First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2006, Volume 13, #10
Written by Matt Parish
The more things change, the more they remain the same. Granted, the appropriated (and far too similar) sounds of today’s manufactured artists quickly can grow tiresome, but a longstanding outfit like Foghat achieves monumental benefits by adhering closely to its legacy. Formed from the remnants of the British group Savoy Brown, Foghat took America by storm during the ’70s. It dominated the airwaves with classic songs such as Fool for the City, Slow Ride, Night Shift, and its cover of Willie Dixon’s I Just Want to Make Love to You. Because it realistically captured the energy and drive of one of its shows, Foghat’s 1977 concert document Foghat Live sold more than two million copies and became the most successful album of its career.
Recorded in July 2005, Foghat’s latest endeavor Live 2 effectively proves that lightning can strike twice. From the opening riff of Night Shift, the clarity and precision of the musicians’ collective performance as well as of the recording itself are evident. As a result, the listener immediately is transported, along with his fist-pumping pals, into the front row of the arena. It’s not surprising, then, that this record cannot be played loud enough.
As was the case with his predecessor the late Lonesome Dave Peverett, Charlie Huhn is a powerhouse vocalist who is blessed with a strong, blues-y voice and the stage presence of a ringmaster. Bryan Bassett’s remarkable slide guitar work not only showcases his fantastic abilities, but it also pays tribute to Rod Price’s original blistering leads. Founding member Roger Earl’s mammoth drumming and Craig MacGregor’s legendary bass work compose a rhythm section that, many years ago, served as the heart of these songs. Amazingly, they have retained all of their ear-shattering, body-shaking exuberance.
Throughout Live 2, Foghat is respectful in its incorporation of fan favorites such as Take Me to the River, Stone Blue, and Drivin’ Wheel. Yet, it also digs deep into its canon to unleash the powerfully swirling raucousness of Terraplane Blues as well as a sturdy rendition of Chateau Lafitte ’59 Boogie. Nevertheless, what makes this record better than many of the band’s other concert recordings is the immaculate, yet thoroughly nasty, attention that was paid to the production. Simply put, Foghat’s Live 2 stands, on its own accord, as a terrific snapshot of a travelin’ rock ’n‘ roll band doing what it does best.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box