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Published: 2014/11/25
by Larson Sutton

Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett Acoustic Duo, McCabe’s Guitar Shop Santa Monica, CA- 11/21

For artist and audience, an appearance at McCabe’s Guitar Shop is tantamount to a merit badge. Twelve years separated visits from the acoustic duo of Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett, guitarists for the famed Little Feat, at the intimate, in-house performance space that routinely hosts legends of the stringed instrument. Before a sold-out crowd, including three generations of Tackett, the pair reminisced through story and song in a night of fan favorites, rare tracks, and tributes.

“Those stairs were easier twelve years ago,” joked Barrere as the two ambled down from above onto the cozy stage and said hello to its gathering seated in the showroom surrounded floor to ceiling by all things guitar on the aged walls of wood. No place for hacks and hopefuls, there is a premise, promise even, of an unvarnished, up-close concert experience featuring masters of the craft at the over five-decade-old Santa Monica retailer and repair shop, one that Barrere and Tackett’s well-honed approach played to effortlessly. Reaffirming opener “Ain’t Had Enough Fun,” romped, then into Tackett’s first vocal foray on the implied funk of “Honest Man,” and a spirited welcome to his tiny grandchildren in the front row. Switching to a mandolin Tackett said he purchased many years ago after plucking it off of McCabe’s wall, his glistening strums decorated Feat staples “Rocket in my Pocket,” a newly-arranged “Rock and Roll Doctor,” and Barrere’s favorite, “Sailin’ Shoes.”

A hushed “Church Falling Down” preceded Barrere’s droll explanation of “Clownin’,” an album track from one of the band’s ‘lost’ records, 1991’s Shake Me Up, motivated by Tackett’s son Miles, also in attendance. Followed by another expository, as Barrere told of presenting a song to the late Lowell George, to which the Feat founder unequivocally and immediately offered his distaste, the duo delivered to resounding applause an extended “All That You Dream.” George’s classic countrified ode to truck drivers, “Willin’,” segued into tributes to the late Levon Helm, “Long Black Veil” and “The Weight,” but not before “Don’t Bogart That Joint” prompted an audience sing-along and plug for the band’s upcoming annual jaunt to Jamaica. “Fat Man In The Bathtub,” and “Fool Yourself,” a pair from the Dixie Chicken album, its recording session 42 years ago marking the first meeting of the two troubadours, gave way to “Down On The Farm/Candyman,” and the proper show’s end. Eschewing an exit from the stage prior to an encore, the duo instead absorbed a standing ovation before a final “Feets Don’t Fail Me Now,” and the Grateful Dead traditional “And We Bid You Goodnight.”

Lately, Little Feat has been more a memory than the working band perennially on tour it had been for over 40 years, Barrere’s ongoing battle with Hep C certainly a factor limiting the group’s mobility. Provided the rare opportunity to perform on the group’s Southern California homeground, an inspired Barrere and Tackett recalled and updated those revered moments of yesteryear with an evening energized and engaging. The duo of Paul and Fred once again has renewed the magic.

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