Before the late Lowell George vowed to be your "Tennessee lamb" with Little Feat and before he recorded with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, he fronted a band called the Factory. For all those who yearn for the complete George collection, here's another integral record for your enjoyment.
The disc follows George's musical budding from '66 to the earliest incarnation of Little Feat in '69. The disc opens with Lowell paying tribute to one of his idols, Howlin' Wolf. The respect is obvious on "Lightning Rod Man," the song, with Lowell vocally and lyrically hinting at the many colorful songs that would later show up Little Feat records.
Many of the other songs from the Factory show how he was caught up in the spirit of the times, particularly the mid-'60s Southern California vocal harmonies idealized by the Byrds and the mid-'60s Southern California garage rock idealized by the Seeds ("Pushing Too Hard").
The first hint at George's fondness for New Orleans rhythms shows up in "Smile, Let Your Life Begin," featuring both Little Feat's Richie Hayward and session giant Earl Palmer on drums.
Zappa is on a few cuts and cosmic percussionist Emil Richards lends other exotic flavors on others. The lead guitar parts in the Factory were handled by Warren Klein, not Lowell.
The gem of the release is an expanded version of "Teenage Nervous Breakdown," a song which appears in various forms on Little Feat records. The version here is quite similar to the slow version found on "Hoy Hoy" but with more verses.
This disc, produced by Factory bassist and long-time George co-writer Martin Kibbee, fills a gap in the recording history of a man who continues to influence countless musicians. Although no cuts will ever become radio hits, it is a must for any serious Little Feat fan.
You can find Lightning Rod Man at: