Album review: FOGHAT – Fool For The City & Foghat Live (2019 Remasters)

FOGHAT - Fool For The City

Rock Candy Records [Release date 06.12.19]

Britband Foghat clocked up a considerable number of tour miles after relocating to the USA in 1970, road testing their material, looking to kickstart their career. It worked a treat. . . it’s on the road that you establish the body of each song, adapt and refine, then add the details. Subsequently, all but one of the band’s eight seventies’ albums went gold.

The band’s deceptively simple boogie has its roots in the American south. It’s basically delta blues with its serial number filed off, then turned up to eleven, and Foghat neatly underline the result by adding rhythmic gear changes and foot stomping slide guitar. A solid line up helped: “Lonesome” Dave Peverett, Rod Price and Roger Earl were in the band from the beginning. Musician/producer Nick Jameson came on board for the fifth album.

By that fifth release, Fool For The City (1975) they’d truly hit their stride. The title track and ‘Slow Ride’ were career peaks, high energy, head bobbing rock, each displaying as much a foot stomping stamp of authenticity as genre giants, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Canned Heat. The album went platinum. No surprise.

FOGHAT - Live

Two years later they played the Dome Arena in New York. The gig was captured by their multi talented producer, Nick Jameson in all its raw glory on Foghat Live. Their legendary road work paid off big time here. The band are in their element when faced with a live audience. Energy levels rise, inspired moments abound.

There’s a clear desire to nail things quickly, and they do so with an unfussy, go-for-it version of ‘Fool For The City’. A punchy, hard hitting, but not majorly transformed version of ‘Slow Ride’ closes the set as it did its parent album. Between times, a blistering cover of Willie Dixon’s blues classic ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You’, and and a fuller, more considered take on Big Joe Turner’s sexually suggestive ‘Honey Hush’ have the crowd on their feet, their voices raising the rafters.

“Foghat Live” went double platinum.

Remastering : There was a concern that Peverett and Price’s raucous twin guitar wallop would be neutered by flat compression, making their meaty riffs sound tame. But no, they’ve been opened up… fully analogue, fully lossless, and not particularly technical, but the music sounds great. And that’s all that matters, right?

Review by Brian McGowan


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