Foghat

Fool For The City (Bearsville 75) Rating: A-

Although not the most original or critically acclaimed band (heck most critics hated them!), Foghat, perhaps the most "American" English band of the '70s, produced some of the better hard blues and boogie-based guitar rock of that era. Their peak was in the mid-to-late-'70s, and Fool For The City was probably their most accessible and arguably their best album, though if you like this one I'd advise you to check out 1974's Energized and 1977's Foghat Live (they were a very good live band) next. This album has the band's best known song, the stomping air guitar anthem "Slow Ride," as well as the anthemic, hard charging title track, which showcased the band's ability to write melodic, catchy songs, group leader "Lonesome" Dave Peverett's ability to tunefully sing them with style, and the band's accomplished guitar work. Both of these songs still make the rounds on "classic rock" radio, though in truth I prefer the truncated single version of "Slow Ride," which here is stretched to a padded out 8+ minutes. Either way it's still their signature song, and there's much to like here besides those two songs. True, "My Babe" (actually a Righteous Brothers cover though it doesn't sound like it) and "Drive Me Home" are generic boogies but they're still energetic and well performed; I especially like the screaming guitars on the former track, which reappear on their cover of Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues," a very good slide guitar showcase (guitarist Rod "The Bottle" Price's specialty). Rounding out the short but filler-free 7-track set list, "Save Your Loving (For Me)" is a highly melodic and catchy groover that probably should've been a hit, and the finale "Take It Or Leave It" is an excellent smooth piano ballad (though it has a good guitar solo as well), almost like Foghat does Steely Dan. On these tracks Peverett again shows what a fine singer and guitarist he was (the band also sported solid harmonies), and the rest of the band, also including rock solid drummer Roger Earl (like Peverett an ex-member of Savoy Brown) and jack-of-all-trades bassist (also producer, keyboards, etc.) Nick Jameson, were no slouches either. Again, they may not have been very original, and their impact after the '70s was negligible, but during their '70s peak Foghat was an enjoyably formidable ensemble.

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