Monday, September 24, 2007

John Fogerty -- Revival

John Fogerty, Mr. CCR himself, has a new album called Revival due out October 2nd. This one is getting a lot of pre-release hype, and it's being hailed as Fogerty's best work since his Creedence Clearwater Revival days.

Umm, no. It's not bad, and musically it's actually kinda great, but I haven't heard so many wince-inducing couplets since I ... well, since I sang a couple of those Vineyard choruses yesterday morning. Never mind. But if this rock 'n roll thing goes down the tubes, John, you probably have a big career ahead of you rhyming "loss" and "cross" and "grace" and face."

The good news is that Fogerty sounds absolutely fabulous. His voice, which is a force a nature, one of the greatest rock 'n roll sledgehammers ever, is still miraculously in its prime. And certainly he rocks harder here than he has at any time during his sporadic solo career. Fogerty gets in his scathing digs at the current presidential administration and actually conjures up the old dread of "Bad Moon Rising" on "Long Dark Night," the highlight of the album. There are two short rockabilly numbers here -- "It Ain't Right" and "I Can't Take It No More" -- that will have longtime fans recalling "Travelin' Band." And "Creedence Song" (not the only piece of self-referential work on the album) whips up that old, familiar swamp boogie that fueled albums like Bayou Country and Green River.

The bad news is that Fogerty doesn't have a poetic bone in his body, and he can only present ideas in hackneyed Hallmark Card cliches that I would like to think even the Hallmark company would have the good sense to reject. There's a lot of wistful hearkening back to the Summer of Love (including the song "Summer of Love," which manages the considerable feat of stealing the guitar riffs from both Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love"). There's a lot of cowboy imagery, in which John claims that what the country needs is a good gunslinger (which I thought he had labeled as the problem in "Long Dark Night," but maybe it's only a problem when the gunslingers are in the White House). Then there is the album's first single "Don't You Wish It Was True?," in which John opines that it sure would be swell if everybody loved each other. Don't come looking for deep thoughts. Or consistency.

So consider it a decidedly uneven effort. This is one time when singing the proverbial phone book would have been preferable to the actual lyrics.


Trip McClatchy said...

Nice review Andy.

Creedence were my Beatles - I'm not sure I ever loved a band as deeply (maybe Springteen, The Clash, the Mats or The Hold Steady). But Fogerty's solo stuff has been uneven at best, unlistenable (Eye of The Zombie) at worst. His classic CCR broadsides were apolitically political. Now he's lyrically bankrupt... and has been since Centerfield.

The guy is just so bitter - it has eaten him up and stifled his creativity. I've listened to the new disc and it sounds good, it just isn't very good.

But I'm still going to see him again, because, as you noted, that voice hasn't lost any of its power to raise the dead.

Down on the corner, outy in the street.

jackscrow said...

I still occasionally play music in bars for money, and over the years have come to hate CCR.

But not enough to not dig one out when the audience has no idea who Earle, Lovett or Keen are....

Anonymous said...



Great to see a write-up about Fogerty's new CD, whether or not it's good, bad or indifferent. It all works out in the wash.

Since music is such a subjective matter, maybe on the outside chance that any other open minded readers come in to read this blog, at least allow them to make up their own minds about Don't You Wish it Was True.


Thank the heavens Fogerty keeps it simple and isn't in the business of being expected to place a rover on the surface of Mars. At least a few rockers are left on earth recording tunes that are not as deep and so meaningful as to be as confusing as a Ph d. science project. And, "...wince-inducing couplets..."? Think Phil and Don's: Bye Bye Love!

And Trip: It's now the 21st Century. If Fogerty appears bitter in that video, I'll give ya' my cherished '59 Les Paul gold-top and my vintage Jerry Garcia Fender Twin.

Thanks for the venue to spout . . .

You'll find me... Looking out my back door ...

~Old Rockin' Coot~


Andy Whitman said...

Hey you old coot, thanks for your comments. You're right, people can certainly make up their own minds, and I appreciate you providing the link to the video.

I like Fogerty. I keep hoping he'll make a great album. Unfortunately, I don't think he's made one this time either, but I think he's made a pretty good one.

Anonymous said...


Hey Hey Andy,

Thanks for the reply.

"Pretty good" beats the hell outta nothin' at all, or a rehash of great old tunes with a few new gems thrown in. Especially if folks who do appreciate Foge's works don't have to wait seven to 8 years between discs...

Give it time, it'll wear well on ya'.

You have a good blog here. I've bookmarked ya' and I'll be sliding through every once in a Blue Moon.

Oh and before I forget. For a little added background try this online poetry taken from a chap-book from the '60s by someone I knew real well before he became an old coot. Feel free to wander through the pages at Silly as it Seems...

Be well, autumn's here and winter's on it's way.

~Old Rockin' Coot~


St. Izzy said...

It could be worse, Andy, and by "it" I mean Sunday morning music, and by "worse" I mean Haugen-Haas. Not only is the writing insipid and facile, the music is oddly difficult for a congregation to follow.

Cf. posts & com boxes here and here.


Andy Whitman said...

Izzy, thanks for the links. The song parodies were wonderful, although sadly (or perhaps not) I don't know the originals.

I do have my own fond memories of folk Masses from the '60s:

I saw raindrops on my window
Joy is like the rain
Laughter runs across my pain (pane?)
Slips away and comes again
Joy is like the rain

Whew. Too metaphorical for me, although I've sometimes sensed that mild perturbation is like snow. Or fog. In San Francisco. Amen.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Heard Fogerty's gunslinger song on XM radio today and thought absentmindedly, "That sounds like John Fogerty, but it sounds too young to be Fogerty." Went in to check the TV screen and sure enough it was. I think he's been gargling at the Fountain of Youth. I'm glad he's still out there pounding away.