Today I am back to do another music review after an absence of a couple of weeks. This week I am going back in time. I am reviewing an album that was released about a year ago by an artist who has been making music since the Bad Moon Rising. John Fogerty was the primary song writer for the American roots rock band affectionately known as Creedence Clearwater Revival. The band, also known as Creedence or CCR, gained popularity in the late sixties and early seventies with a string of successful hits. Creedence founded a new genre within rock music called swamp rock. The band was formed with John’s two other school buddy’s Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook, and John’s older brother Tom. The three younger members used to back Tom Fogerty at gigs until they decided to form a band together. Tom was the original singer but John took over the lead duties as Tom later stated “I could sing, but John had a sound.” Creedence eventually broke up over leadership and direction in the middle seventies and John went solo. He recorded one record called “The Blue Ridge Rangers” with the Creedence label. Then began the struggle to get out of his contract with that original label. It wasn’t until the early eighties when David Geffen’s Asylum Records bought out his contract for an estimated $1Mil before Fogerty released another record. His next major hit came in 1985 with the song “Centerfield”. However he refused to do any old CCR songs while on tour. He received many complaints about this during and after his shows. Finally in 1987 he lifted his self-imposed ban to perform the CCR songs at the persuading of Bob Dylan and George Harrison who had joined him on stage. According to Wikipedia, the persuasion went like this “if you don’t, the whole world’s gonna think ‘Proud Mary’ is Tina Turner’s song”. Today John Fogerty performs the CCR songs along with his solo material.
The latest album by John Fogerty is called “Revival“. It was released on October 2nd, 2007. It was his first release in almost three years. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Album in 2007. It reached #11 in Rollingstone’s list of Top 50 albums of 2007. The album is definitely a “revival” back to the swamp rock genre he established with CCR in the sixties. The album begins with “Don’t You Wish it Was True” which was the first single release on the album. The song is a typical Fogerty rhythm in 4/4 time about wishing for a social paradise. The chorus sings:
But if tomorrow everybody was your friend
Anyone could take you in
No matter what or where you’d been
But if tomorrow everybody had enough
The world wasn’t quite so rough
Lord don’t you wish it was true
That would be a nice wish. But as long as there is sin, this wishful world will not exist. But one day, if you have trusted in Christ as the only remedy for this sin, the paradise mentioned can be found. The next track is called “Gunslinger”. It is a very cool song about trying to right the wrongs in this world. The bridge solo is so reminiscent of the old CCR stuff that I could almost smell the seventies. Ewwwww!
I think we need a gunslinger
Somebody tough to tame this town
I think we need a gunslinger
There’ll be justice all around
The third track is “Creedence Song” and an authentic return to that swamp rock sound Fogerty is well known for. The song contains so many of those patented Fogerty guitar fills you can’t stop your foot from tapping. With the down and bluesy swamp solo you can’t help but sing and dance right along. The next track “Broken Down Cowboy” slows things down to a slow poke blues pace. It is a nice ballad with enough cowpoke cliche’s to go around. Perfect for that slow dance. The next song “River is Wating” changes to a more electric guitar sound. I love the finger picking rhythm that runs throughout the song. The simple chord progression consists of three plucked chords with the third one held for an extra couple of beats.
Album highlights include the first three songs “Don’t You Wish it Was True, “Gunslinger”, and “Creedence Song”, then the electric “River is Waiting”. I love “Summer of Love” which is a tribute to the summer in the year 1969. The song sounds so much like a Jimi Hendrix song with it’s overdriven distorted guitars and feedback that I could almost “kiss the sky”. “It Ain’t Right” is about all those pop culture tarts who do nothing but consume and waste their life. It is a very fun short song. Ok, I do like “I Can’t Take It No More” even though it is a blatant bash on the Bush administration. I think it is Fogerty’s first attempt to play punk type music and it comes off real well. The vocals on the song are CCRish. Is that a word? Well it should be. The album ends with a very rowdy song called “Long Shot”. The lyrics are typical rock n’ roll. The music sounds like the Rolling Stones in a swamp boat.
The found this album while searching through the latest classic rock titles on the Amazon.com web site. The album is markedly better than his last release and is a definite return to his swamp rock roots. If you can get past the couple of anti-Bush songs, which is also typical Fogerty style, then it will be an enjoyable listen for you as well. I give John Fogerty’s “Revival” four stars out of five. Rock On!
Please watch the video for “Don’t You Wish it Was True”. It is quite cute.