26713-4 Little Village
Produced by Little Village
Released on February 18, 1992
UK CHART POSITION #23 . . . US CHART POSITION #66
Find it at GEMM
26713-4 cover  

I cons incognito was all the rage in the late Eighties: Traveling Wilburys, Notting Hillbillies. Okay, maybe not so much a rage, but when John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner decided to re-form as Little Village, the idea wasn’t so shocking. In fact, the four had played together on Hiatt’s Bring the Family, by all accounts an excellent album. Not by my account, since I haven’t heard it. In fact, I don’t know the first thing about Hiatt. See his name all the time, usually alongside glowing praise, but there are only so many lumens in the day and for me he waits in the shadows. Twas Lowe what brought me here, and the single “She Runs Hots,” which I always liked. Far from a bunch of cuddly scruffs (I was thinking Rockpile from the get-go), Little Village is a group of grumpy old men. They came here not to charm us but to challenge us. Where the Wilburys warned us to handle them with care, Hiatt sings “Momma I’m hot to handle / Gonna turn you up, gonna burn you up with my solar sex panel.” It’s clear from the outset that Little Village is playing for keeps. However, the playing often suggests four creative people in a cranky mood. “Take Another Look,” sung by Lowe, grows on me with each listen, but it’s a difficult track. Jim Keltner, who laid down the backbeat as a Wilbury, lights up Little Village with unpredictable rhythms. The guitar solos from Cooder and Hiatt are hardly by the books either. Whether they were pushing each other to perform better or simply pushing each other’s buttons, the chemistry on Little Village is slightly toxic. It’s still a very interesting record, by no means a coasters reunion, and “She Runs Hot” is just brilliant, but the group never came up with another song that combined their talents so succinctly. I suspect a lot of this reads like a Hiatt record (he takes the lion’s share of the lead vocals), and I’m intrigued enough to shine a light in those shadows for a closer look. Lowe fans will wish he had a larger role, so save your money for the genuine article.

26713-4 lyric sleeve
26713-4 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. SOLAR SEX PANEL
  2. THE ACTION
  3. INSIDE JOB
  4. BIG LOVE
  5. TAKE ANOTHER LOOK
  6. DO YOU WANT MY JOB
  7. DON'T GO AWAY MAD
  8. FOOL WHO KNOWS
  9. SHE RUNS HOT
  10. DON'T THINK ABOUT HER WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO DRIVE
  11. DON'T BUG ME WHEN I'M WORKING

    All compositions by Ry Cooder/John Hiatt/Jim Keltner/Nick Lowe

CREDITS

RY COODER -- guitars, mandolin, vocals
JOHN HIATT -- guitars, vocals, electric piano
JIM KELTNER -- drums, percussion, guitar compost
NICK LOWE -- bass, vocals
Sonny Boy Williamson -- preacher (11)
Allen Sides -- engineer, mixing
Lenny Waronker -- engineer, mixing, executive producer
Gail Peirson -- production assistant
Tom Recchion and Tony Berlant -- art directors
Charles Imsteph -- cover photograph
Jeffrey Newbury -- band photograph
Susan Titelman -- incidental photography
Larry Allbright Studios -- neon sign

return to LITTLE VILLAGE discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/GER February 18, 1992 Reprise LP/CD/CS 26713 lyric sleeve
UK February 1992 Reprise LP WX-462  
CAN 1992 Reprise CD CD-26713  

 

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