Down Upon The Suwannee River (Little Feat)
As the fourth release on Little Feat's Hot Tomato Records -- think of it as their own personal Dick's Picks -- Down Upon the Suwannee River offers another 2000s-era vintage performance of the reunited Feat rolling through a bunch of their old favorites, sneaking in a few newer tunes and a cover of Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" into the mix. All the usual caveats apply: fans of Lowell George will find this of no interest, the band is nowhere near as gritty without him, and the band likes to ride an easy groove and just jam until the wee hours of the morning. But Feat fans know that anyway, they know that once Lowell passed, he took the grit and weirdness with him, and the group that reunited in the late '80s is much different for it -- sonically similar but with a calm, centered, cheerful character contrasting with the wiliness of their classic period. They're now a jam band, plain and simple, but unlike the king of jam bands, the Grateful Dead, Little Feat don't turn their songs inside out or reinterpret them in concert; they play that easy groove until they wear it out. And it's often quite enjoyable since they have killer songs and a unique interplay, but it does mean that the latter-day live albums are kind of samey, and even the better ones don't have much to distinguish them. In terms of repertoire and sound, Down Upon the Suwannee River doesn't have much to mark it different than its peers, but it's a solid affair, and once it gets going, even ornery Lowell fans might find it pleasurable, since this is a bunch of pros on a good night. But it ain't a patch on Waiting for Columbus, or the wild, wooly live cuts on Ripe and Raw Tomatoes, or any bootleg of the band at its '70s prime.
- Release Date:
- Hot Tomato Records
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