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FOGHAT Reissues Edsel (2012)


WOW - a reissue campaign by my favourite band, now this is a good weekend.

Foghat are a British blues rock band formed in 1971 by 3 former members of Savoy Brown (singer/guitarist Lonesome Dave Peverett, drummer Roger Earl and bassist Tony Stevens) with former Black Cat Bones guitarist Rod Price, and the eponymous debut appeared on Bearsville in 1972,

Produced by Dave Edmunds, it is a wonderful mix of earthy rhythm 'n' blues, blues and blistering rock'n'roll. Opening with the classic 'I Just Want To Make Love To You', a radio hit and live staple, a track many will recognise.

'Trouble Trouble' is an earthy ode to Alcohol and 'Leaving Again' features some neat slide guitar. There's also some good boogie in 'Fool's Hall Of Fame', the production mating the ‘down the phoneline' edge to the vocals, and 'Highway Killing Me' is typical of the dirty feel to it all.

Another standout is the cover of 'Maybelline', featuring Colin Earl on piano.

The second eponymous album, known as Rock And Roll because of the stone and bread roll on the cover, kept the earthy rhythm'n'blues feel but with more rounded and solid production. Plenty of harmonies and searing guitar in the catchy opener 'Ride, Ride, Ride'. 'Feel So Bad' takes the mood down and 'Long Way To Go' brings it back up in great fashion. The acoustic moments mix with the range of tone and mood well, and 'What A Shame' is such a cracking number it should have been a huge hit. *****

1974's Energised was the band's first gold album, and a more blues rock album, with the opener a cover of 'Honey Hush' being quite rawkus. 'Golden Arrow' and 'Home In My Hand' typify the move into stadium rock, with Peverett's blues guitar complementing Price's blues/rock/slide.

Melody, boogie, chunky riffs, harmonies, they're all here. Side two is the highlight with the blistering boogie of 'Wild Cherry' that kicks and solos Quo's ass to oblivion, a superb cover of 'That'll Be The Day', the epic driving number 'Fly By Night', and the solid 'Nothing I Won't Do'.

Rock And Roll Outlaws saw the band continued success and heavy touring, the band were popular both on the radio and live, and the opening track '8 Days On The Road' describing their heavy touring well.

The album as a whole doesn't flow quite as easily as the previous one, or the next, but the closing heavy boogie numbers of 'Shirley Jean' and 'Blue Spruce Woman' mix riffs and solos well, while 'Chateau Lafitte '59 Boogie', like 'Wild Cherry', one of the best boogie numbers you'll ever hear, with a fantastic solo. *****


With Tony Stevens leaving to return to the UK (the band were by then resident in the US), producer Nick Jameson stepped up to the bass role for the album everyone will know - or at least should do. Fool For The City went platinum and contains several hits, including the title track and the 8 minute classic 'Slow Ride', complete with some superb guitar work and vocal harmonies.

'My Babe' is a decent boogie number and there's also a cover of Robert Johnson's 'Terraplane Blues' featuring some excellent heavy slide guitar. 'Drive Me Home' and 'Take It Or Leave It' (the latter more of a searing lounge ballad) blend blues and stadium rock well.

With new bassist Craig MacGregor on board, 1976's Night Shift was a classic boogie hard rock album that was by far the most refined and polished yet.

Opener with 'Driving Wheel' really is a driver, the vocals and guitar well rounded for some solid stadium rock that is just so enjoyable. Plenty of riffs that really will rock you. Many will recognise the classic 'Take Me To The River' too. *****

These 2-on-1 CDs come well annotated (although there is a lot of repetition), and with lyrics too.

Well timed, as the last lot of CD issues have long been out of print.

Review by Joe Geesin


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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