Rock and Roll Outlaws

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After establishing a new level of credibility on record with 1974's Energized, Foghat cranked out another album of boogie rock before the year ended. The result, Rock and Roll Outlaws, is not as consistently inspired as its predecessor but remains a worthwhile listen for the group's fans. This time out, the group settles for a more straight-forward boogie sound that downplays the experiments that spiced up Energized. As a result, the songs are often solid but uninspiring: "Trouble in My Way" has some pleasant acoustic guitar work but feels like a throwaway tune while the title track cruises along in an amiable fashion but never catches fire the way a song with a title like "Rock and Roll Outlaw" should. However, when the band is firing on all four cylinders, Rock and Roll Outlaws is a joy: "Eight Days on the Road" is a hard-charging tune about the touring life that became a live favorite, and the good-time raver "Chateau Lafitte '59 Boogie" is one of the most exhilarating rockers in the Foghat catalog. "Blue Spruce Woman" is another crafty rocker, benefiting from a witty lyric about a nature-loving woman and some of the gutsiest guitar riffs on the album. It should also be noted that these high points are given an additional shot in the arm by Nick Jameson's sympathetic production, which manages to bring out a sharpness of detail in the sound without cutting back on its heaviness. Overall, Rock and Roll Outlaws probably has limited appeal to the casual listener but offers enough energetic boogie rock to make it worthwhile for anyone into Foghat.

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