Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rick Friel's 365 Albums: Foghat Live

Photo by Anna Knowlden 

Musician, writer, cherished friend to many of our hometown grunge hero's here in Seattle, and all around swell guy, Rick Friel's views on music speak for many of us 70's kids!

Previously shared on social media and now also on Easy Street Records Blog, we thought Ricks ongoing journals of his most memorable albums was deserving of a permanent home here in Xanaland! 
So please enjoy the first of many of Rick Friel's  ' 365 Albums '

Foghat Live

When I was a kid just getting into Rock'n'Roll there were all of a sudden all of these bands that I'd never heard of. It's funny to think back. I'd look at all the album covers & band names with all this color coming off them. Cool logos.
And not know one. It was so exciting! I was like those kids when they arrive getting off the boat at Willy Wonka's magic land. Where to start? Where to go? Who's Foghat?

My brother Chris & I had many baby sitters in the 70's and each of them would bring albums over to listen to. We ate each album up like it was candy. We needed it. One that really stuck out that I liked right away was Foghat Live. The way it starts with "Fool For The City" is incredibly tough. It's a stand for the Burbs & city life sung by a voice soaring out over the grit & noise. Sung inside a concrete dome or a steel amphitheater made of nuts and bolts full of sweat, coffee and cigarettes by Union men. The people that Lonesome Dave Peverett are singing about. Blue collar. A beautiful voice sings over the yells & woops & hollers of people he'll never meet. But they all get it. They've all fools for the city. I became one too right then. 

See, this was Foghat'a moment. For one night they were the best band in the world. I've been there. Some nights you play a show and every thing goes right and the audience is right there with you, loving you, getting it. They don't want you to stop! I have memories. The difference is that Foghat recorded it. "Home In My Hand" is a straight ahead rocker that just sizzles. Starting off with Roger Earl's warm sounding drums the song is smooth and the band is on. You can hear people whistling approval. That only happens when you're cooking. The guitars play off each other doing vibratos in between slide guitar solos by Rod Price. There's an amazing breakdown of the chorus. It's the way Foghat plays it makes it so good. They are giving all they got. 

This leads into "I Just Want To Make Love To You". Lonesome Dave testifies to his woman, to the crowd, to Rock'n'Roll itself. And the band answers each time like a James Brown thing. (Hit me!) It's quite a moment. Then the bass comes in.
Craig MacGregor thumping, pumping.
My bass has never sounded that good in 30 years as his does here.
The guitars talk to each other back and forth and we're in. You can tell they are having a great night...almost floating by the end of this song. "You make me feel so good", Dave says. No Dave, you make me feel so good.
The album cover is really cool too, because each guy in the band has a picture inside the letters L-I -V-E. The back cover is them playing some huge outdoor show. I imagined it was Memorial Stadium. And, when you pull out the inner sleeve there's all these pictures of Foghat's life on the road. I'd never been back stage in 1977. I didn't know anything about it. This was my first look at it and I liked it. There's the band with exotic looking women. Who are these people? In one shot the drummer is in a hotel room with one of them. I was like, 'What? Cool.' A picture of someone wearing a FOG hat. A trucker hat with the letters FOG on it. (My best friend Stu Miner went out & had one made after seeing this)

Here's band with their kids, their friends, in elevators, coming off stage. It was all very new and I couldn't take my eyes off it. I wanted to be a part of all of this. Me, this little kid in Windermere. Getting feelings from an album. That's what music can do! I'm staring. I'm hearing.
"Road Fever" has a blazing guitar solo that blew me away the first time I heard it. "Honey Hush" is almost metal it's so fast. It's like "Train Kept A Rolling" on speed. Lonesome Dave is at his best here; almost out of breath. It gets my heart beating. There's a pause & the crowd cries "Yes!"
Of course they saved the best for last...Dave yells. "Slowwwwww Ride!"

"Slow Ride". It's a party! The drumming is sublime. The lead guitar holds a sustained note forever. But it's the break down where it all comes together. Cowbell. Harmony vocals. Beats. People clapping. It's sexy. Funky. Dave yells "Rock on!" Oh yes.
The mix of this album is perfect. Nick Jameson keeps the warmth in.
It's like I'm there. Dancing & clapping & singing & getting down. Wearing my FOG hat. Smiling.

                         Please enjoy some Foghat

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