Friday, 21 June 2013

T-Shirt Friday 16 !

What Size Are Your Feats?
A line from the first Ghostbusters film, might have been an easier question as all the dialogue in that film is easily quotable, the second film is just as memorable but perhaps lesser known, did you get it though? The answer is: Jell-o! and it's very true... there is indeed always room for Jell-o! It seems really, that there is only one way that you could go on and celebrate after that revelation... Jelly (or Jell-o) and ice cream? or perhaps dream topping...

Today's T-Shirt is available directly from: 

One mans Jelly is another mans Jell-o... At least it is if you happen to be living in the U.S. take a moment and imagine that towering high above you is a giant orange tinged Jell-o mountain... slightly translucent, filled with all sorts of tinned fruit and topped with a snow cap of 'Dream Topping' (or in keeping with the American theme 'Dream whip' ) not so hard to do is it? - Especially when you think about the novelty and programmatic architecture of the diners and motels out there in California it's the kind of vision that really might be there somewhere on the mysterious desert or perhaps 'dessert' landscape. In fact on an amazing holiday with great friends out to Las Vegas, many years ago now, the Jell-o image of which I speak was so firmly planted in my brain that on a trip to the Grand Canyon I'd almost convinced myself that we would see a vast technicolour multi-flavoured Jell-o mould version of the Canyon's, much to my disappointment we viewed a vast amazing non Jell-o, 'rock flavoured' bunch of incredible boulders instead!
In this instance the Jell-o mountain is representing something else though, in a way just as famous but more of an establishment... the Letters 'H.O.L.L.Y.W.O.O.D' are illustrated across it's wobbly surface, Hollywood was the birthplace of Lowell George and the previous description is of the album cover for his Band 'Little Feat's' fifth Album the slightly confusingly titled 1975 'The Last Record Album', Neon Park, the now legendary illustrator and sleeve designer who had designed the cover for Frank Zappa's 'Weaseals Ripped My Flesh' to name just one, gave Little Feat and the world the striking Jell-o mountain cover for 'The Last Record Album', it contains the beautiful Lowell George song 'Long Distance Love' which also happens to be on the 'Little Feat' best of album 'As Time Goes By' which was the first 'Little Feat' album that I came into contact with... I then purchased 
'The Last Record Album, which will always hold a special place, as it is the first Little Feat studio album that I owned...

We found ourselves at the O2 Indigo, my good friend Dave and myself that is... It was August 18th 2010 and we settled ourselves in for a night of music, although we weren't really sure what to expect... After 1979 and Lowell George's untimely death, Little Feat had ceased to be a band until they re-formed in 1987, (although members of the band had played together in 1981 etc) in a way we were living in nostalgia land... The first footage I'd ever seen of 'Little Feat' was the (now famous) appearance that they made on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975, the episode was re-shown on BBC4 and I'd stayed up especially to watch it and listen to Bob Harris whisper about them... I was then lucky enough to work on the Live At Rockpalast DVD for Eagle Rock Entertainment Ltd. 
Each supping away at our 'traditional' gig beers, the house lights went down... we moved forward in anticipation, so that we could get a better view over the balcony that we were inhabiting, the band came on stage to a massive applause, then a silence as the guitars were strapped on and bang the first piano notes of Paul Barrere and Craig Fuller's 'Hate To Loose Your Lovin' from the first 1988 Little Feat album without Lowell, filled the air...

Neon Park named his artwork ' Waiting For Columbus' straight after he had designed and painted it, it's another in a long line of brilliant covers that he created which adorn Little Feat's albums, in this case though the character of the ("Lana Turner") 'Hot' Tomato that is waiting to be found by Columbus, has transcended beyond the classic album cover, to have a life of her own... Little Feat even went on to name their own record label 'Hot Tomato Records' and She can be seen sitting at the top of there official website, Neon Park's 'Hot' Tomato lady image has become ingrained like spilt ketchup on Little Feat's mythological carpet.
'Waiting For Columbus' was the first live album that 'Little Feat' released, it collects many fantastic shows that were played throughout a couple of months in 1977, including the now legendary, Rainbow Theatre gigs in London (August 1st to 4th) were you there? It is considered to be one of the greatest ever live albums, and contains extended versions of many of there greatest songs, (with added horn sections by The Tower Of Power), the album also includes versions of 'All That You Dream' and 'Mercenary Territory' from 'The Last Record Album'.

We had a couple of 'tradtional' gig beers that night... As Little Feat played through there incredible repertoire of songs. Any doubts we may have had were completely unfounded... they were on fire! with superb versions of 'Spanish Moon' and 'Dixie Chicken'  they weaved in and out of songs creating amazing jams of tracks like 'Fat Man In The bath Tub' segueing into Bob Marley's 'Get Up Stand Up' then pulling back out of that groove and back into 'Fat Man In The Bath Tub's' coda again. The dream whip on the top of the Hollywood jell-o though was an amazing version of Lowell's 'Willin'' that had a section of 'Don't Bogart That Joint' in the middle which some how then magically returned back into the final verse of 'Willin'' without there even being a noticeable change, all done acoustically, pure brilliant musicianship! Half way through I'd said to Dave that I would have to get a t-shirt as a marker of the great night that we were having. 
There was almost an emptiness as the band left the stage... it felt to us like they could have played for another 2 hours and they still wouldn't have got through all the legendary songs that they 'could' have played... All the way through the gig, in the back of my mind I'd been thinking about which t-shirt I'd like, we had seen people wearing a very nice blue version with the Neon Park cover for the 1988 'Let it Roll' album but in the end it was actually Dave that picked out the t-shirt that I finally got, the logo on the front of it caught our eye, but it was only after I bought it and we turned it over that the t-shirt revealed it's full wonder, as you can see below, it has the classic Neon Park 'Hot' Tomato lady on the back!

...That's the thing about tees from gigs, they hold all the great memories, the wonder of seeing the band and being with great friends, within their very fabric - every time I put the t-shirt on... I'm transported back in time to that night... It's 'A Long Distance Love'...

Well here we are again... it's time for the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! Which is: what was the name of the 1979 Beach Boys album that Neon Park designed the cover for?

More on Little Feat? - Do have a look at T-Shirt Friday 4!
Mark Brend's book : 'Rock and Roll Doctor' is excellent! :
More on Little Feat?:
More on Neon Park?:
More on Little Feat's legendary London Rainbow gig?:

The Old Grey Whistle Test footage:

P.S. Another time I'll recount to you story of the 'elusive' 'Waiting For Columbus' tee... but that's another T-Shirt Friday story....