Freedom Rock Fest

Foghat Playing Live On-stage
Radio station 102.9 WMGK and the Camden County Board of Freeholders put on the Let Freedom Rock Fest on July 4. The show opened with their houseband, The Dead Poets. They got the crowd jumping with a good mix of coversongs. Then, The Marshal Tucker Band took the stage for a set of southern rock culminating with their hit “Can’t You See”. Even though there is only one original member, it was still a reasonable show (though I couldn't tell if some of the flute playing was pre-recorded?)

You might have thought that the headliner, Foghat, would be a let down. After all, two of the original members are dead. Lead singer and guitarist “Lonesome” Dave Peverett died of cancer in 2000. Lead and slide guitarist Rod Price died from a fall in 2005. How could the remainder of the old folks in this classic band still rock?

Unlike Journey and Yes that have resorted to recruiting replacements from YouTube tribute bands, Foghat enlisted two superb veterans. Charlie Huhn has been Foghat’s lead vocalist and guitarist since Lonesome Dave’s death. Charlie has a great voice and plays a solid guitar. In 1978, he joined the Ted Nugent band for the album Weekend Warriors. At the time, Nugent was one of the hottest bands selling out large stadiums around the world. Charlie recorded three studio albums and two live albums before leaving Nugent’s band in 1982. Between 1982 and 1987, he did a variety of projects including a band with former Alice Cooper members called DeadRinger. From 1989 to 1999, he was the lead vocalist for Humble Pie. Now, he brings his energy and enthusiasm to Foghat for some outstanding frolicking boogie blues rock.

Bryan Bassett took Rod Price’s place on lead and slide guitars. In the 1970’s, Bryan was in the band Wild Cherry when they had their big hit, “Play That Funky Music, White Boy”. (During his on-stage introduction, Foghat broke into a bit of the song.) For the 1990’s Bryan played with Molly Hatchet. His guitar style complements Charlie’s to give Foghat the ability combine rhythm and solos in a spectacular way.

Craig MacGregor has been Foghat’s “on again / off again” bassist since 1976. He recorded “Night Shift” in 1976, a live album in 1977, and “Stone Blue” in 1978. Although most people would think the album “Fool For The City” was Foghat’s biggest album, it was actually the live album that achieved the highest sales record selling over 2,000,000 copies.

The combination of Craig and original drummer, Roger Earl, give Foghat that solid boogie rhythm section. Roger was in the group Savoy Brown from 1967 - 1970 before leaving to form Foghat with Dave Peverett and bassist Tony Stevens. “Roger Earl is the man with the beat. Pounding his drums for over 35 years, this British rock ‘n’roller is partial to rock & blues (always has been).”

The Foghat set for the Freedom Rock Fest concert included: Ride, Ride, Ride, Chateau Lafitte ‘59 Boogie, Drivin’ Wheel, Third Time Lucky, Fool for the City, I Just Want To Make Love To You and Slow Ride. The last two songs reached such a fevered pitch it looked like the guitarist's fingers might fall off! It was some of the cleanest and quickest playing ever witnessed.

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