I had a conversation with a friend over the weekend about the Little Feat singer and slide guitarist Lowell George, who died thirty years ago at the age of 34. Some (yes: me included) think that Little Feat were never as interesting or innovative afterwards.
The night he died I was working an night shift (as a young trainee) in the BBC Radio newsroom writing the overnight bulletins for Radio 1 and 2; the ‘copy taster‘ – also a fan of Little Feat – gave me the story and I went to the Night News Editor and told him I thought it was a story for R1/R2 bulletin. He looked at the wire copy and said, ‘who’s he, never heard of him’, which taught me something about never assuming that your audience is the same as you.
Later, in Sean O’Brien’s first poetry collection, The Indoor Park, I found this elegy. For a short while I had this off by heart. And since The Indoor Park is now out of print, I trust that he won’t mind my re-printing the poem here.
For Lowell George
What fills the heart is felt to make amends,
Until the flooded heart can no more choose
Release than never sing its staggered blues.
I wish you had not found such special friends.
At thirty-four, at three a.m., in bed,
Of overweight, helped on by dope and booze,
Before your talent bored you you were dead.
The illustration above comes from yu-shio’s rock and roll illustration site, Everyday Rock, in Japan (and in Japanese). Thanks to thumbrella for the pointer. The illustration below is of a ticket for Lowell George’s last concert.