My conscious intro to John Fogerty was his Centerfield album singles like “Rock & Roll Girls” and “The Old Man Down The Road” in the mid-80s. This is the time a person is the most impressionable in music and impressed I got. I put Fogerty’s “Revival album” in my list this week and boy did it cut through and impress.
I feel for the generation or two after mine who didn’t grow up with Creedence and The Eagles as a baseline part of their musical landscape. I admire both of those bands tremendously for their ability to create such well crafted songs without sounding like they tried too hard. “Hotel California” was a huge amount of work for a lot of writers over a lot of time but the result is stunning. Creedence may have been simpler rootsy rock but pick almost any of their songs like “Green River” or “Run Through The Jungle” and…
Funny then that I don’t really listen to either band’s records. I have a “Best Of” each one that only rarely gets a spin. But what I do listen to are my Don Henley, Glenn Frey and John Fogerty albums. I value these records highly.
John’s latest album bridges the gap so wonderfully. He clearly set out to write a record that would do exactly that. It is like a new CCR album that fits right in there with the classic stuff whilst still showing an older Fogerty. This could so easily have been a soulless pastiche that made a few coins and left no value but instead John takes the style of the old records people love and wrote new stories that fit in perfectly to express a man coming to terms with a world he sees now compared to where he was a a younger man. In many ways it is the things he spoke out for in the 60’s and feels he has to again call for now. Did the 60’s really change anything?
This record cuts though as it is so simple and direct (at least on the surface). There is no turning away from anything he has to say. I may not agree with him at times but I don’t feel that he expects me to have to. I can respect him for saying it either way. Gunslinger it is hard to disagree with. Most us oldies feel this way. May be a part of getting old but hey that is a part of this record even though it is unspoken.
As an adult my first Fogerty album was “Blue Moon Swamp”. I can’t remember exactly why I got this one over Centerfield (may have been on special) but I did and boy what a good call. A lovely record with tender moments that you just don’t expect from the man’s general reputation. These elevate a rocker record from being just a good time (Southern Streamline) to special places (Joy Of My Life, A Hundred And Ten In The Shade). From here I decided to get Centerfield and then got Revival when it came out.
Over all his records John maintains his ability to be a great guitarist and singer by letting it all seem so simple and allow the story to win. That said I think he makes the opposite decision live as while he is still all-of-the-above as a singer and guitarist I feel he lets the songs take second place to the more self-centered chugga-chugga thing. Most of his audience love this though so I know that there I am odd man out. His studio records give me what I want.
All good calls.