The success of the band Foghat could be attributed to a few key factors. The sound of lead singer Dave Peverett’s voice was distinctively unique. Dave sang like he was playing a guitar. The vibrato in his voice sounded like the whammy bar sound of a Fender Stratocaster. His voice was pitch perfect yet bled the sound of an old school blues singer confessing his sins over a bottle of Jack. Dave’s live performances were always high energy, yet extremely emotional. The man understood the blues.
Foghat’s original guitarist Rod Price is probably one of the most underrated blues rock guitarists of the classic rock era. When I first heard the band I thought there were two lead guitarist doubling the lines. In essence Rod’s sound was so intense, he sounded like two guitarist. Price produced the most distinctive slide playing sound I had ever heard. There was a party tonality to his sound intertwined with a blues siren that hit hard.
Underneath the lead voices of Rod Price and Dave Peverett laid the outstanding rhythm section of Roger Earl and Tony Stevens. Roger Earl’s power groove drumming and Tony Stevens’ thunderous blues infused bass lines created a sound that mimicked the power of an unstoppable locomotive tearing up concert halls from coast to coast.
I saw the band Foghat for the first time on May 13th 1977 at the Suffolk Forum, which was more commonly referred to as the Commack Arena. The hall was nestled in the town of Commack located in the suburban heartlands of Long Island, New York. (Parts of the legendary Frampton Comes Alive album were recorded at the Commack Arena.) If at the time you had seen any of the powerful performances that the band Foghat delivered night after night, you would forever be a fan.
The list below looks at some of the best recordings the band Foghat released. These are all essential top 10 Foghat albums every fan should own. The majority of the recordings are from the nineteen seventies. During the nineteen eighties, the band released a few albums that presented a somewhat altered sound that seemed inspired by the new genres of new wave and dance. Those albums were not received as well as Foghat’s nineteen seventies work.
Over the years, the band went through various lineup changes with Craig Macgregor and Nick Jameson replacing Tony Stevens on bass at various intervals. Eric Cartwright replaced Rod Price on guitar until he was eventually replaced by Bryan Basset. The one constant has always been Roger Earl on drums. Sadly, Dave Peverett passed away in 2000. Rod Price passed away in 2005. The band has continued to perform with ex Ted Nugent lead singer Charlie Huhn on vocals, Bryan Basset on guitar, Craig Macgregor on bass, and Roger Earl on drums.
# 10 – Return of the Boogie Men
Foghat’s 1994 CD Return of the Boogie Men, meant just that. For the first time in twenty tears, all four original band members, Tony Stevens, Rod Price, Roger Earl and Dave Peverett reunited for an album of boogie blues music that sounded like early nineteen seventies Foghat. This is a great sounding record with an emphasis on killer drum sounds, bright tight guitar, deep sounding bass and in your face vocals. Return of the Boogie Men, was a great comeback album that was a pleasant surprise for long time Foghat fans who had missed the sound of the core four.
# 9 – In the Mood for Something Rude
After a few experimental albums in which Foghat dabbled in altering their sound, the band returned for an album of covers done vintage Foghat style. One of the album’s highlights was a relatively new song written by Rodney Crowell called,“Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This.” The band also did a wonderful job on the James Brown track, “And I Do Just What I Want.” The lineup for the “In the Mood,” LP featured Lonesome Dave Peverett on lead vocals, Erick Cartwright on guitar, Nick Jameson on bass and Roger Earl on drums. A very cool album and well deserving of the No. 9 spot in the Top 10 Foghat albums you must own. It also featured the best Foghat album cover of the band’s career, or at least the most interesting.
# 8 – Foghat
The second album released by the band was self titled. Many fans have referred to this album as the Rock and Roll, album because of the rock and bread roll pictured on the cover. The highlight of the album was the Price / Peverett song “Road Fever.” The album also contained the great opening track “Ride, Ride, Ride” also written by Rod Price and Dave Peverett. Although the sound of the album was a bit compressed, the songwriting and performing were top notch and served as a preview for great things to come from the band Foghat.
# 7 – Rock and Roll Outlaws
Foghat’s fourth album released in 1974 contained a few songs that would become concert staples over the years. The album’s closing track, “Chateau Lafitte ’59 Boogie,” was pure killer boogie blues that became a fan favorite. The time change in the middle of the piece echoed the “Slow Ride,” type groove that had yet to appear on record. The album’s opening cut “Eight Days on the Road,” was performed on a nightly basis over the course of the band’s career. Interestingly, the album’s third track “Dreamer,” sounded similar to the musical styles that the band would explore on their early 1980’s albums. Foghat’s “Rock and Roll Outlaws,” was released just before their breakthrough album,“Fool For the City.” For that reason alone the album is often overlooked, which is a shame because it’s one of their best.
# 6 – Foghat
Released in 1972, Foghat, was the band’s debut album after founding members Roger Earl and Lonesome Dave Peverett had left Savoy Brown. The debut album featured a mix of original songs and fabulous covers of some great rock and blues classics. The band tore it up on their cover of Chuck Berry’s ” Maybellene.” The album’s opening track was a scorching blues boogie version of the Willie Dixon classic,“I Just Want To Make Love To You.”
The cover version would become Foghat’s first hit and also one of the biggest of their career. The album was produced by rock legend Dave Edmunds who was also credited with additional guitar work on the record. Foghat’s debut was a astonishing mix of blues, and hard boogie jams based around solid song structures that would become the basis of their sound and legacy.
# 5 – Energized
Foghat’s third album entitled Energized produced an array of amazing cover versions of old school blues songs that would be quite frankly, energized by the Foghat sound. The opening track was a cover of the Lou Turner classic “Honey Hush.” The band’s arrangement of the song intermixed the rhythmic nature of another legendary blues classic “Train Kept a Rollin’. The song became a huge concert favorite. The band also slam dunked Buddy Holly’s,“That’ll Be the Day.” The album also featured some great original compositions such as “Home in My Hand” and “Wild Cherry.”
# 4 – Stone Blue
When Foghat released their follow up to their Foghat Live, album which was their biggest seller to date ,one can only imagine the pressure that record company executives put on the band to release a more commercial record to take advantage of their previous success. The hiring of legendary producer Eddie Kramer served as a nod to produce a more commercial friendly album. After the album’s release, many critics panned the album for its high production values and leaner pop sound. However, they had no idea what they were talking about, because Stone Blue, was full of immensely well written songs and authentic blues inspired rock fusion playing.
Stone Blue was one of the best studio albums the band had ever released. Just take a listen to the intensity of the title track, Stone Blue, and the killer blues rock version of “Chevrolet.” These were amazing recordings performed by musicians at the height of their career. Stone Blue was one of Foghat’s greatest musical accomplishments. Kramer may have given the band a more polished sound via production values, but it had no effect on the heart and soul of one of the best blues bands of the late twentieth century.
# 3 – Night Shift
Foghat released Night Shift as their follow up to their most successful album to date Fool for the City. For the Night Shift sessions, the record company brought in Edgar Winter sideman, Dan Hartman to produce the album. Dan Hartman would eventually have a monster disco hit on his own a few years later called “Instant Replay.” The album featured one of the best recordings and performances of the band’s career in the song “Driving Wheel.” Like many classic rock songs of the nineteen seventies, the song would eventually be discovered by a new generations of fans on the soundtracks to many video games throughout the twenty first century.
The album featured a blistering, but dark rendition of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River.” Other highlights of the album included the title track that became a FM radio staple in 1977. Peverett wrote two killer tracks on the album entitled “Burning the Midnight Oil,” and “Hot Shot Love.” The Night Shift album was sandwiched between two of Foghat’s most successful albums of their career. It was at a time when the band was enjoying great popularity and success. I saw the band numerous times during that period and they never disappointed.
# 2 – Fool For the City
Foghat’s Fool for the City album was heard around the world because of the band’s monster hit,“Slow Ride.” The song can easily define the meaning of Classic Rock. Foghat’s “Slow Ride,” has appeared in countless television shows,movies, video games, and commercials. For all the younger fans raised as members of the Millennial Generation or Generation X that may not know the band Foghat, they have all heard “Slow Ride.” However, the album Fool for the City contained many great songs besides their mega hit, “Slow Ride.” The title track “Fool For the City,” stands also as one of the bands signature songs.
Like all the great Foghat albums, the record was filled with a combination of classic blues covers and Foghat originals. The band recorded a fantastic version of the Robert Johnson’s, “Terraplane Blues.” The records other cover was an amazing vocal rendition by Dave Peverett of the Hatfield/Medley composition, “My Babe.”
The Fool for the City record was the band’s first platinum album. The single “Slow Ride,” hit No.20 on the Billboard charts, while the single “Fool for the City,” hit No.45. The cover of the album depicted drummer Roger Earl fishing down a manhole on 11th street in New York City. Many fans and critics have listed the Fool for the City album as the band’s best work. However, there was one more album released two albums later after the Fool for the City record that took the band to new artistic heights that this writer believed captured the band at the peak of their career.
# 1 – Foghat Live
The band ‘s first live album released in 1977, also became their biggest selling record of their career. The album was certified double platinum in the United States. The album only featured six cuts ,but Oh! what killer versions they were. The album opened with a souped up version of “Fool for the City,” that torched the original version. It was followed by “Home in my Hand,” and then an extended version of their first hit “I Just Want To Make Love To You.” Both versions were performed at a faster more intense speed than the studio versions. The second side of the album featured “Road Fever,” from the 1973 Foghat album, a killer version of “Honey Hush,” from Energized and of course the closing number, “Slow Ride,” from Fool For the City.
Foghat Live showcased the band musical talents better than any of their studio albums. The live setting always frees blues musicians of studio restraints due to recording time budgets and deadlines. On stage a band like Foghat can just let loose and explore the possibilities of the their inner soulfulness, talent and inspirations. The audiences fuel and inspire the musician to another level of play not possible when they are sitting behind the glass with a pair of headphones on and the red light staring in their face. Foghat Live defined the band’s legacy, and was not only their best album, but it stands as one of the most exciting live rock and roll albums in Classic Rock History.
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