Happy Anniversary: Foghat, Live
37 years ago today, the American record-buying public were first given the opportunity to purchase Foghat’s Live. We realize that may not seem like a big deal to those of you who weren’t alive to experience the glory of Foghat in their prime, but there’s a reason why this particular recording still stands as the most successful album in the band’s back catalog…and that reason is because, quite simply, it kicks ass.
Come on, just look at it: it’s only six tracks long, but it opens with “Fool for the City” and closes with “Slow Ride,” both from the band’s 1975 album, Fool for the City, and in between those bookends you’ve got “Home in My Hand” (from 1974’s Energized), the band’s cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You” (from 1972’s Foghat), “Road Fever” (from 1973’s Rock and Roll), and “Honey Hush” (also from Energized).
“We were headlining arenas and people didn't realize how big the band was until the live album came out,” said Lonesome Dave Peverett, Foghat’s dearly departed original lead singer and guitarist, in a 1995 interview with Goldmine. “That kind of cemented it for the media.”
It also helped cement Foghat’s reputation for Willie Dixon, according to drummer Roger Earl.
“(‘I Just Want to Make Love to You’) was our first big single over here and came off the first album in 1972, when in 1977 we released Foghat Live and (it was) the single off of that album, which was a hit again,” said Earl, in an interview with Classic Rock Here and Now. “By then, Willie was saying, ‘Who are these Foghat guys?’ “We had a three day spell playing in Chicago. On the first night, Willie’s daughter came down to see us. The second night, she actually came back with her brother, Butch, who I believe later became Willie’s road manager. Then on the third night we played there, they brought their dad down. So there we were, standing around with Willie Dixon and – as far as we were concerned – in the presence of greatness. He was a tall man and had this incredible smile and a wonderful way with people. I remember Dave introduced him on stage and said, ‘Without Willie Dixon, there would be no rock and roll.” And that’s pretty close to the truth.”
There’s been plenty of additional Foghat music released over the years, and more than a couple of Foghat live albums, too, although the one that’s arguably the best to emerge is, appropriately enough, the one that was deemed an official sequel: Live II, which came out in 2007. But if you want the classic lineup in their prime, then accept no substitutes: it’s Live all the way.