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Foghat – Family Joules (Reissue)

Family Joules (Reissue)
by Dave Nowels at 21 May 2020, 7:28 PM

Originally released in 2003, “Family Joules” was FOGHAT's 14th studio release, and their first without founding member, vocalist and guitarist Dave Peverett, who passed away from kidney cancer in 2000. It was also the first album without slide guitarist extraordinaire, Rod “The Bottle” Price who would later succumb from a heart attack induced fall in 2005. FOGHAT is one of those band's that most people have at least heard of, being best known for their ambitious cover of Willie Dixon's “I Just Want To Make Love To You” from their 1972 eponymous debut. Originally a band based in England, FOGHAT relocated to the United States with their record deal and experienced moderate success with “Fool For The City” and “Slow Ride” and others thru the '70's until musical tastes began to shift.

Over the next couple of decades, the band did it's best to adapt, at times disbanding and augmenting line-up as members came and went. There was even a original band reunion in the '90's, before the deaths of Peverett and Price. Best known for his work with Ted Nugent and Gary Moore, vocalist Charlie Hahn occupies frontman real estate here on “Family Joules”, his second studio release with the at the time new version of FOGHAT. Vocally, it's a great fit, blending perfectly with the bluesy 70's Rock radio style that still resonates today. This re-issue is an album that somehow never crossed my radar until this review copy arrived for me to check out, and I have to say I'm glad it did.

Whether you're a old school FOGHAT fan, a fan of earthy 70's vintage Rock, a slide guitar fan, Blues fan or just a fan of swagger, this is one to check out. There's not a bad track to be found, though at times things do bog down a bit ( “Hit the Ground Running”, I'm looking at you.). But, when they're on, there's firing on all cylinders. Recommended tracks : “Long Time Coming”, “Hero To Zero” and definitely, “I'm a Rock 'n Roller”, which vocally sounds straight out of the Bon Scott led AC/DC songbook style. Somewhat surprising, it still manages to sound like FOGHAT. How they manage that feat has to be the unique prominence of slide guitar, here handled expertly by Bryan Bassett. That factor can transform a song with a cringe worthy title, “Sex With the Ex”, into a memorable one via the solo alone.

“Family Joules” is a fun, intriguing album. It's also one that shows how a band can grow and evolve in a tough atmosphere. The music business is vicious, with bands discarded callously as trends change. FOGHAT shows that talent and tenacity can overcome that type of adversity. To that point, they're still active today. Their most recent album was 2016's “Upside of Lonely”, which I fully intend to check out next. This reissue is a good one. It stands strong nearly two decades later, and is one I'd recommend highly.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7


3 Star Rating

1. Mumbo Jumbo
2. Hero To Zero
3. Thames Delta Blues
4. Flat Busted (And Out Of Gas)
5. I Feel Fine
6. I`m A Rock `N Roller
7. Hit The Ground Running
8. Looking For You
9. Long Time Coming
10. Sex With The Ex
11. Self-Medicated
12. Mean Voodoo Woman
13. Voodoo Woman Blues
Charlie Hahn - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Bryan Bassett - Guitar, Vocals
Tony Stevens - Bass, Vocals
Roger Earl - Drums
Record Label: Metalville Records


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Edited 16 January 2021

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