One could argue that Little Feat without founding member Lowell George is like the Allmans without Duane or the Beach Boys without Brian -- that is, just plain wrong. But for a band nearly 40 years old, Little Feat isn't doing that badly. The band still boasts half the lineup heard on the group's way-underrated debut from '71, as well as its strong follow-up, Sailin' Shoes
. What's more, five-sixths of the musicians present for Little Feat's commercial breakthrough, 1973's Dixie Chicken
, are still on board. For better or worse, that was the album that redefined the band's sound, introducing elements of New Orleans R&B, Latin percussion, and some very laid-back funk (i.e., nothing that would be confused with James Brown).
They worked subtle variations on that sound, with diminishing returns, until George's death in '79. Then they reunited in the late '80s, gradually repositioning themselves as elder statesmen of the jam-band circuit -- a wise move for a band whose studio albums haven't been relevant since 1975.