Title - ‘Under The Influence’
Artist - Foghat
As always, for those not in the know, Foghat are an English rock band formed in London in 1971. The band is known for its prominent use of electric slide guitar in its music. The band has achieved 8 gold records, one platinum and one double platinum record, and despite several lineup changes, continues to record and perform to the present day.
As a bunch of rather unpretentious young Brits with an affection for American blues and '50s rock 'n' roll, Foghat muddled onward and upwards and by the middle of the decade, they had evolved into a major touring and recording act. Playing a pumped-up brand of boogie-rock to arena-size audiences their looks grew flashier, their sound fattened and filled out, yet the roots-rock core of the band remained ever-present under the surface.
From the viewpoint of certain critics, Foghat unduly compromised their early blues-based approach in order to reap commercial rewards. Certainly, their mid-'70s hits ("Slow Ride," "Drivin' Wheel," "Stone Blue") were not aimed at the rock purists of the world. But it's also true that they continued to record traditional blues and R&B material throughout their years with Bearsville Records. In fact, Foghat's final albums on Bearsville reaffirmed their love for unadulterated, primal American music.
Indeed, that passion for primal American music is brought forth once more today under the guise of yet another Foghat album, this one entitled Under The Influence. Aside from featuring one of the best, most highly imaginative albums covers I have seen in a long, long time, the band have just released an album that has been nearly three long years in the making!
As they themselves recently said, via their PledgeMusic.com page, “This record has been a lot of fun to write and record. We started out at our studio “Boogie Motel South” in Florida, writing and recording with the band and our friend and great guitarist Scott Holt. In 2015 we decided to work with our friend, Grammy winning writer/producer Tom Hambridge and he was the ‘icing on the cake’. Just fantastic to work with and he brought out the best in everyone.”
Those that joined the PledgeMusic Campaign, by pre-ordering item’s such as autographed vinyl copies of the album, along with VIP lunches and even Drum soundchecks, already know what this brilliant, thunderous new album sounds like. Those that didn’t, much like myself, now have the CDs in our hands - and boy, is it a doozy!
Bringing together the current lineup — founding drummer Roger Earl, singer/guitarist Charlie Huhn, lead guitarist Bryan Bassett and bassist Craig MacGregor, who has played on and off with them since 1976 — with some important names from their past. Kim Simmonds, the guitarist of Savoy Brown, which Earl and two other men left to form Foghat, makes an appearance. Also, Nick Jameson, who played bass on ‘Slow Ride,’ sat in on a new version of their biggest hit, which celebrates the 40th anniversary of that very same song.
The opening track is just Foghat cranked up to their usual 11, and that’s backed by the speeding AC/DC-esque train of ‘Knock It Off’, the Country-twangin’ ‘Ghost’, the swingin’ old time nightclub vibe of ‘She’s Got a Ring in His Nose’, and then both the fun reveal of the bluesy ‘Upside of Lonely’, and a rockin’ ’Heard It Through the Grapevine.’
The fast-paced guitar fest ‘Made Up My Mind’ is next, and that’s followed by the hard-pressing ‘Hot Mama’, which in turn is backed by a mid-tempo blast of ‘Heart Gone Cold’ and the fun pop bounce of ‘Honey Do List.’ The album, sadly then comes to a close with the rockin’ ‘All Because Of You’ and then a remake of their very own aforementioned hit, a nearly eight minute version of ‘Slow Ride.’
In closing, Foghat‘s Under The Influence still manages to have that classic sound attached to it, even after all these years. And that rare for a band to be able to allow to draw upon. Charlie, Bryan, Roger, and Craig have definitely kept the soul of Foghat alive with these amazing songs and I‘m PDS that "Lonesome Dave" and Rod Price are smiling down with pride from above.