Saturday, May 11, 2013

Foghat - Zig-Zag Walk

Today (May 11th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Zig-Zag Walk, the twelfth studio album from the British rock band Foghat. It charted at number 192 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

The line-up for the group for this album was Dave Peverett (guitar and vocals), Erik Cartwright (guitars), Roger Earl (drums) and new bassist Kenny Aaronson. Peverett wrote five of the tracks while Cartwright penned one.

Side one begins with “That’s What Love Can Do”, the second single from the album. The first thing that hit me as the song opened was how much like a lot of early 80’s pop-rock this one sounded; it is very much a tune which Rick Springfield would have done. For me, this was definitely off to a good start.

The title track is next. “Zig-Zag Walk” is a bit hard to categorize too. It has a great toe-tapping beat, a hint of blues rock and some David Bowie thrown in too. It all really works together though.

“Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” was first recorded in 1946 by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five and it topped the R&B charts for eighteen weeks later that year. Over the years it was covered by many artists including B.B. King, Joe Jackson, John Denver and the Manhattan Transfer. Foghat gives their take here in a blizzard of no-holds-barred boogie-woogie. It has a lot of energy that cannot be denied.

“Jenny Don’t Mind” keeps the up-beat pace going. Written by Cartwright, it naturally has a big guitar solo for the bridge.

Looking for a break by this point? Well, you won‘t find it here. “Three Wheeled Cadillac” closes the side out with some pedal-to-the-metal rockabilly. This one is a workout and, I’m sure, the band had a lot of fun playing it.

Side two opens with “It’ll Be Me”, written by Memphis blues-man Jack Clement. This one has all the trademarks of the early days of rock ‘n’ roll which Clement knew quite well (seeing he worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison in the late 1950’s).

“Silent Treatment”, with a raucous rhythm that is anything but, is about a gal who refuses to speak to her man out of sheer stubbornness.

“Down the Road a Piece” is a boogie-woogie tune written by Don Raye and recorded in 1940 by the Will Bradley Trio; it was a top 10 hit by the end of the year. This one has been recorded by the likes of Glenn Miller, Chuck Berry, Manfred Mann, the Rolling Stones and Brownsville Station. Foghat does a good job on this classic as well.

“Seven Day Weekend”, the first single from the album, is all about finding as much time as possible to spend with the one you love. American blues man Paul Butterfield plays the harmonica on the track.

The final track “Linda Lou” keeps things rollicking and rolling for one more time. This one reminds me of the one time a work buddy and I went out to listen to the blues in a small Chicago club.

I was familiar with Foghat and their heavier brand of rock from their 70’s catalog. I had not heard Zig-Zag Walk until I was doing this review and was pleasantly surprised by it. Here in 1983, however, they had jumped into the sound that was serving well folks like the Stray Cats and more - a musical style that I very much got into in the early 80’s.

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