THE ALBUM -- "Tight Shoes," Bearsville Records (BHS 6999).
Foghat, the blues-based rock 'n' roll off-shoot of England's Savoy Brown band, has enjoyed a variety of artistic and commercial successes in the last decade -- mainly because of the group's long-term ability to cling to its musical roots. But that very tenacity, clearly evident on the group's latest album, now sounds less like an artistic statement and more like a hollow preoccupation with past performances.
"Tight Shoes," the foursome's tenth LP, is a collection that suffers from an unrelenting sameness. Though a couple of cuts are decent, the album is nearly beaten into mush by the constant, bruising bass line and the incessant drumbeat.
Almost as annoying are the generally humdrum lyrics: Movin' down the line, I'm not too far behind. Don't treat me so unkind. Baby, can I change your mind?
"Full Time Lover" is an earthy, pleasing tune with a mostly mindless lyric about monogamous realationships. But a bit of luck this time: The song is graced with a lilting vocal break that nearly manages to make the song work: If it wasn't for me, My house would be deserted. If it wasn't for me, I would have someone to hold on to.
Foghat is a team of talents captained by "Lonesome" Dave Peverett who wrote all the tracks, sings lead vocal and plays guitar. On drums is Roger Earl, who, along with Peverett, played for Savoy Brown. Rod Price signed on as guitarist after answering an ad and auditioning for the job. Later, Craig MacGregor was brought in to replace Tony Stevens, the original bass man.
"Tight Shoes" isn't too uncomfortable. There are a few good moments: "Be My Woman" is a solid selection brought together by a driving, gutsy guitar; and "No Hard Feelings" gets beyond the moon/spoon/June syndrome and into some emotional blues.
Taken in small doses, the album can offer a slight degree of satisfaction. Just don't play all eight songs at once: There's simply too much sameness to tackle in one sitting.