Farewell Little Feat's Paul Barrere

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Farewell Little Feat's Paul Barrere

paul barerre
Paul Barrere performs with Little Feat 1989. Photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns.

Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere, who passed away October 26 at the age of 71, was a key member of one of the most constantly overlooked yet keenly influential American bands of the 70s.  Although he wasn't there with Lowell George, Bill Payne, Roy Estrada and Ritchie Hayward when they formed Little Feat in 1969, Paul was on board by the time they hit their peak. His first album with the band was their third - 1972s absolute classic Dixie Chicken - and he remained with them until his passing. He also worked with the likes of Taj Mahal, Jack Bruce, Robert Palmer, Nicolette Larson and Carly Simon, and recorded three solo albums in the '80s and '90s. 

Little Feat were Americana before there was such a thing. They were a Californian rock band who were adept at country – check out the early classic "Willin'", which was subsequently covered by everyone from Linda Ronstadt to Tom Petty to Dwight Yoakam to Kasey Chambers, and a song so great that they recorded it for both their 1971 self-titled debut album and the follow-up Sailin' Shoes– as well as gritty blues, and a rambunctious form of New Orleans funk. The funk became more pronounced around the time that Barrere joined. The group became more polished and adventurous as they progressed through the '70s and the period where Barrere worked alongside main man Lowell George – Paul and Lowell were old friends who'd been to Hollywood High together - is generally considered the band's peak era.

It's worth noting here too that June 29 of this year marked the 40th Anniversary of Lowell George's passing. Lowell was just 34 when he died in 1979, putting an end to Little Feat until the surviving members reformed the band in 1987.

Let's have a look at Paul Barrere taking a rare lead vocal in his original Little Feat stint on his classic tune "Skin It Back", which originally appeared on Little Feat's fourth album Feats Don't Fail Me Now, then Paul again leading the later band through a version of the early classic "Willin'". After that a bunch of other fave Little Feat tracks from the '70s – including a number filmed in London, from the show that was sourced for the subsequent double live album Waiting For Columbus - with Lowell George up front and Paul by his side. Enjoy.

“Skin It Back”


“Rock’n’Roll Doctor” (Old Grey Whistle Test, 1975)  

“Fat Man In The Bathtub” (Rainbow Theatre, London, 1977) 

“Apolitical Blues” (Rainbow Theatre, London 1977, with Mick Taylor)

“Dixie Chicken” (Midnight Special 1977, with guests Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris & Jesse Winchester!) 

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