Foghat - Sonic Mojo
by Kevin Wierzbicki
Foghat's sound has progressed a great ways since the days of "Slow Ride," as you'd expect from a band that has been around since the '70s. The band now gravitates to a blues sound, not surprising since Foghat came into being when three original members left blues rock outfit Savoy Brown. Founding member and drummer Roger Earl now helms the band accompanied by guitarist Bryan Bassett, singer Scott Holt and bass man Rodney O'Quinn. The songs are a mix of originals and covers and in a very nice tribute, three of the songs were co-written by the band and Kim Simmonds, the late founder of Savoy Brown who had remained a friend to the band over the decades. Sonic Mojo
begins with one of the Simmonds numbers, an up-tempo blues rocker with a catchy hook in the chorus called "She's a Little Bit of Everything." The song has a vibe that'll be familiar to fans of early Foghat, Savoy Brown and other blues rock acts of the 1970s. The other Simmonds co-writes include "Drivin' On," a ZZ Top-like number that shows a love of John Lee Hooker and "Time Slips Away," a mid-tempo, almost Southern rock groove that lyrically is a facing of mortality (Simmonds had terminal colon cancer while writing the song) with sweet slide guitar from Bassett heightening the melancholia. Other covers include a rollicking take on Willie Dixon's "Let Me Love You Baby," an interpretation of Chester Burnett's "How Many More Years" that sounds a little like the way Pat Travers or Robin Trower might do the song, and in a surprising choice, Rodney Crowell's "Song for the Life" which works really well here. There's a B.B. King cut too; Holt clearly has a ball singing "She's Dynamite," a cut about a woman with "a pearl-handle pistol and a razor too." Holt shows another side on "Wish I'd Been There," leaving the bluesy vocal roughness aside as he sings about the days when Hank Williams was the hottest thing going. The album ends with one last cover, a take on Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" where the guys replace the original's boogie with a real swinging groove. Sonic Mojo
is a satisfying set from this long-running and beloved band.