Down below the Borderline- Little Feat [Saturday song of the week #1]

Onomatopoetry symmetry in motion
They heard about that girl clear across the ocean
To love her is a thrill, so tell me it’s for real
She’ll break away and leave you crying at some stop sign
Down below the borderline

Lowell George met Bill Payne when George was a member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. There are three legends about the genesis of Little Feat. One has it that George showed Zappa his song “Willin'”, and that Zappa fired him from the Mothers of Invention, because he felt that George was too talented to merely be a member of his band, and told him he ought to go away and form his own band. The second version has Zappa firing him for playing a 15 minute guitar solo—with his amplifier off. The third, least interesting, and probably correct version says that Zappa fired him because “Willin'” contains drug references.

Their music gradually slid from a simple southern rock sound to an eclectic mix of rock and roll, blues, R&B, boogie, country, folk, gospel, soul, funk and jazz fusion influences. The one thing that ties their early and later work together is a profound sense of style, and the occasional splash of lyrical brilliance.

A series of slightly incongruous modal changes in this song’s structure contributes to the somewhat unsettled atmosphere expressed in the lyrics. Other than that it’s just pretty funky and laid back, the guitar and keyboards playfully sit on top of the killer delayed backbeat.

SKIP TO 2:40

A side shot from south of the border
Was a hot spot for all the fools from here to the corner

Looking for a square deal
A fair deal
She don’t need a gun
She’s an ultimatum
She can turn on a dime
They’re just fine darlin’
You can drop me anywhere there
Down below the borderline
Down below the borderline
Down below the borderline

Holding out your hand she be acting so demanding
She don’t leave no stone for you to stand on
And if you think you might not be down here sometime
Down below the borderline

Onomatopoetry symmetry in motion
They heard about that girl clear across the ocean
To love her is a thrill, so tell me it’s for real
She’ll break away and leave you crying at some stop sign
Down below the borderline
Down below the borderline
Down below the borderline

Holding out your hand she be acting so demanding
She don’t leave no stone for you to stand on
And if you think you might not be down here sometime
Down below the borderline

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