Lyrically Speaking: Little Feat's Trouble
Little Feat is one of those bands that, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough credit. Sure, they may not have really broken new ground, but they were solid — both lyrically and in band musicianship. They sort of fit very comfortably between Allman-esque Southern rock, New Orleans boogie, funk, jazz and Grateful Dead-like jam band. Many of today’s jam bands take stock in different musical influences the way Feat did.
Lowell George, his life cut way too short, was a great lyricist and musician. His songs — “Dixie Chicken,” “Willin’,” “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” etc. — are classics. The band of George, Bill Payne, Paul Barerre, Fred Tackett, Kenny Gradney, Richie Hayward, and Sam Clayton were a juggernaut of sound and counted Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, and Bonnie Raitt as FOB (friends of the band).
The song “Trouble,” from 1972’s “Sailin’ Shoes,” may not be their most famous, but is truly my favorite. It’s certainly one of their most quiet tunes, sparse. It clocks in at a mere 2 minutes and 19 seconds. But the lyrics offer up a guy who is totally overstressed and a reminder to just remain calm, take it easy and everything will be all right. I love this line, it calms me: “Well I’ll write a letter, and I’ll send it away/And put all the trouble in it you had today.”
Inara George, Lowell’s daughter, covered the tune on a 2008 Little Feat tribute album called “Join the Band.” I read an interview somewhere that though Lowell George died when she was only 5, her mother used to sing her this song at bedtime. Totally cool.
Trouble by Little Feat You yelled hey when your car wouldn’t start So you got real nervous and started to eat your heart out Now you’re so fat your shoes don’t fit on your feat You got trouble And it’s tailor made Well mama lay your head down in the shade
‘Cause your eyes are tired, and your feat are too And you wish the world was as tired as you, whoa Well I’ll write a letter, and I’ll send it away And put all the trouble in it you had today
Oh your telephone ring and you went “oh ho” You forgot about this, and you forgot about that ‘Cause you got to get back to what you doing Goodbye, click that, so and so You’re an island and on your own
You yelled hey when the stove blew up Upset? why yes And the footprints on your ceiling, they’re almost gone And you’re wondering why? Well mama lay your head down, don’t you cry