Today you can slap on a CD by the likes of Humble Pie, Canned Heat or Savoy Brown and it sounds pretty good. What you’re hearing is what was called “boogie rock” back in the day – basically blues flavored rock done up with a driving backbeat. Here in the States, boogie rock’s best practitioners came from the South: the Allman Brothers, Skynyrd and ZZ Top.
And the Brits were no slouches when it came to boogie. Humble Pie, Savoy Brown and Status Quo top the list here, but today let’s spin Fool For The City, the 1975 boogie rock classic by Foghat.
Foghat was an English quartet led by “Lonesome” Dave Peverett (guitars, vocals) and Roger Earl on drums. Peverett, Earl and bassist Tony Stevens left Savoy Brown in 1971 to form Foghat, adding guitarist Rod Price to complete the lineup. Foghat had a hit with Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want To Make Love To You” and became big stars on the touring circuit. Objecting to the relentless road schedule, Stevens quit.
When it came time to record Fool For The City, producer Nick Jameson filled in on bass. Of course, the centerpiece of this monster album is “Slow Ride,” a Peverett composition that goes from zero to 60 in no time at all. This is one of those tunes that makes you want to push the accelerator a little harder when it comes on the car radio. Millions of people apparently agreed at the time – “Slow Ride” was a hit single, peaking on the U.S. charts at No. 20 in 1975.
Now the album version of “Slow Ride” clocks in at over eight minutes but the version most people heard on the radio was an edit which fades out just before the four-minute mark. “Slow Ride” is considered a boogie rock classic, and it’s been heard on many movies and TV shows including Dazed and Confused and the sitcom “That ’70s Show.”
Peverett also penned the title song, which was a followup single that also lives today on FM classic rock radio. “Save Your Loving (For Me)” by Price and Peverett has the classic boogie beat. Jameson and Peverett teamed up for the album closer “Take It Or Leave It,” a pleasant acoustic midtempo rocker that sounds a bit out of place alongside the boogie.
Of the album’s seven songs, two are covers: Robert Johnson’s “Terraplane Blues” and the supercharged “My Babe,” which was actually written and recorded by the Righteous Brothers (Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley). “My Babe” may have been a finger-snapping swinger in its original incarnation, but the boogie rock makeover applied by Foghat is definitive.
Fool For The City was Foghat’s biggest hit until 1977, when the inevitable Foghat Live went double platinum. The band soldiered on in different permutations until 2000, when both Peverett and Price died. A new version of Foghat with drummer Roger Earl has been fitfully playing and recording since then. Bassist/producer Nick Jameson has made a name for himself as an actor (“The Critic,” “24” and “Lost”) and voice actor (“Star Wars: Clone Wars” as Palpatine).
MP3: “Fool For The City”
MP3: “My Babe”
MP3: “Save Your Loving (For Me)”
The official Foghat website