Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero
Lowell George (g, voc) [click here to see more vinyl featuring Lowell George]
Bill Payne (keyb, voc, perc); Paul Barrère (g, voc); Ken Gradney (b); Ritchie Hayward (dr, perc, voc); Sam Clayton (cga, perc, voc); Tower Of Power Horn Section
Written by Paul Barrère (A1, A2, A4, B1, B4, B5), Ken Gradney (A2), Bill Payne (A2, arrangement A4, B2), Lowell George (A3, B4), Ken Gradney (A4), Richie Hayward (A4), Sam Clayton (A4), Fran Tate (B2), Terry Allen (B3)
1 LP, standard sleeve
Original analog Master tape : YES
Heavy Press : 180g
Record color : black
Speed : 33 RPM
Size : 12'’
Record Press : Pallas
Label : Speakers Corner
Original Label : Warner
Recording: 1976-77 at Sunset Sound Studios, Warner Bros. Studios, Western Recorders, all Hollywood, CA, and Record Plant, Sausalito, CA, by Donn Landee
Production: Ted Templeman
Originally released in 1977
Reissued in 2018
Side A :
- Hi Roller
- Time Loves A Hero
- Rocket In My Pocket
- Day At The Dog Races
Side B :
- Old Folks Boogie
- Red Streamliner
- New Delhi Freight Train
- Keepin' Up With The Joneses
- Missin' You
« When Little Feat headed into the studio to record Time Loves a Hero, tensions between the bandmembers -- more specifically, Lowell George and the rest of the band -- were at a peak. George had not only succumbed to various addictions, but he was growing restless with the group's fondness for extending their jams into territory strikingly reminiscent of jazz fusion. The rest of the group brought in Ted Templeman, who previously worked on their debut and produced Sailin' Shoes, to mediate the sessions. George wasn't thrilled with that, but that's probably not the only reason why his presence isn't large on this release -- all signs point to his frustration with the band, and he wasn't in great health, so he just didn't contribute to the record. He wrote one song, the pleasant but comparatively faceless "Rocket in My Pocket," and collaborated with Paul Barrere on "Keepin' Up with the Joneses." Barrere was responsible for the only bright moments on the album, the ingratiatingly silly "Old Folks Boogie" and, along with Bill Payne and Ken Gradney, the funky singalong title track. Elsewhere, Barrere and Payne come up dry, turning out generic pieces that are well played but not as memorable as comparable Doobie Brothers cuts from the same time. Then there's "Day at the Dog Races," a lengthy fusion jam that Templeman and everyone in the band loved -- except for George, who, according to Bud Scoppa's liner notes in Hotcakes & Outtakes, disparagingly compared it to Weather Report. He was right -- no matter how well Feat play on this track, it comes across as self-serving indulgence, and the clearest sign on this muddled album that they had indeed lost the plot. » AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Speakers Corner has released a re-mastered 180-gram vinyl of Little feat’s sixth studio album for Warners. Time Loves a Hero was recorded during a time of transition, one of Little Feat’s dysfunctional periods. Their primary songwriter, George contributed (as composer) to just two of the recorded tracks. But the overall superb musicianship of this Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame worthy band is on full display. Side 1 opens with a high voltage funk rocker (“Hi Roller”) by Paul Barrere. Featuring George on gritty lead vocal, the pumped up jam features Barrere’s electric guitar, muscle from Tower Of Power horns and a smoking organ from Billy Payne. This cut burns with intensity. The title track is a is a textured Latin-infused jazz rock jam with Payne handling lead vocals. The musical tapestry is expansive with keyboards, marimba and tight guitar chords. For those concerned with the smaller footprint of the band’s founder’s, “Rocket In My Pocket” should answer the call. Solely written by George, the coyly sultry lyrics and vocal delivery are brilliant. Any Little Feat fan can imagine him onstage, hand on hips moaning, “…the music was hot, my baby was not!”. The inherent funky syncopation (with nimble congas) and trademark slide guitar is vintage Feat.
At the other end of the spectrum is the jazz fusion-like instrumental “Day At The Dog Races”. The foray into this genre was a source of contention between George and the group. (In many instances, he would exit the stage during this number). But the instrumental largesse of Payne, Barrere, Hayward, Clayton and Gradney is showcased on this six-and-a-half minute jam. With a Spanish classical guitar intro, the band explodes into a furious high energy jam. Distorted guitar and electric piano riffs add a multi-faceted approach. There are jazzy chord modulations and fierce rhythm (Hayward, Clayton and Gradney). Barrere’s solos are potent, while Payne offers a stunningly lyrical acoustic piano before the cascading finish. Side 2 starts with classic Paul Barrere country funkiness on “Old Folks Boogie”. The southern vibe is palpable, especially on Barrere’s husky vocal and Payne’s New Orleans piano runs. “Red Steamliner” reverts to jazz rock. Payne’s reedy soulful vocal lead is framed by fusion progressions, guitars, electric piano and keyboards. All of the elements are rooted in 70’s aesthetics with high-end production (including interwoven backup vocals by Doobie Brothers members Patrick Simmons and Michael McDonald). This musical largesse is what has kept this band intact (with some personnel changes) 40 years after the death of Lowell George. The mercurial leader returns to the spotlight on “New Delhi Freight Train”. George’s impeccable “country boogie” depth is encapsulated in his heartfelt singing. The inherent hypnotic grooves that epitomize this iconic American band are enhanced by string accents. There is significant chemistry as George’s indelible vocal phrasing elevates this number. A Barrere/George composition “Keepin’ Up With The Joneses” continues the melancholic funk. It is ironic that both of these Southern Roots practitioners are Southern California natives. Here, Barrere embraces a “Dixie Drawl” and Tower Of Power (with a saxophone solo by Lenny Pickett) adds to the aural tapestry. The finale, “Missin’ You” is pure folk Barrere (with dobro by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter).
Speakers Corner has done their customary superior vinyl re-mastering to 180-gram vinyl. The stereo separation is flawless. The focus on vocals and finer detail (acoustic guitar, piano, conga) is handled with technical delicacy. As the musical landscape expands (horns, strings, keyboards) the mix is crystalline, never muddled. The iconic impressionistic artwork of Neon Park is vibrant in 12” front and back cover. Time Loves A Hero may not among the essential Little Feat albums, but it is great music! » Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, Mar 7, 2019
There are many dreamed-of and a number of dreamy records which reflect the American idea of freedom from a musical point of view. One of these was presented by frontman Lowell George and his superb group Little Feat in what the musical experts praised as a »symbiosis of anarchistic primitive folklore and rock finesse« (rororo Rocklexikon). The high standard which the musicians maintain over the two sides of the LP is established with "Hi Roller", a funky, energetic opening number. The multi-part title number "Times Loves A Hero" follows on with a more subdued tempo but with great dive and sophisticated percussion, which proves itself to be the most important element and governs the whole album.
Little Feat conjures with traditional forms, gets you on the dance floor with "Old Folks Boogie" and serves up a tasty mixture of honky-tonk and blues, which is refined with powerful guitar solos.
Just like a picture puzzle, rhythmic figures and figurettes dart hither and thither out of the background of this handcrafted and stalwart filigree rock ("Red Streamliner", "Keepin‘ Up With The Joneses"). But simplicity and softness is also possible: The message in "Missin‘ You" needs nothing more than chords on the acoustic guitar and men’s voices with a southern sound.
AllMusic : 4.5 / 5 , Discogs : Rate Your Music :