In 2011 Edsel of the UK acquired some of the 'WEA Catalogue' and began releasing value-for-money 1CD and 2CD album sets from that vast repertoire. So far I've reviewed Hall & Oates, Greenslade, Little Feat and 4 of their Doobie Brothers releases – and they've been great on all fronts. This '2LPs on 1CD' FOGHAT set is part of that reissue campaign (see full 14-album FOGHAT list below)…
UK-released 26 March 2012 (10 April in the USA) – Edsel EDSS 1066 breaks down as follows (76:44 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are their debut album "Foghat" released July 1972 in the USA on Bearsville BR 2077 and June 1974 in the UK on Bearsville K 45503
Tracks 10 to 18 are their 2nd album "Foghat (aka Rock And Roll)" released November March 1973 in the USA on Bearsville BR 2136 and July 1974 in the UK on Warner Brothers K 45514
Like all of these Edsel reissues - the 20-page booklet is substantial. It features the front and rear artwork for each album, the lyrics, reproductions of Bearsville LP labels, photos of the band and foreign picture sleeves for "Long Way To Go" and "What A Shame". More importantly there's a detailed new essay by PAUL MYERS who has interviewed ROGER EARL of the band especially for this reissue and has included relevant previous comments by band-founder-member and principal songwriter "LONESOME" DAVE PEVERETT and long-time band associate NICK JAMESON. The mastering was done by PETER RYNSTON at Tall Order Studios and the sound apes the Rhino reissues of the Nineties – clear, punchy and full. It's boogie all the way. Also – this CD is pitched at less than mid-price – so it offers a lot of music for very little wedge.
"Lonesome" Dave Peverett (Guitar & Lead Vocals), Tony Stevens (Bass) and Roger Earl (Drums) came out of the ashes of British Rock-Blues band SAVOY BROWN while second guitarist Rod Price was in BLACK CAT BONES who managed one highly collectable album on Decca-Nova in 1970 (featured members of Leafhound and Free guitarist Paul Kossoff). Foghat's debut was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales by DAVE EDMUNDS who was working on his debut solo album "Rockpile" at the time (see review elsewhere for that). Their brief was non-nonsense boogie – rock and roll – with maybe some blues and soulful rock in between the cracks. And as a British band they were famously huge in the USA (charted 13 albums there) but less-so in their native land.
Highlights on the debut include the lead-off single that got them noticed – a great boogie version of the Willie Dixon penned/Muddy Waters classic "I Just Want To Make Love To You". There's a fast-as-we-can–go cover of Chuck Berry's "Maybelline" – but there's also the polar opposite – a very soulful near eight-minute take on Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Gotta Get To Know You" which finishes the album in great style. But the other 6 originals mainly written by Peverett and Price are just as impressive – especially "Leavin' Again (Again!)" where Edmunds treats the vocals and guitars to phasing which gives it such a "Rockpile" sound. "Sarah Lee" is excellent too while the rocking 'money-worries' song "A Hole To Hide In" was a B-side of their debut 7" single in the USA. "Highway (Killing Me)" is gritty too – boogie about life on the road.
Things heat up considerably on the 2nd LP as it opens with "Ride, Ride, Ride" which along with their 2nd US 45 "What A Shame” set down the template for their trademark rocking sound for years to come. But best of all for me is the legendary drummer Bernard Purdie and the Brass section on the blistering "Road Fever" (lyrics above) – they combine with Peverett and the band to incredible effect - rocking like mad men and then Peverett losing it with vocal enthusiasm as the tracks rushes to a manic finish.
To sum up – neither album is a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination – and sadly both Peverett and Price passed on in 2000 and 2005. But there are truly great moments of Rock meets the Blues meets Rock'n'Roll on both of these records – and at this price – worth a sky-diver of anyone's money.
Five-star presentation, great sound and a cheap price.
Rock on Rod and Dave…literally…
PS: titles in this March 2012 FOGHAT reissue series are:
1. Foghat (July 1972) / Foghat [aka Rock And Roll] (March 1973) – Edsel EDSS 1066
2. Energised (January 1974) / Rock And Roll Outlaws (November 1974) – Edsel EDSS 1067
3. Fool For The City (October 1975) / Night Shift (November 1976) – Edsel EDSS 1068
4. Foghat Live (September 1977) / Stone Blue (May 1978) – Edsel EDSS 1069
5. Boogie Motel (October 1979) / Tight Shoes (June 1980) – Edsel EDSS 1070
6. Girls To Chat & Boys To Bounce (July 1981) / In The Mood For Something Rude (November 1982) / Zig-Zag Walk (June 1983) / Rarities – Edsel EDSD 2130 (2CD set)
PPS: factoid – the cover art for their 2nd album was done by Robert Downey - father of the actor Robert Downey, Jr.