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"Candyman Blues" by Little Feat
Little Feat has always sampled a wide-ranging and variable musical menu to prepare their feasts. After all, how did a bunch of guys from Southern California come to sound like they’d been born and raised in Bayou Teche or somewhere else within earshot of Jackson Square, New Orleans? Biiiiig ears – which is to say, lots of influences. But then a band that is born half-way between Frank Zappa and the world’s best country truck-driving song is clearly going to cover lots of ground.
Nothing’s changed in this, their 16th studio album. There’s covers of Mississippi John Hurt and Little Walter, and Paul Barrere and Bill Payne collaborated with Stephen Bruton and the Grateful Dead’s Robert Hunter, which adds some new lyrical flavors to the gumbo, but it all comes out sounding undeniably and happily like Feat. Paul reflected, “I’m really pleased with how it came out. Gabriel Ford steps up large – this is his first studio effort. What everybody added to everybody else’s songs is really remarkable. It was truly a collaboration and it shows – it’s a good old Little Feat album.”
It kicks off with Mississippi John Hurt’s “Candyman Blues.” “We started throwing in a partial version of it at the end of “Down on the Farm” a couple of years ago,” said Paul. “I’d been listening to Mississippi John Hurt since I was 13 – in fact, he’s a major part of why I learned to play slide. I found this Arhoolie records album of his and that led me to his story, how he was only discovered in his sixties. He’s like the archetype of the happy blues singer, you know, he was just a sweet, happy guy.”
“And of course the lyrics are just wonderfully filthy, and that being one of my own sensibilities, it just fit right in. When we began recording, we were thinking about doing a blues album, so I thought of this, and even though the album’s concept evolved, the song was definitely a keeper.” It keeps the spirit, but musically it’s a lot more Feat than Hurt, a high-twisting New Orleans march with sizzling rock and roll guitar and lots of funk.