Review | Foghat – Sonic Mojo
Studio-album number seventeen for these blues and boogie rockers of Foghat, originally hailing from London, England but in a very early stage in their career moving over to the USA as their music in the early seventies was more successful there compared to the UK and the rest of Europe. From the original line-up only drummer Roger Earl (now 77) is left and it is amazing how he managed to keep the band going for over fifty years now (although the group had a break for some years).
FOGHAT LEGENDARY ALBUMS
Fans of the genre know Foghat from legendary albums like ‘Fool For The City’, ‘Night Shift’, ‘Energized’, ‘Rock and Roll Outlaws’, ‘Stone Blue’ plus the superb ‘Foghat Live’—record. In the early years, guitarist/singer Dave Peverett, Roger Earl, slide-guitarist Rod Price, and bass player Tony Stevens formed a solid line-up that kept a stiff touring schedule in those days. Through the years people left (Stevens, Peverett and Price) but some of them came back later and only the passing of Peverett (2000, from cancer) and Price (2005, from a fall from a ladder after suffering a heart attack) were major tragedies, although Price by the time of his passing already left the group again, tired of touring.
The loss of Peverett was significant as his voice was just superb and a major trade mark of the band, that after their first seven, eight years with lots of highlights saw their popularity shrink, mainly because of a change of style. After their reunion halfway through the nineties, things looked up again, as once again Foghat produced exciting rock/blues and boogie. After Peverett died Roger Earl pulled off a masterstroke by recruiting American singer/guitarist Charlie Huhn, who had stints with Victory, Ted Nugent, Axel Rudi Pell and Deadringer. When Price left former Molly Hatchet axe grinder Bryan Bassett came to join the ranks and he is still with the group today. The band regularly released decent albums but it is fair to say that the level was good but never as good as it was in the early and mid-seventies.
Early 2022 Charlie Huhn retired from Foghat after being the frontman for some twenty years. Former Buddy Guy guitarist Scott Holt joined as singer/guitarist and these days next to Bassett and Earl the band is completed by bass player Rodney O’Quinn (ex-Pat Travers).
FOGHAT MUSICAL FORMULA
Now in 2023 the musical formula of Foghat has not changed very much at all. If you are a fan of this group, you might know that when the band started out in 1971 several members left the group Savoy Brown to go out on their own and form Foghat. The contact with Savoy Brown leader Kim Simmonds never really faded in all these decades as the last three songs that Simmonds (co-)worked on before passing away in December 2022 are now included on ‘Sonic Mojo’, the brand-new record of Foghat. This is still a mix of blues, rock, boogie, and a pinch of country (the track ,,I Wish I’d Been There’’), so fans of the band have some familiarity to hang on to, I guess.
The difference is that Scott Holt has a different, more sophisticated sounding voice in comparison with Charlie Huhn who sounded ‘rougher’, so there is a small change in sound and outcome. ,,She’s A Little Bit Of Everything’’, ,,Time Slips Away’’, ,,Black Days And Blue Nights’’, ,,Mean Woman Blues’’ (here is where you hear the influence of the sophisticated voice of Holt) are certainly interesting. ,,Drivin’ On’’ could have been a song of ZZ Top/Billy Gibbons while ,,Song For Life’’ is a soft rocker.
The whole album makes a less energetic impression in comparison with the older albums. Not so strange when you look at the fact that this a veteran band in age as well as experience. As first single they chose to select ,,I Don’t Appreciate You’’, for me with its monotonous chorus the weakest link on the album. ‘Sonic Mojo’ is certainly not a bad effort but I cannot say that it will appear in the top five chart of the discography of Foghat. It is decent, well played, at times melancholic but it could have done with a bit more tempo and energy. I miss a top song like for instance the super ballads ,,I’ll Be Standing By’’ and ,,Angel Of Mercy’’ or the whirlwind rockers ,,Drivin’ Wheel’’ and ,,Honey Hush’’. Solid through and through but these days the listener expects a bit more than just solid.
Release date: 10 November 2023