Under The Influence

Foghat

You really can't count a vintage rock band out. Surely keeping a regular presence on the radio in the 1970s with hits like "Fool For The City," "Stone Blue," and "Slow Ride," Foghat were a rockin' foursome to be reckoned with back in the day. Though these road warriors has seen some big personnel changes over the years, Foghat, led by sole original member, drummer and captain of their bluesy boogie-woogie ship Roger Earl, has an album out for 2016 called Under The Influence, which has debuted on Billboard's "Hard Rock Albums" chart at #17. Not bad for a 45-year-old institution.

Under the Influence features the longest running incarnation of Foghat, a tighter-than-tight lineup featuring Earl, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Charlie Huhn, lead and slide guitarist Bryan Bassett and bassist Craig MacGregor (who has been with the Hat since 1976) make for a damn formidable group of heavy hard hitters with high style. From the opening slide-led title track, to the swampy stomp of the longing-for-love stomper "Ghost" (Huhn sounding especially great on this one), to the blues of "She's Got A Ring In His Nose," we are in familiar territory with this rock and blues concoction.

The cover of Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through The Grapevine" doesn't quite measure up to the high bar set by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the "Slow Ride" remake wasn't entirely necessary. But if you yearn for the riffing interplay between Huhn and Bassett, MacGregor holding down the bottom end, and Earl hitting as hard as he did in 70s ("Heart Gone Cold," with its women-done-bad-to-men lyrics, is filled with all the essential elements), Under The Influence is classic Foghat.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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