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nieuwe versie Little Feat’s ‘Long distance love’

september 21st, 2020 at 10:38

Sinds een paar dagen staat op YouTube een nieuwe versie van de Little Feat-klassieker ‘Long distance love’.


Die hebben Kenney Gradney, Sam Clayton, Bill Payne en Fred Tackett opgenomen met gitarist Scott Sharrard, die ook al Paul Barrere verving tijdens twee optredens on oktober, drummer Tony Leone en achtergrondzangeres Amy Helm.

Qua sfeer benadert die het origineel heel aardig, al kan niemand zo zingen als Lowell George kon.

Bill Payne schrijft in een toelichting dat het nummer de perfecte metafoor is voor de tijd waarin get coronavirus alles anders maakt, maar het grote nieuws zit hem erin, dat Little Feat weer muziek maakt en dat hey experiment doorgaat. Woorden van die strekking sluiten ook het filmpje af: ‘The Little Feat legacy continues. Join us fort he ongoing journey.’

Geen woord in dat lange stuk overigens over Gabe Ford, de drummer die Richie Hayward na diens door verving, al zou een antwoord op die vraag veel eenvoudiger te geven zijn dan op die vraag of het wel zo’n goed idee is om de groep nieuw leven in te blazen nu met Paul Barrere al het derde bepalende lid is weggevallen:

Lowell George’s ‘Long Distance Love’ is the perfect metaphor for the times. And while we have been separated from each other, it is much more than that. It is about the passage of time, the ones we’ve loved, lost, and keep in our hearts. Hope and hurt are intertwined with the complexity of life and relationships, both past and present. The question for me some months ago was how to bring this all together in both a musical and visual context. Could we create and present something that upheld the values and standards we have always tried to adhere to? Our project had the chance to succeed if we could build a cohesive team. Here?s how that took place.

Scott Sharrard sings lead and plays slide and acoustic guitar on ‘Long Distance Love’. Scott was with us for the last two shows in October when word of Paul Barrere’s passing reached us. He was respectful and magnificent in how he handled himself on stage with us. I owe a lot to Scott for his involvement in 2020. Much of the building of the team happened because of whom he introduced me to, starting with Charles A. Martinez, his good friend and engineer. Charlie works with Donald Fagen and Steely Dan. That said volumes to me. I place him at the top of anyone Little Feat has ever worked with. He knows our history. He is brilliant and undeterred in manufacturing sounds in whatever fashion made available to him. There is areason I named him co-producer on this project.

Scott Sharrard also introduced me to the director Scott Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum is a wonderful storyteller. His credits include, but are no limited to, the documentary, Sidemen: The Road to Glory , a simply amazing work based on Hubert Sumlin, guitarist with Howlin? Wolf, drummer Willie Green and blues pianist Pinetop Perkins, who played with Muddy Waters. Please search out this blues documentary.

I leaned heavily on Rosenbaum to help guide the process. I will fully admit to being uncomfortable with people on the film/video side of things, having been burned a few times in the past. Most don’t listen well, but he listened and his input was invaluable. I had the pleasure of introducing him to two old hands and dearest of friends: Dick and Linda Bangham. They handled the graphics in the video. Like the rest of the process, there was an overlap of ideas and suggestions.

In this elastic world of Covid-19, everything took time and patience. Lining up how everyone in the band would or could record was top of an ever growing, head-scratching list of things to be reckoned with. No one recorded at the same time. I set up a sequence in which I was the first to record my part. The line then moved to: drums, Fred Tackett on guitar, Kenny Gradney on bass, Scott, Sam Clayton on congas. The where was left up to everyone to sort out. Fred and Sam recorded at their homes, Kenny went to Paul Brown’s studio, Scott Sharrard found a basement to record in, I believe. Each recording was an important piece to the puzzle. The puzzle was extended by two other rather important people, though: Tony Leone on drums, and our dear friend Amy Helm.

Little Feat’s family has a new face, in addition to Scott Sharrard. Tony’s task was to bring Richie Hayward’s delicate part (yes, it is surreal to mention Richie and delicate in the same sentence!) and expand upon it to make it his own. Tony has been studying Richie since he was twelve. He’s fifty-one. Studying someone, particularly the likes of Richie Hayward, doesn’t mean that much unless you have the chops to complete the handshake. Tony did exactly that.

Amy performed her vocal outdoors next to her home with the accompaniment of birds. It was incredible and overwhelmingly beautiful. She and Scott created an undeniable magic.

Cameron Sears has managed this band for many years now. I thank him as a friend and a partner. Cameron’s considerable help in launching this project, not only as a manager but as the head of the Rex Foundation, made the right call to Highlight attention to the Roadie’s Fund. Cameron brought in Tory Pittarelli and Hillary Gleason. They have their own company, Level, that has worked with Cameron and Rex on a host of projects. They are wizards of digital marketing and strategies. And Chris Cafiero (Little Feat website and outreach) and Stevie Combs (Social Networking /Facebook) round out our team. My editor and friend Gary Bays rounds out my personal team. The pandemic has decimated our industry. Those that do so much for bands day in and day out are no longer working and need our help. We are proud to do so. We ask that you give what you can.

The creation of the video and music performance is, not surprisingly, a circuitous, sprawling, Dickensian tale. Look for a longer version to follow, suitable to the vastness of events, details, and people that brought this project to life.

Little Feat is back making music again. The experiment continues. Little Feat remains true to our music that represents our legacy along with writing and performing new songs. We extend our appreciation to all of you in this continued journey. Please stay safe. We’ll meet again as soon as we possibly can.


Bill Payne

September 2020

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