#21 – Roger Earl of Foghat – Last Train Home

Roger Earl of Foghat

Boogie rockers Foghat, best known for hits “Slow Ride” & “Fool For the City,” have always had their roots in the blues, but they’ve never done an entire album of blues music until now. Last Train Home is a great mix of classics and originals, all featuring the fierce playing of a well-seasoned band.  Icon Fetch talks with founding member, drummer Roger Earl about recording the new record, and the crazy story of the front-cover photo shoot for their classic LP Fool For the City.  Click below for the Roger Earl Foghat interview.

 

Classic Album – Rick Nelson – Garden Party (CD review)

Rick Nelson – Garden Party (1972) – CD review –

Most people know the “Garden Party” song, but little else of the album it comes from.  Rick Nelson had been trying to shed his teenage idol status for several years; forming the Stone Canyon Band, and mixing healthy doses of folk and country into rock.  Garden Party effortlessly blends all of these styles and shows sides of Nelson seldom seen.

The album opens with “Let it Bring You Along,” which starts as gentle folk, then morphs into a hard rocker. The twangy “So Long Mama” is one of the best kiss-off songs ever.  He even revisits Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talkin’ About You,” which he first recorded back in 1964.  Here, he turns it into a fierce rocker with a jazzy middle section.  Of course, the title track is the real highlight; the countrified true story of Nelson’s experience at an oldies revival show, where his audience was upset at his updated looks and sound.  The single put him at the top of the charts for one last time, but its parent album only reached #32.  It is truly an under-appreciated gem of the early 70’s (so much so, it is currently not in print in the US). –Tony Peters

Foghat – Last Train Home (CD review)

Foghat – Last Train Home (Foghat Records) – CD review –

After the death of original lead singer “Lonesome Dave” Peverett in 2000, the one remaining founding member, drummer Roger Earl, assembled a new lineup of Foghat and hit the road.  While you can’t blame him for still touring, you might be skeptical about them releasing a new CD.  Well, be prepared to be surprised.

Last Train Home is an entire album of blues songs, something the band has wanted to do for years, and it’s a disc worthy of sitting right next to their best ones, like Fool For the City and Live.  The key here is that Foghat always had one foot in the blues; even if the other one was firmly planted in boogie woogie rock n’ roll, so this isn’t really a stretch for these guys.  The addition of lead guitarist Bryan Bassett gives Foghat a focal point, and he keeps things nice n’ tasty, especially his fine slide work.

Thankfully, new vocalist Charlie Huhn is not a clone of the former singer (like that new guy in Journey); he’s got a similar range as Peverett, but he’s not trying to imitate either.  The band even revisits several blues numbers from earlier albums, like “Feel So Bad” from their second album and “It Hurts Me Too” from Stone Blue.  There’s a treat at the end of the disc for those who stick around; two songs featuring the vocals and guitar of blues legend Eddie “Bluesman” Kirkland.  At an age when most classic rockers have ceased recording a long time ago, Foghat has turned in another album worthy of a classic. –Tony Peters

Classic Album – Neil Young – Archives vol one (1963-1972) Blu Ray

Neil Young – Archives vol one (1963-1972)- Blu Ray edition (2009) – CD review –

Good call, Neil. Work on this set for 20 years, then release it at a time when no one can afford it. Anyone who plops $300 on this 10-disc box is obviously not being hurt by the recession. Or, maybe they don’t feel like eating for a month.

For all the hype about how interactive this set is, it’s mostly novelty. Are you really going to look at lyrics & photos over and over? No, you’re going to enjoy it once and then tuck it away. It’s the music that bears repeated listening, and I don’t know of anyone that has a Blu-Ray car stereo. So, it’s not even portable in that way.

Finally, the unreleased material, the cornerstone of this entire project, is sorely lacking. More than 50 percent of this is stuff any diehard fan already owns. Yeah yeah, the sound is phenomenal. Maybe you’ve got time to critique the finer nuances on your audiophile sound system. Not me, I got mouths to feed. –Tony Peters

#20 – Peter Parcek – The Mathematics of Love

Peter Parcek

Guitarist Peter Parcek is what you might call a late bloomer.  At 60 years old, he’s just released his first national release.   Hailing from the New England area, his post-high school years were spent abroad, soaking up the British blues of Eric Clapton and Peter Green, and avoiding the Vietnam combat.  Once things calmed down, Parcek returned to the States and took jobs as a school counselor and instrument salesman.  A chance meeting with blues legend Pinetop Perkins resulted in Parcek leading Perkins’ band for awhile.  After gaining more confidence, Parcek decided to strike out on his own.  The Mathematics of Love, only his second solo album, showcases his varied style, something he calls “soul guitar.”  He gets help from another legend, Al Kooper, on several of the tracks on the album.  Click below for the Peter Parcek interview.

She Met Wallace & Gromit

I had a chance to talk with singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading recently.  And, while we talked a lot about her music, her new CD and tour, we also touched on something a little off the beaten path: she had a chance to meet Nick Park, the creator of the claymation characters Wallace and Gromit. Park let her tour the studio and actually hold the famous duo in her hands.  Check out more about Joan Armatrading in our interview.

Classic Album – Marshall Crenshaw – debut (CD review)

Marshall Crenshaw – Marshall Crenshaw (review) – CD review

Want a little sunshine in your Ipod?  Marshall Crenshaw’s debut CD is full of simple, yet infectious pop tunes.  Both his voice and chord progressions are reminiscent of Buddy Holly’s best work.  Jangly guitars and soaring harmonies are everywhere.  What makes this such a joy is the lack of any image or attitude.

Most bands attempting something like this would hide behind a cool sneer or haircut (like Elvis Costello or Graham Parker, perhaps), while Crenshaw is content to play it straight in all it’s geeky charm.  The album’s best known track, “Someday Someway,” borrows some from Holly’s “Peggy Sue,” while “Mary Anne” has the same simplicity of “Sweet Jane.”    The album’s lone cover song, Arthur Alexander’s “Soldier of Love,” sounds right at home with all the other vintage-sounding tunes.

The production is also very clean and sparse, without any keyboards or electronic instruments, letting the songs stand on their own.  Be sure to hunt out the “deluxe edition,” featuring several bonus tracks, including the excellent b-side “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time.”  His followup, Field Day, would be full of bombastic drums and layered instruments, but Marshall Crenshaw’s debut still sounds as fresh as the day it came out.  Guaranteed to get you humming along. –Tony Peters

Jimmie Vaughan – Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites (CD review)

Jimmie Vaughan – Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites (Shout Factory) – CD review –

Jimmie Vaughan has recorded sporadically since he left the Fabulous Thunderbirds two decades ago; Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites is only his fourth solo album, and his first since 2001.  Vaughan has assembled a collection of his favorite tunes, and recorded them in a loose, live-in-the-studio environment.

It truly sounds like someone held up a single microphone in front of the band and they went to work.  Most of the album moves along at a pleasant simmer, never really cooking hot, but always bringing some heat.  Sax, trumpet, organ and harmonica mix in with the usual instruments to keep things interesting. The best tracks feature vocalist Lou Ann Barton dueting with Vaughan on songs like “I Miss You So.”  Vaughan’s guitar playing is relaxed, with his signature clean tone still intact.  Most of his solos aren’t flashy, but that’s the point; Vaughan is strolling down memory lane and we’ve been lucky enough to come along. –Tony Peters

Classic Album – Asia – debut (CD review)

Asia – Asia (1982) – CD review –

The progressive rock movement peaked in the early 1970’s, with albums like Fragile from Yes and the debut from Emerson Lake and Palmer.  As the Seventies wore on, people grew tired of the endless noodling and the movement stalled.  That’s what makes Asia such a surprise: four veterans of prog rock turning in a great pop record.

The key here is the delicate balance between virtuosity and melody; a classical guitar lick or keyboard flourish, a little drum fill, helps link the pieces of songs together, but unlike the old days, they get to the point much quicker (no song clocks in at over 6 minutes).  The secret weapon here is guitarist Steve Howe; his clever fretwork adds an element of excitement to these tracks.

“Heat of the Moment,” the album’s most famous track, starts with his guitar, then the band answers with a double thud.  “Only Time Will Tell,” begins with keyboards, then a soaring guitar, but deep down it’s a great ballad.  The only dull moments are the bland “One Step Closer,” and the piano coda to “Cutting it Fine.”  One of the strangest success stories of the early eighties. –Tony Peters

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