Last week’s stars of AUK’s Chain Gang were Southend’s finest, The Kursall Flyers. Former members of the aforementioned band, Paul Shuttleworth & Vic Collins are now part of The Ugly Guys, whose album ‘Senior Moments’ features a cover of Little Feat’s,‘ Willin”. The story of Little Feat takes us back to 1968 when lead singer and guitarist, Lowell George joined Frank Zappa’s, Mothers of Invention.
After hearing George’s composition, ‘Willin” Zappa encouraged him to form his own band which he launched in 1969. With its genre-bending mixture of swamp rock, blues, country, funk and soul, Little Feat were nothing if not eclectic. ‘Willin” which tells the tale of a freewheeling truck driver was first recorded on Little Feat’s debut eponymous album which featured, Ry Cooder on slide guitar. It was later to re-emerge on the album, ‘Sailin’ Shoes’.
George was also a prolific session musician playing with the likes of James Taylor and JD Souther; the rumour that he played saxophone for Frank Sinatra remains an unsubstantiated one. The references to alcohol, weed and pills in, ‘Willin” may have been less than helpful to its commercial success but it remains a classic of this unique band’s oeuvre: