FOGHAT                                               RORY GALLAGHER
Boogie Motel (Bearsville)                         Top Priority (Chrysalis)

Lotsa new rock ‘n’ roll out and around these days. Which is fine for us jaded vinyl junkies who spend our time searching out new musical surprises, but what about the rockers who have paid their dues over the years, filling auditoriums with sound, sweat and cigarette butts? Do they deserve to be flicked aside as fickle fashions fade? I say no, as long as the music makes it.

But if the sound softens, like on Foghat’s new LP, then you might begin to wonder. These guys have been among the most best thump forward boogie beasts on the circuit—subtlety ain’t in their song-book—so when the energy begins to slide, what are we left with? A couple mediocre ballads, some reasonable balling rhythms, and two, maybe three, tunes that match the gung-ho grunge they made their marks with. Everything’s got typi­cal lust-a-thon lyrics—nothing deep­er than eight inches here—so no way can anyone talk about any new directions. Except maybe down. Hope Boogie Motel’s just a rest-stop for these guys. Otherwise, the Foggies could be approaching fogiedom.

No worries on that count about Gallagher, though; from the mo­ment Rory roars into the opening bars of “Follow Me,” he lets us know he means business. He keeps his power chords full (but not fat), his leads lean and meaty, and most of his tunes to the point.

The thing that’s always kept Rory apart from the pack is his attention to detail, even when he’s charging straight ahead. He con­trols his tones mainly with his fingers, not a bank of effects, and after a decade on the boards, he can still make blues-based material come alive.

And unlike most rockers his age, Gallagher continues to push him­self. His decision last year to strip his band back to a trio put the load squarely on his shoulders and his music is better off for it. Never an anonymous boogiemeister, he toss­es in electric sitars and dulcimers for variety’s sake and even a potentially bloated blueser, “Off The Handle,” is saved by his fancy fretwork.

I don’t mean to go overboard about the guy but his music really is better now than it has been in years; you don't have to worry about dinosaur droppings when this record's played, anyway.
Michael Davis

This article comes from, the January 1980 issue of CREEM
reformatted by roryfan

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added 6/16/07