It’s borderline miraculous to have a band surprise you on its 16th studio effort, but Little Feat’s "Rooster Rag" – to be released on Rounder Records June 26th, 2012 – documents a vitality that many a baby band would love to have. Bill Payne delivers four new songs written with the legendary Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Fred Tackett contributes four songs that demonstrate some superb songwriting and singing. Paul Barrere drops a classic cover and a sizzling rocker written with the late Stephen Bruton. Sam Clayton brings it with a cover of Little Walter. New band member Gabe Ford keeps Feat’s funky rhythms going in a fashion that would have made Richie Hayward proud. And Kenny Gradney just keeps on providing a truly superb bottom end.
Recorded at long-time Bonnie Raitt guitarist Johnnie Lee Schell’s studio in Los Angeles, "Rooster Rag" includes visits from Fabulous Thunderbirds harp monster Kim Wilson, all-around string star Larry Campbell on violin, Aces Darrell Leonard on trumpet, Joe Sublet on saxophone, and additional vocals from Johnnie Lee himself.
All those other flavors add plenty, but in the end, the sound is unmistakably Little Feat. Paul Barrere reflects on it, “I’m really pleased with how it came out. Gabriel Ford steps up large – this is his first studio effort. What everybody added to everybody else’s songs is really remarkable. It was truly a collaboration and it shows – it’s a good old Little Feat album”.
Feat’s beautifully tasty blend of funk, New Orleans rhythms, Delta blues, and thirty other flavors of American music has survived the loss of several band members and the vicissitudes of touring life – in fact, it’s not only endured, but thrived. Feat doesn’t fail, and neither does "Rooster Rag".