Time Loves a Hero would be a return to form after their previous uneven release, The Last Record Album. Paul Barrere and Bill Payne would officially become the chief songwriters of the band as Lowell George's contributions would be limited to just two songs, one of which was co-written with Barrere.
Their most eclectic album, Time Loves a Hero boasted a stronger track list as well as a confidence that was sorely lacking on The Last Record Album.
"Hi Roller", is next to the title track from Dixie Chicken, their best opening track. Lowell George's vocals show more conviction than anything on The Last Record Album while Kenny Gradney, Sam Clayton, and Richard Hayward lay down a sick groove.
The Tower of Power horn section would make their first appearance on this track and would later play a pivotal role on their excellent live album, Waiting for Columbus. The title track, a staple of their live shows to this day, is one of their catchiest tracks, and features a great sing along chorus and a cool island feel ala Jimmy Buffett during the solo.
George's "Rocket in My Pocket" is also very good, featuring some more of his distinctive slide work.
"Day at the Dog Races" is not only one of Little Feat's best tracks but also one of the best documents of the fusion genre. Bill Payne and Richard Hayward are incredible on this track while Paul Barrere's slow burning solo is one of his best. At over 6 minutes, the track stays exciting throughout and never becomes indulgent.
"Old Folks Boogie" is another great Barrere tune and its wordplay reminds you of something that George would have written during the Dixie Chicken era. After these tracks, the album slips a bit. The decent "Red Streamliner", with both its arrangement and guest vocals from Michael McDonald and Patrick Simmons, sounds way too much like the Doobie Brothers.
"Keepin' up With the Joneses", with its cool sax solo, and the pretty acoustic ballad "Missin' You" are solid but not spectacular. "New Delhi Freight Train" is the only track that's not up to par.
A step up from The Last Record Album, Time Loves a Hero would be the band's last good studio album before George's untimely death in 1979.
Definitely worth checking out for the first five tracks, especially "Day at the Dog Races."
1. Hi Roller
2. Time Loves A Hero
3. Rocket In My Pocket
4. Day At The Dog Races
5. Old Folks Boogie
6. Red Steamliner
7. New Delhi Freight Train
8. Keepin' Up With The Joneses
9. Missin' You
This is from my "original" 1990 Audio CD, not one of the newer re-masters.