Monday, September 21, 2015

IT TAKES A VILLAGE... least a little one!

One of the musical highlights of the 1980s was John Hiatt's Bring The Family, the '87 album which introduced the veteran minstrel to a new generation of fans. 

Stuffed with amazing compositions, it featured a stunning lineup; Hiatt of course doing most of the singing and strumming a sad acoustic, the mighty Ry Cooder handling electric guitar and a little sitar on one number, Nick Lowe on his signature bass (the token Brit in mix) and a man who has banged the drums for everyone from Bob Dylan to Manhattan Transfer, the wholly underrated Jim Keltner. 

The "super-group" Little Village reunited the all-star lineup under a new name and the result was the excellent eponymous debut. 

The magic between these guys was undeniably incendiary, grooving their way through 11 upbeat songs. Unfortunately, there were no subsequent albums of this super-group, but that makes the album Little Village even more unique.

The individual members easily clicked; the album’s classic guitar rock sound and catchy songs does not sound dated almost a quarter of a century later. Each member was already very much a star in his own right, so the album was truly a collective effort. 

In the album's wake the Villagers hit the road; veterans to a man of the live circuit, the shows were a magnificent spectacle. 

When the tour bus pulled up in San Fran and the fancy gear was unloaded into the Fox Warfield Theatre, the whole affair was broadcast across the greater Frisco area by local FM radio.

This week, the Vault faithful get a two-fer, the original classic album and the live show (which was recently released for public consumption).

The lyrics that got me on this one?

I was driving in the wee hours of the morning, pulling an all-nighter, and had this album in the player. Having just gone through a break-up, and being half-asleep at the wheel, these lyrics really struck home and the guitar work really captures (sets?) the mood!

Here's a live version....

And here's another song from the album....

If you have the key-off to the Vault wit' ya!


  1. Wow, that's quite the group! I like this, might be looking at a Martin Ten candidate here...

  2. Yeah-it was a great album, CW-always mystified me why it stayed under the radar, although it was well after Nick Lowe's moment in the sun, and Hiatt and Cooder were never really household names.

  3. Somewhere I still have the Little Village album on cassette along with several John Hiatt cassettes. I went through a John Hiatt craze phase for a while in the 80's. I haven't heard any of this stuff in years and years.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Lee- Hiatt is pretty consistent with his output-always good. I love the LV album-forget how close it came to being a desert island disc for me, but the first song above is in my top 100 song list.

  4. Took me an extra day to get through it, what with being a two-fer. Great sound, recorded or live. I can't believe that they only lasted one album and one tour. Says via Wackypedia (so could be wrong) that they disbanded after the album failed to live up to projected success. Sad. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

    1. I guess that's fairly accurate-Cooder, Hiatt and Lowe resumed their respective solo careers (all have released albums regularly for the past couple of decades), and Keltner went back to manning the drum kit for others (Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Mayer, Crosby Stills & Nash, to name a few).