Happy Birthday: Lowell George

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Thursday, April 13, 2017
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Happy Birthday: Lowell George

Today we celebrate the birth of the man who fronted Little Feat from the beginning of their existence until just before his untimely death in 1979; Lowell Thomas George. In celebration of his life, we’ve got George’s lone solo album for your listening pleasure, but we’ve also pulled together a six-pack of tracks to which George contributed vocals.

1. Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, “Didja Get Any Onya?” – George didn’t just happen to pop up on this track: he was actually a full-fledged member of the Mothers of Invention. Indeed, he was playing with the band when he first met his soon-to-be bandmate Bill Payne, and there’s been a persistent rumor that George was fired from the Mothers after showing Zappa the song “Willin’” because Zappa thought George was too talented to be in Zappa’s band and needed to go form his own band. Then again, there’s also a rumor that Zappa fired George because “Willin’” features drug reference, so who’s to say for sure?

2. Kathy Dalton, “At The Tropicana” – It’s a little disingenuous to say that George is on this track when, in fact, Little Feat as a whole is on the track, but he is indeed on it.

3. John Sebastian, “Face of Appalachia” – Although it’s not an album that’s really known to Sebastian’s casual fans, since it was released prior to his most successful solo endeavor, WELCOME BACK, it’s certainly fair to describe TARZANA KID as interesting, given that it kicks off with a Jimmy Cliff track (“Sitting in Limbo”) and features not only this track, which Sebastian co-wrote with George, but also a cover of Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken.”

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4. James Taylor, “Angry Blues” – Taylor’s 1975 album GORILLA was a big hit for the singer-songwriter, thanks to the singles “Mexico” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You),” but it was also an album that featured a number of high-profile guest stars, including George, David Crosby, David Grisman, Graham Nash, Randy Newman, David Sanborn, and – perhaps inevitably – Carly Simon. This track wasn’t released as a single, but with George guesting on vocals, it’s definitely still one that’s worth hearing.

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5. Jackson Browne, “Your Bright Baby Blues” – The second song on his fourth studio album, this track wasn’t a single, but that didn’t stop it from becoming one of Browne’s most notable tracks: it subsequently appeared on his VERY BEST OF and was also re-recorded for the first volume of his SOLO ACOUSTIC series.

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6. John Hall, “Break of Day” – If you lived in New York’s 19th congressional district between 2007 and 2011, then you may only know John Hall as your congressman, but if that’s so, then you may be startled to learn what he did before pursuing a career in politics. As a session musician, he played with Janis Joplin, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, and Seals & Crofts, and he was also a founding member of the band Orleans. Hall also had a solo career, and although his biggest hit wouldn’t arrive until the ‘80s, his self-titled debut album hit record store shelves in 1978 and featured a guest appearance by – you knew it was coming – Lowell George.