Foghat Live was released at the height of the band’s soaring popularity back in 1977. With 6 songs spread out over two sides, Foghat Live was the jammin’ essential live soundtrack of that era of arena rock. Released after the immense success of their Fool for the City (1975) album and their underrated Night Shift (1976), Foghat Live packed the fans in even tighter at their concerts. Over the subsequent years, Foghat became a victim of the changing tides of music, a change that they tried to keep up with but inevitably failed at. It’s tough being a rock star at the turn of any decade.
Today’s Foghat continues the show not as one trying to find a home with today’s music but as one who is comfortable in their skin. The first thought in any fan’s mind is, simply, how does one carry on without the signature sounds of Lonesome Dave Peverett, who succumbed to cancer in 2000 and Rod Price, the unique guitar sound of the band, who died in 2005. In addition, original bassist, Tony Stevens is no longer in the mix. Ironically, Craig MacGregor, who was bassist at the time of Night Shift and the original Foghat Live, is not only slotted in his familiar photo spot as the “I” in Live, but he is also in this reunited version of the band. This leaves original member, drummer Roger Earl as the sole mainstay of the band. Longtime guitarist, Bryan Bassett and relative newcomer, Charlie Huhn, whose vocals and guitar take up the ‘tough to resume’ void left by Peverett, make up the rest of Foghat.
Live II has two discs with 20 songs between them. Most of the songs are familiar to Foghat fans and include “Night Shift,” “Take Me To The River,” “Drivin’ Wheel,” “Fool for the City,” “I Just Want To Make Love To You,” “Chateau Lafitte ’59 Boogie,” “Slow Ride,” and “Terraplane Blues,” amongst others. There are also the non-live bonus track inclusions of rehearsals that include “Road Fever,” Chevrolet,” and “I Feel Fine,” along with 4 others, most recorded in 2007.
I must admit to having had extreme reservations as to whether this version of Foghat could produce enough energy to power a show even with a somewhat intact and familiar rhythm section. And I must say that I’m quite impressed by the results found on Live II. Live II was recorded from a July ’05 show in El Cajon, CA at the Sycuan Theatre. It contains two discs of songs; quite a spread of music given the original sported only 6. If it has a flaw, it is in the fact that Huhn works a little too hard to channel Peverett’s introductions and vocals nuances in an attempt to replicate the feel of a Foghat show, as if Peverett were still shouting out those intros himself. It’s not entirely necessary and perhaps a little eerie when you hear Peverett’s intro to “Slow Ride” coming from Huhn exactly as you have heard Lonesome Dave intro it before. However, as so, it does create an air of genuineness, effective if that what was sought by the band. The album prints on the back a commendable and heartfelt memorial to the Rock and Roll spirit of both Peverett and Price, refusing to let the soul of Foghat slip away.
Foghat II succeeds better than I expected, and I’m a Foghat purist. I tip my hat to the current band as the Foghat name is carried on well with this release. While the album lacks some of the songs that I would have included given a 2CD set, it will remind you that Foghat is a great band.
Dedicated to the unending memories of “Lonesome” Dave Peverett and Rod “The Bottle” Price.