Tuesday, October 09, 2007

An aptly named 'Revival'

Let's get one thing straight from the top: By putting out an album called Revival, and by putting a tune called "Creedence Song" in the third slot, John Fogerty raises the expectations over the top.

(And am I the last person on Earth to notice that Fogerty returned to Fantasy Records two years ago? Life was so much simpler when every album on a particular label was labeled with that particular label's label!)

Fogerty, for the one or two of you who didn't know, was the driving force behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, which put together four or five of the best gorram roots-rock records of the late 1960s/early 1970s. There's not a frickin' note wrong on Cosmo's Factory, CCR's greatest project.

By putting out an album called Revival on Fantasy Records and calling one of the tunes "Creedence Song," Fogerty is invoking the memory of his great band and promising some of that stuff before you even take the plastic wrap off the record.

Oh, yeah, that, too: By putting out his first (to my knowledge) album in years that is available on vinyl, he's really signalling "It's back to the basics, baby!"

Long story short: Oh my goodness, he made a promise and he delivers nicely - eventually.

I gotta tell ya, friends, I spent the first five songs on this 12-tune project thinking, "Ho hum, it's the same old solo Fogerty, but it isn't that stuff. Even "Creedence Song" - it's a clever little tune that tosses out a few homages to "Green River" and some of the other gems in his holster, but I spent the first five little country-rock numbers thinking, "Come ON, John, let's get chooglin' already!!!"

Then "Long Dark Night," the last song on Side 1, kicked in with a growling, jangling guitar. From there until the end of "Longshot," the finale, this is the album Fogerty fans have been waiting for since, well, Cosmo's Factory. "Summer of Love" is a funky tribute to that era, part "Purple Haze," part "White Room," a hint of "Sunshine of Your Love," and oh yeah, a big bit of CCR.

"Natural Thing" dives right into the Bayou for a glorious swim, "It Ain't Right" is an echo of "That's All Right Mama" and "Ooby Dooby," and "I Can't Take It No More" is a pedal-to-the-metal rocker in the tradition of "Traveling Band." "Somebody Help Me" is up there with the best of Fogerty's blues-rock yellers, and "Longshot" closes the proceedings with a nice bang. I imagine I'll wear out Side 2 before Side 1.

But it's not simply a nostalgia album. Did I mention that John has a few issues with the current gang of thieves in Washington?

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
You know you lied about the casualties,
You know you lied about the WMDs,
You know you lied about the detainees
All over this world ...

Like Springsteen the other day, Fogerty suffers from the delusion that replacing this specific administration will solve most of the country's problems, which are deep set after percolating for a century, perhaps longer - but it certainly is fun to have two veteran rockers coming back into their own and speaking truth to power in very fine albums that were released the same day.

And a tip of the hat to Wally for pushing me to grab the Fogerty project; I was going to pass after the tepid Deja Vu All Over Again of a couple years' back. At some point I would have encountered Revival and wished I'd bought it earlier; I'm spared that now.

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Anonymous sunni said...

Well, I didn't even know he's still recording! Sounds like a good release.

9:29 AM  

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