a Hero boasted a stronger track list as well as a confidence that was sorely lacking on The Last Record Album.
"Hi Roller", is next to the title track from Dixie Chicken, their best opening track. Lowell George's vocals show more conviction than anything on The Last Record Album while Kenny Gradney, Sam Clayton, and Richard Hayward lay down a sick groove. The Tower of Power horn section would make their first appearance on this track and would later play a pivotal role on their excellent live album, Waiting for Columbus. The title track, a staple of their live shows to this day, is one of their catchiest tracks, and features a great sing along chorus and a cool island feel ala Jimmy Buffett during the solo. George's "Rocket in My Pocket" is also very good, featuring some more of his distinctive slide work. "Day at the Dog Races" is not only one of Little Feat's best tracks but also one of the best documents of the fusion genre. Bill Payne and Richard Hayward are incredible on this track while Paul Barrere's slow burning solo is one of his best. At over 6 minutes, the track stays exciting throughout and never becomes indulgent. "Old Folks Boogie" is another great Barrere tune and its wordplay reminds you of something that George would have written during the Dixie Chicken era. After these tracks, the album slips a bit. The decent "Red Streamliner", with both its arrangement and guest vocals from Michael McDonald and Patrick Simmons, sounds way too much like the Doobie Brothers. "Keepin' up With the Joneses", with its cool sax solo, and the pretty acoustic ballad "Missin' You" are solid but not spectacular. "New Delhi Freight Train" is the only track that's not up to par. A step up from The Last Record Album, Time Loves a Hero would be the band's last good studio album before George's untimely death in 1979. Definitely worth checking out for the first five tracks, especially "Day at the Dog Races."
This album suffers from minimal input from the "big toe" Lowell George, who pulled a Jim Morrison during the recording sessions and only showed up on occassions. Therefore the rest of the Feat had to fill the void, even using synthesizers to simulate the sound of George's signature slide guitar on some tracks, like the solo on "Rocket in My Pocket". That's my biggest complaint with this one, LG's brilliant guitar playing is practically non-existent. It may have actually saved the jazz-fusion tracks "Dog Day at the Races" & "Red Steamliner" from mediocrity. As they are, they're cringe-inducing and unlistenable to me. The synthesizers have run amok on those two particular tracks. Fortunately the rest of the disc doesnt suffer. The title track "Time Loves A Hero", "Keepin' Up with the Joneses", and the simple acoustic guitar closer "Missin' You" being the real standouts, and exemplary of the clasic Little Feat sound, before complacency began to set in and the gradual decline of one of the greatest American bands.
I'm just amazed that there aren't more positive reviews here for this classic 1977 release. I've loved the title track for 32 years now, as well as the jazzy "Red Streamliner" track and most of all the percussive "Day at The Dog Races". I remember hearing that tune for the first time on WDRC-FM in Hartford, CT in August 1977 and being absolutely floored by its complexity and darkly mysterious feel. Just awesome stuff. In fact, I'm here becauseI listened to my original LP this morning and wondered if a CD of this album is still available. It is!! One of my mid-1970s faves.