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Little Feat Celebrate the 45th Anniversary of ‘Waiting for Columbus’ with New Version of “Fat Man In The Bathtub”

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Little Feat 2021: Sam Clayton, Scott Sharrard, Bill Payne, Tony Leone, Fred Tackett and Kenny Gradney (l-r): photo by Hank Randall

On March 4, 2022 Little Feat will kick off a tour that will celebrate of the 45th anniversary of their acclaimed live album Waiting for Columbus. Over the course of 21 dates the band will perform the album in its entirety at every show.

Waiting for Columbus was originally recorded during seven live nights in 1977 when the band brought a recording team to four shows in London and three in Washington D.C.

Little Feat’s current roster features Bill Payne (keyboard, vocals), Kenny Gradney (bass), Sam Clayton (percussion, vocals), Fred Tackett (guitar, vocals), Scott Sharrard (guitar, vocals) and Tony Leone (drums). 

In anticipation of the tour, Little Feat has recorded a new version of “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” which we are premiering today.

Bill Payne tells Relix, “The waters flow swiftly from the way back and beyond. Little Feat recorded ‘Fat Man In The Bathtub’ for Dixie Chicken in 1972, released by WB in 1973. This gem of a song, written and sung by Lowell George, is quintessential Little Feat: provocative lyrics and vocals—particularly from the evocative moans, accompanying a ganged-up-upon-groove with a pitbull’s grip. Hovering above it all, a signature da-da-da-da-da-da-da!da! lick, both punctuating and melodic—East LA mariachi horns blasting out of a lowrider’s car with twice pipes. A dangerous and fun ride.

“The ride continues in 2021. This version of ‘Fat Man’ was recorded remotely in 2020. I recorded the keyboard tracks from my home in Montana and sent them to our new drummer, Tony Leone, who lives in Brooklyn. We added to the tracks from there. Charles A. Martinez (Little Feat’s engineer) commanded proceedings also from the NY area, recording Tony in Harlem. I joined the session from my computer in Montana. My instructions to Tony were simple, “In my keyboard solo, I want to hear Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, and Richie Hayward!” He laughed and said, “No pressure!” He absolutely nailed it.

El baile de las guitarras (The dance of the guitars) features Fred Tackett, on the West Coast and new member Scott Sharrard, on the East Coast. The Midnight Ramble Horns delivered the goods, as they always do. Eric Lawrence’s bari carves brilliantly through the syncopation of horns and keyboards, culminating with a barrage of anguished cries. Steven Bernstein, on trumpet, whose arrangement skills adorn the tracks, and Jay Collins on sax, round out the horn section, hitting the da-da-da’s, and more. We turned to the talented and gifted Catherine Russell for background vocal arrangements, whose inner weavings took inspiration from the original but were elevated to another plateau with her firm imprint and the additional presence of Amy Helm joining the vocal conversation, leaving Spotcheck Billy gasping for air.

“Who is Spotcheck Billy? I thought for many years it could have been me. I never asked Lowell George so I’ll never really know. Kenny Gradney’s bass brought the song to its knees. Sam Clayton’s unique vocal skills, along with his bigger-than-life congas, were the perfect handshake for Catherine, Amy, and Tony. Kenny and Sam came into the band in 1972 from Delaney & Bonnie. Little Feat has been their home ever since, and they shine as they always have, along with everyone else in the band, with conviction, spontaneity and a feel that cannot be touched. The waters are in full flow, once again.”

The Waiting For Columbus tour dates appear below the song.

Little Feat will return to the stage on January 20 at the Charleston Music Hall in Charleston, SC as part of the group’s By Request Tour. Then from January 30 through February 5 the band will host Feat Camp 2022 in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, with the full tour itinerary at the Little Feat website.

Little Feat Waiting for Columbus Spring Tour

March 4 – Columbus, Ohio – The Southern Theatre*

March 5 – Kalamazoo, Mich. – Kalamazoo State Theatre*

March 7 – Milwaukee, Wis. – The Pabst Theatre*

March 8 – Des Moines, Iowa – Hoyt Sherman Place*

March 10 – Chicago, Ill. – The Chicago Theatre*

March 11 – Chesterfield, Mo. – The Factory at the District*

March 13 – Nashville, Ind. – Brown Country Music Center*

March 14 – Cincinnati, Ohio – Taft Theatre*

March 16 – Nashville, Tenn. – Ryman Auditorium*

March 17 – Nashville, Tenn. – Ryman Auditorium#

March 19 – Knoxville, Tenn. – Tennessee Theatre#

March 20 – Birmingham, Ala. – Alabama Theatre#

March 22 – Atlanta, Ga. – Atlanta Symphony Hall#

March 23 – Mobile, Ala. – Mobile Saenger Theatre#

March 25 – New Orleans, La. – Saenger Theatre#

March 26 – Houston, Texas – 713 Music Hall#

March 27 – Dallas, Texas – Majestic Theatre#

April 9 – Akron, Ohio – Akron Civic Theatre>

April 10 – Rochester, N.Y. – Kodak Center>

April 19 – Richmond, Va. – Dominion Energy Center#

April 20 – Virginia Beach, Va. – Sandler Center for the Performing Arts#

April 21 – Durham, N.C. – Carolina Theatre of Durham#

*Ida Mae is support

#Amy Helm is support

>Raye Zaragoza is support

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