Not quite a greatest hits album, not quite a tribute album, Little Feat’s Join the Band falls somewhere in between, and like most greatest hits or tribute albums. it is a hit or miss affair.
Born out of a conversation between Feat keyboardist Billy Payne and Jimmy Buffett, in which Buffet offered Little Feat the chance to fly to Key West to record in his studio, the invitation blossomed into an all-star guest laden project that Little Feat had been discussing for years.
The album is comprised of a mix of classic Little Feat tunes and the occasional odd cover. The covers, including versions of “The Weight” and “The Land is Your Land,” while at times interesting, amount to mostly filler. The classic Feat tracks, while great, have been played and replayed countless times and only truly take flight when the guests that populate the album stand up and take charge.
Join the Band is at its best on Dave Matthews’ lecherous take on “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” Chris Robinson’s turn on “Oh Atlanta,” and the stand-out reinvention of “Sailin’ Shoes” by Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, and Emmy Lou Harris. Unfortunately these moments do not come often enough to support what, in theory, was a very cool idea. Join the band? Not this time.
Join the Band is out now on 429 Records