CLASSIC RETRO ALBUM REVIEW, LITTLE FEAT’S “WAITING FOR COLUMBUS” RELEASED FEBRUARY 10, 1978

 

 

Waiting For Columbus was Little Feat’s double record live album. It was recorded live in two locations; Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC on George Washington University and the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK in August of 1977. The Release date was February 10, 1978. That spring it peaked on The Billboard 100 at 18. In my home town 20 miles south of Cleveland, Ohio, it may as well have been number one as we played it throughout the summer. Celebrating 45 years since it’s release, Little Feat will be touring in 2022 on the “Waiting For Columbus Tour.”

 

This bluesy live album with the addition of The Tower of Power ‘s horn section brings a New Orleans flair that makes this album memorable. Little Feat and The Tower of Power horn section had hooked up on a previous Little Feat album in 1974, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now.

Waiting For Columbus is recorded on two vinyl albums. It was recorded to listen from beginning to end in one sitting as if the listener is actually attending a Little Feat concert! The album’s first track, “Join The Band” is proceeded by an introduction. The crowd is caught by surprise and I’m sure the stage was probably dark. The introduction of the band was made by a local Washington radio personality, Don “Cerphe” Colwell as he spells out “F” “E” “A” “T”, please welcome Little Feat!

 

1/1.  Join the Band (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977)

 

The first song, “Fat Man in the Bathtub” hits hard with congas and the pure vocals of Lowell George. Then the keyboards and synthesizer of Bill Payne take over. The band comes in and the mix is just pure magic. Listening to the track while I write this made me miss Lowell George’s contributions to live music ever so much.

 

1/2.  Fat Man in the Bathtub (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977

 

The next track “All That You Dream” was written by Little Feat and released in 1975, but it was Linda Ronstadt covering the song in 1978 that really made the song take off. I believe the live version on this album is the best it has ever been performed.

 

1/3.  (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977)

 

 “Oh Atlanta” finishes off side one and was written by Billy Payne.  After releasing three studio albums that didn’t sell very well, the band was on the outs with Warner Bros Records and needed a breakout album. The band found an inexpensive studio, Blue Seas Recording Studio in Hunts Valley, Maryland and recorded the 1974 album Feats Don’t Fail Me Now. “Oh Atlanta” was released as the first single and went on to be one of their most popular songs. It really makes your feet move!

 

1/4.  Oh Atlanta (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977)

 

Side two of the first album is a bit slower but ends on a high note with “Spanish Moon” which is my second favorite track on the entire album. Additional tracks on this side include “Mercenary Territory” featuring the Tower of Power horn section and “Time Loves a Hero” which was the band’s title track of their sixth studio album released in 1977.

 

2/1. “Spanish Moon” (George) – 4:49   (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/8/1977)

 

Side one of the second album really picks up speed with “Dixie Chicken”, the longest track on the album. Dixie Chicken is also the name of the band’s 1973 album. Dixie Chicken also solidified the band’s signature New Orleans R&B/Funk sound. With all the great tracks in this album, I may have to say this is my personal favorite.

 

3/1. “Dixie Chicken” (George, Martin Kibbee) – 9:00   (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/3/1977)

 

The first track on the back side of disc two is “Willin.” Lowell George wrote and released the song on Little Feat’s 1971 self titled album. Since then it has been covered by multiple artists including Bob Dylan, Phish, The Byrds, The Black Crowes and Linda Ronstadt to name a few. George was in the band, The Mothers Of Invention when he wrote the song. After Frank Zappa heard the song, he suggested George start his own band. This was typical for Zappa to kick musicians out of his band when he felt they were ready to excell on their own. The third song on this side is “A Apolitical Blues.” A point of interest on this recording is that Mick Taylor of The Rolling Stones sat in and played lead and slide guitar. Track four “Sailing Shoes” is the title single from the band’s 1972 album of the same name. Number five and the last track, “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now,” was the title single of their 1974 release of the same name.

 

4/1. “Willin'” (George) – 4:42   (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/8/1977)

 

Overall, Waiting For Columbus, is one of the greatest life albums of the 1970’s. Those four days of recording in London, UK and the four days in Washington, DC, produced a perfect presentation of a continuous live concert recording that I have ever heard. They actually had enough material for three live albums, but cut it down to two for marketing. 45 years later it still holds true and I rate this album in my personal top 10.

Overall rating

10/10

 

 

Band:

Paul Barrère – guitar, vocals

Sam Clayton – congas, vocals

*Lowell George – lead vocals, guitar

Kenny Gradney – bass guitar

Richard Hayward – drums, vocals

Bill Payne – keyboards, synthesizer, vocals

Mick Taylor – lead and slide guitar (“A Apolitical Blues”)

Michael McDonald and Patrick Simmons – backing vocals (“Red Streamliner”)

 

 

 

1978 double LP

Side one

  1. “Join the Band” (Traditional) – 1:50  Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977
  2. “Fat Man in the Bathtub” (George) – 4:50 (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977
  3. “All That You Dream” (Barrère, Payne) – 4:25  (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977)
  4. “Oh Atlanta” (Payne) – 4:09 (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977)
  5. “Old Folks’ Boogie” (Barrère, Gabriel Barrère) – 4:22   (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/4/1977)

Side two

  1. “Time Loves a Hero” (Barrère, Gradney, Payne) – 4:20 (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/4/1977)
  2. “Day or Night” (Payne, Fran Tate) – 5:23  (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/4/1977)
  3. “Mercenary Territory” (George, Hayward) – 4:27   (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/2/1977)
  4. “Spanish Moon” (George) – 4:49   (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/8/1977)

Side three

  1. “Dixie Chicken” (George, Martin Kibbee) – 9:00   (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/3/1977)
  2. “Tripe Face Boogie” (Hayward, Payne) – 7:02   (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/3/1977)
  3. “Rocket in My Pocket” (George) – 3:42  (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/2/1977)

Side four

  1. “Willin'” (George) – 4:42   (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/8/1977)
  2. “Don’t Bogart That Joint” (E. Ingber, L. Wagner) – 0:57   (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/8/1977)
  3. “A Apolitical Blues” (George) – 3:41    (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK, 8/3/1977)
  4. “Sailin’ Shoes” (George) – 6:18    (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/10/1977)
  5. “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now” (Barrère, George, Kibbee) – 5:17   (Live at Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC, 8/9/1977)

 

*Lowell George was the anchor on writing, vocals and guitar of Little Feat. George died June 29, 1979 (aged 34). Ironically, after performing on June 28, 1979 at D.C.’s Lisner Auditorium where Waiting for Columbus had been recorded in 1977, George died of a heart attack in his Arlington, Virginia, hotel room.

 

 

 

“Waiting for Columbus” Dates for 2022:

Jan 20    Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall

Jan 22    Daytona Beach, FL – Peabody Auditorium

Jan 23    Ft. Lauderdale, FL – The Parker Playhouse

Jan 25    Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall

Jan 26   Melbourne, FL – The King Center for the Performing Arts

Jan 27    Fort Pierce, FL – Sunrise Theatre

Jan 30    Runaway Bay, Jamaica  Feat Camp 2022

Jan 31    Runaway Bay, Jamaica  Feat Camp 2022

Feb 1       Runaway Bay, Jamaica   Feat Camp 2022

Feb 2      Runaway Bay, Jamaica   Feat Camp 2022

Feb 3      Runaway Bay, Jamaica   Feat Camp 2022

Feb 4     Runaway Bay, Jamaica    Feat Camp 2022

Feb 5    Runaway Bay, Jamaica     Feat Camp 2022

Feb 14  Rock Legends Cruise IX

Feb 15   Rock Legends Cruise IX

Feb 16   Rock Legends Cruise IX

Feb 17   Rock Legends Cruise IX

Feb 18   Rock Legends Cruise IX

March  4  Columbus, OH – Southern Theatre

March 5   Kalamazoo, MI – Kalamazoo State Theatre

March 7   Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theater

March 8   Des Moines, IA – Hoyt Sherman Place

March 10  Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre

March 11   Chesterfield, MO – The Factory at the District

March 13   Nashville, IN – Brown County Music Center

March 14   Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre

March 16   Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium

March 17   Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium

March 19   Knoxville, TN – Tennessee Theatre

March 20   Birmingham, AL – Alabama Theatre

March 22   Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Symphony Hall

March 23   Mobile, AL – Saenger Theatre

March 25   New Orleans, LA – Saenger Theatre

March 26    Houston, TX – 713 Music Hall

March 27    Dallas, TX – Majestic Theatre

April 9    Akron, OH – Akron Civic Theatre

April 10   Rochester, NY – Kodak Center

April 12   Beacon Theatre – New York, NY

April 13   Collingswood, NJ – Scottish Rite Auditorium

April 15   F.M. Kirby Center For The Performing Arts – Wilkes-Barre, PA

April 16   DAR Constitution Hall – Washington, DC

April 19   Richmond, VA – Dominion Energy Center

April 20   Virginia Beach, VA – Sandler Center for the Performing Arts

April 21   Durham, NC – Carolina Theatre of Durham

April 23   Johnny Mercer Theatre – Savannah, GA

April 24   Charlotte, NC – Knight Theater

May 26    Asheville, NC – Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville

May 27    Martinsville, VA

May 28    Chillicothe, IL

May 29    Chillicothe, IL

July 26    Springfield, MO – Gillioz Theatre

July 27    Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater

July 29    Greenwood Village, CO – Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater

August 1    Sandy, UT – Sandy Amphitheater

August 3    Bozeman, MT – The ELM

August 4    Bonner, MT – KettleHouse Amphitheater

August 6    Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre

August 7    Portland, OR – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

August 9    Oakland, CA – Fox Theater

August 10    Sacramento, CA – Crest Theatre

August 12    Los Angeles, CA – Theatre at Ace Hotel

August 14    San Diego, CA – Humphreys Concerts by the Bay

August 15    Phoenix, AZ – Celebrity Theatre

August 25    Las Vegas, NV

August 26    Las Vegas, NV

August 27    Las Vegas, NV

August 28   Las Vegas, NV

 

 

 

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