Music/Lyrics: Bill Payne
Vocals: Page (lead), Trey, Mike, (backing)
Original Artist: Little Feat
Original Album: Feats Don't Fail Me Now (1974)
Before it sold its soul at the altar of high fructose corn syrup, 24-hour news and Olympic dreams, the City of Atlanta was a much different place than the population cluster it resembles today. When Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne penned “Oh Atlanta,” the city was much smaller and more steeped in its roots as the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gone With the Wind, and The Varsity. Not to mention quite possibly the best concert venue in the country in the Fox Theatre. Of course, none of this has anything to do with why the narrator in this ode to the capital of the South wanted to be dropped off on Peachtree. No, that reason is far more universal… he just wants to get laid.
Little Feat, ”Oh Atlanta” – 9/19/74, WLIR in-studio performance
“Oh Atlanta” first appeared on Little Feat’s 1974 album Feats Don’t Fail Me Now. The studio version is a nice enough tune, but seems a little flat compared to the version from the 1978 live album Waiting for Columbus. Both versions feature plenty of bright keyboard fills from Payne and the slide guitar of Lowell George. There are also some minor lyrical differences between the studio track and the live version.
Phish, of course, covered Waiting for Columbus as their musical costume on 10/31/10, complete with the lyrical variations, but sadly absent the slide guitar. As one of the tamer tracks on Waiting for Columbus, it seems unlikely that “Oh Atlanta” will remain in the rotation. That said, all bets are off next time the band plays the 404.
Phish, ”Oh Atlanta” – 10/31/10, Atlantic City, NJ