Original v. Cover — #74 in a Series

Little Chicken in his House Pictures, Images and Photos

Contrary to a number of recent essays in this series, this week’s featured group does not boast any Top 40 songs, but for more than four decades has been one of the most influential rock groups in the United States. Although the group has reinvented itself time and again, they have maintained an eclectic blend of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country, folk, R&B, funk and jazz fusion genres. The group was co-founded by singer-songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist Lowell George (a former member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention) and keyboardist Bill Payne in 1969 in Los Angeles.  

About the group, Bonnie Raitt stated, “…Musically, they’re my favorite band…” and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin commented, “…Band-wise, Little Feat is my favorite American group…”  

According to wikipedia, the following musicians have performed this group’s music…

Some of the prominent musicians and bands to play and record the music of Little Feat include Phish, The Black Crowes, The Byrds, The Bridge, Garth Brooks, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Taylor Hicks, Ron Holloway, Keisuke Kuwata, Nicolette Larson, Nazareth, Robert Palmer, The Radiators, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, John Sebastian, Richard Shindell, Carly Simon, Mick Taylor, Van Halen, Joe Walsh, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Sam Bush, Coco Montoya, Vince Herman, Inara George, Stephen Bruton, Widespread Panic and Jimmy Buffett.

Although this group’s first two albums were met with critical acclaim, a lack of commercial success led to their dissolution, with one of the group’s original members, bassist Roy Estrada leaving to join Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band.

Former group members reconvened in 1972, adding several new personnel, along with a shift toward a New Orleans funk sound, which is exemplified in this week’s selection. Following that re-grouping the group attained their closest approximation to commercial success with the next four albums that followed.  

Perhaps more than anyone else, co-founder Lowell George was respected for his idiosyncratic genius, for his creation of sophisticated melodies and lyrics, ability to write memorable songs and exacting production standards. His unique slide style was distinguished by sustained, ringing legato lines.  

While on tour to promote a solo album in June of 1979, George collapsed in his hotel room in Arlington, Virginia, dead at 34 years of age from an apparent heart attack. This tragedy was thought to have been caused by a combination of excessive weight, prior chronic drug usage and the rigors of touring.  

Having exhausted almost all reasonable clues by this time, without further ado, this week’s selection is the title track from the 1973 album “Dixie Chicken” by Little Feat.  

“Dixie Chicken” was the third studio album produced by the American rock band Little Feat, released in 1973. The artwork for the front cover was by illustrator Neon Park, who had also designed album covers for Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.  

“Dixie Chicken” was considered their landmark album with the title track as their signature song that helped further define the Little Feat sound. This was augmented by two additional members (guitarist Paul Barrere and percussionist Sam Clayton) added to create the more complete and familiar lineup that continued until their 1979 breakup. Bassist Kenny Gradney was brought in to replace original bassist Roy Estrada.

Little Feat first recorded the title track from “Dixie Chicken” in 1973…

Little Feat with Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Jesse Winchester on Midnight Special live in 1977…

Crossroads performs in Northeast Pennsylvania on New Year’s Eve of 1997-1998…

Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett, formerly of Little Feat, perform this acoustic version from 2001…

City Mouse has been a mainstay in the Minnesota music scene since 1971, their longevity ensured by their ability to play almost any genre and do it well.  Here is their performance of “Dixie Chicken” at the 14th Annual Rock Bend Festival in St. Peter, Minnesota.  From 2004…

Filmed at Lantaren/Venster, Rotterdam, December 20, 2006. The band consists of Arwen Linnemann, Eric Van Dijsseldonk, Richard Van Bergen, Roel Spanjers, Nicky Hustinx…

Ten Foot Tall performed this version live on May 12, 2008…

The Southern Storm “Jam Band” takes their turn at the Mountain Arts Center on September 6, 2008. Perhaps this is the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonburg, Kentucky?

Fred Tackett and Paul Barrere from Little Feat play Dixie Chicken at Bristol Colston Hall in December 2009. They are supported by Emma Spires (bass guitar) and Julian Dawson (harmonica).  

Davey Lane & Vanetta Fields – Dixie Chicken (Two for the Show Rockwiz Duets) – Posted April 15, 2010…

Phish in concert on October 31, 2010…

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

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2 comments

    • RiaD on April 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    • RiaD on April 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    my favourite bands of all time- certainly my favourite song by them!

    thanks!

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