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Book Review: Motorcars of the Classic Era

by Lang Reid

The front cover of this week’s book caught my attention. Motorcars of the Classic Era (Tehabi Books, 2003, ISBN 0-8109-4666-1) is a very artistic volume of work from Michael Furman, a classically trained photographer.

Furman’s classic era is 1925 to 1948, and whilst not corresponding with “vintage” or “veteran” or “post war thoroughbreds” still covers 23 years within which the world as we know it changed dramatically.

The book splits the cars into American, British and Continental and even has a page of suggested reading at the back, plus some notes on all the colour plates. And a list of the owners, none of whom is obviously down to their last million!

I took the volume over to our automobile writer, Dr. Iain Corness, and asked for his opinion. “While I believe Furman’s idea of the ‘Classic’ era is arbitrary, he has captured some of the seminal vehicles of that time. There is nobody who would question the inclusion of the Duesenbergs, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and Bugatti’s, but there could be those who might question the inclusion of the Du Pont or the L 29 Cord, for example. I would very quickly point out that the Gordon Buehrig designed Cord 810 and 812’s are included, and worthily so. However, it is the omissions list that I find the hardest to accept. The Horch has only the engine details, but no overall shot of the car. The Bugatti Royale does not feature (even though the delightful 57 SC Atlantic coupe does), nor the Bucciali TAV or the Invicta 4 1/2 litre low chassis Black Prince. The details of the cars are given at the end of the book, whereas I would have preferred them to be attached to the photographic plates. They are very much thumbnail sketches, and the sheer detail of the photography is not echoed in the sheer detail in the words. However, this is the book that any real enthusiast should have in his or her library. As a photographic record of some of the cars of the era, it is without peer.”

The review copy was made available by Bookazine, where it had an RRP of 2,350 baht. The important item to note from Dr. Iain is where the precedence lay in compiling this book. It is not a ‘car’ book with photographic illustrations, but an ‘art photography’ book, using cars as the subject. It could just as easily have been classic female nudes, if it were not for the fact that photographer Michael Furman is obviously a ‘car’ man.

The photography is just sensational, with clever use of light and shade. The prints are all on very high quality art paper and are totally in focus. The close-up details of small parts of the vehicles are just as exciting as the cars themselves. Page 98 has the hood ornament of the 1928 Cadillac 341A Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton, a silver pageboy with the Cadillac heraldic shield on his tunic, and it is pure art. The Lalique radiator ornaments are likewise priceless collectible items these days. Despite the price, it is worth it!

Mott's CD Reviews:  Foghat - Live

Pawed by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew

3 Stars ***

Lonesome Dave Peverett, Tone Stevens, and Roger Earl were all in the most stable and popular of the lineups of Savoy Brown, along with band’s main man and guitarist Kim Simmonds. But after five albums and countless nights on the road, Lonesome Dave Peverett thought it was time to strike out on his own.

Bidding a hasty cheerio to Kim Simmonds and leaving him to look for new musicians to carry on the Savoy Brown flag, Dave took Roger and Tone with him and went off to conquer the world. Leaving the security of the Savoy Brown name, they moved to America and welcomed American Rod Price into their ranks to share lead guitar duties with Dave. Rod specialized in slide guitar work and this gave the band a pretty unique duel guitar attack, which was matched up with Dave’s forceful vocals; and with the established rhythm section of Tone and Roger the floor was set for the band to take to the road with their version of blues and boogie.

In 1977 when ‘Live’ came out, it turned Foghat into one of America’s top drawing live acts. To the rest of the world they didn’t mean a thing. They would be lucky to fill the Marquee Club, which holds about 200 people, in their home country in England, and then it would be mainly American tourists. Whereas in America they could pull in audiences of up to 200,000 screaming fans, and ‘Live’ itself went platinum. Strange old world.

On ‘Live’ you get six great big slabs of Foghat’s boogie/rock. Right from the over the top introduction, where the announcer screams himself hoarse in six words such is his excitement, it’s party time all the way. As you can tell by the titles, the songs do not have much prophetic reasoning behind them. All the lyrics are about living, loving, drinking, and surviving on the road. At three minutes and thirty seconds of the second number in ‘Home In My Hand’, the band gives the song a false ending, only to come crashing straight back in with another verse louder than previously played, and breaking into an a capella verse before finally finishing the song, showing off the dynamics learnt by the band during their continuous touring.

Add to this Dave Peverett’s between song stage banter, and some explosive slide guitar from Rod Price, particularly during the two versions of the hit singles ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You’ and ‘Slow Ride’, which are both extended to eight minutes. See what I mean about the songs now? I wonder what those two are about?

You have got truly entertaining, nearly forty minutes, great Rock ‘n’ Roll. Now this is where Mott gets rowdy. Thirty eight minutes, thirty eight seconds is not long enough for today’s CDs. I am sure that when these concerts were recorded that Foghat were on stage for more than forty minutes. So there must be some more recorded songs that could be slotted back in, now that we have the longer DVD format. Forty minutes may have been O.K. in the days of vinyl because of time constraints, but a DVD can take up to seventy two minutes without any loss of sound quality.

Then when you add to that the slipshod recording from the original, you can see why so many people get disillusioned by the music business. It says on the packaging ‘’Digital Re-mastering by Bill Inglot and Ken Perry at K-Disc.” Well, obviously at K-Disc re-mastering consists of putting the vinyl L.P. on, press play on record to DVD, do not check the levels (dramatic loss of bottom end from the vinyl edition), have a beer, and wait till it’s finished. What a waste. Still, someday somebody will probably do it properly.

Later, Foghat would get the Spinal Taps and almost have a revolving door policy, with bass players in particular lasting alarmingly short times between coming and going. (I counted at least nine on their rock family tree including at sometime both the talents of Robbie Alter and Kenny Aaronson.)

In 1986 there were two Foghats, one under the leadership of drummer Roger Earl, and one with Lonesome Dave Peverett, with none of the other founding members in either band. Even Spinal Tap did not have those problems. But in 1989 wise heads prevailed and Roger and Dave patched up their differences, while Tone and Ron were recalled to the ranks. For ten further years the original members of Foghat ate up that ‘Road Fever’, after which Rod Price called a halt to his Foghat days and went solo.

In 1991 Lonesome Dave was cruelly taken from us by cancer of the kidneys. Still today Roger Earl and Tone Stevens keep the Foghat flag flying, playing live the length and breadth of the United States of America together with new vocalist Charlie Huhn - dedicating every night to Lonesome Dave.

‘Live’ is a fine album from the seventies, which is just begging for a proper upgrade. If you want to have a listen anyway, remember to turn the bass up.

Lonesome Dave Peverett - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Rod Price - Guitar and Vocals
Roger Earl - Drums
Craig MacGregor - Bass and Vocals


Fool For The City
Home In My Hand
I Just Wanna Make Love To You
Road Fever
Honey Hush
Slow Ride

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]