Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: John Fogerty, Revival

John Fogerty, as most know, is the singer/songwriter/guitarist who was the heart and soul of Creedence Clearwater Revival.  Since Creedence broke up in 1972 Fogerty has carried on a stop-revivaland-start solo career that has seen as much as eleven years go by between 1986’s “Eye of the Zombie” and 1997’s “Blue Moon Swamp”.  The Creedence albums were released on the Fantasy label and Fogerty had an apparently bitter and unresolved conflict with the label’s owner.  As a result he refused to play any of his Creedence songs.  A couple of years ago Concord Records bought Fantasy and with the old owner gone, Fogerty returned to the label and began playing his Creedance material again.  “Revival” is his first solo album since his return to Fantasy.  If you liked Creedence it’s pretty much everything you hoped it would be.  Fogerty kicks ass.

Fogerty’s great strength – and it is great – is as a songwriter.  He has an extraordinary ability to write straightforward songs that are elegant in the way the lyrics and music fit perfectly like exquisitely crafted dovetail joints.  Other songwriters struggle their whole careers to achieve the simple lyrical flow and scan that Fogerty seems able to turn out by the truckload.  And hooks.  Fogerty knows hooks.  And then there’s that guitar.  Although he’s never embraced the role of the guitar virtuoso Fogerty’s chord driven guitar playing is instantly recognizable and utterly compelling.  As mentioned previously, the man kicks ass.

All of these strengths are on display on “Revival”.  The album is rock oriented, no surprise there, with stronger flavorings of country and gospel than were present in the Creedence days.  Fogerty’s long-delayed embrace of his past is captured in the “Creedence Song” a sly tune about picking up and eventually marrying the waitress at an all night road diner.  Most of countrified material strikes me as the album’s weakest.  “Broken Down Cowboy”, for example, is so maudlin that we go out of our way to skip over it when it comes up.  On the other hand, album opener “Don’t You Wish It Was True” has a relaxed country lilt and it’s one of the strongest songs on the CD.  The song grows on you quietly until you find yourself singing along on “And if tomorrrow / Everyone was your friend / Happiness would never end / Lord, don’t you wish it was true” and really wishing it was true.  It’s a superb example of Fogerty’s talent at writing music and lyrics that fit together seamlessly as one. 

“Don’t You Wish It Was True” is one of two songs on the album that can stand alongside Fogerty’s great Creedence songs.  The other is “Somebody Help Me” a swamp tinged blues that features the kind of driving guitar and rhythmic power that made “Born on the Bayou” a great song.  Another interesting track is “Summer of Love” which features a Creamalicious guitar workout that takes off from the first five notes of Cream’s monumental “Sunshine of Your Love” lick.  The song’s celebration of the San Francisco freak ethos seems odd coming from Fogerty who was from Berkeley but was never part of that scene when it was going on.

When the denizens of Bush-America began using the “red white and blue” line from Fogerty’s Creedence song “Fortunate Son” as a “patriotic” motivator to buy jeans and shit I was dismayed.  “Fortunate Son” was a bitter and angry protest song about how the children of the privileged were exempted from the suffering their politically powerful parents inflicted on the rest of the country.  Now, 40 years later, one of those privileged kids and his cronies are back at it again in Iraq only this time they’re using the music that expressed an older generation’s outrage to drive even more money into corporate coffers.  It did my heart good to see I’m not the only one who feels this way.  On “I Can’t Take It No More”  Fogerty writes

“I bet you never saw the ol’ school yard / I bet you never saw the National Guard / Your daddy wrote a check and there you are / Another fortunate son

I can’t take it no more / I can’t take it no more / Sick and tired of your dirty little war / I can’t take it no more”

 In the words of that older generation, right-fucking-on.

You ain’t been around much, John, and we really didn’t realize just how much we’d missed you.  Hope the new relationship with Fantasy works out and we get to hear more from you.  Long as you keep making albums like “Revival” I’ll keep buyng them and looking forward to the next one.  Don’t be a stranger now.


12/20/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

1 Comment »

  1. […] Road Home In Concert DVD After thoroughly enjoying Fogerty’s recently released CD “Revival” I decided to check out “The Long Road Home In Concert”.  Fogerty has returned […]

    Pingback by Review: John Fogerty, The Long Road Home In Concert DVD « Tuned In To Music | 12/29/2007 | Reply

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