John Fogerty: Revival


On John Fogerty’s new album Revival the ex-leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival acknowledges the brilliance of his past work rather than deny it. But the wry likes of “Creedence Song” notwithstanding, an air of self-consciousness pervades the album, which begs the question of whether Fogerty’s embrace of his past now overcompensates for that period he boycotted it over twenty-years ago?

John Fogerty’s core strengths, however, remain vital and vigorous: a voice as capable of howling as warbling and a style of electric guitar playing that is the most unique blend of country and blues of his generation. “It Ain’t Right’ and “Natural Thing,” exhibit those attributes as well as the mesh of the band and the impeccable sound quality –courtesy in part no doubt to Bob Ludwig’s mastering but most credit for which should go to Fogerty as producer.

It is telling the credits on the back of Revival read identical to those on CCR albums: ‘arranged and produced by John Fogerty. ‘ But no lyric sheets accompanied the best Creedence albums and the words shouldn’t have been included here:  the verbiage of “Don’t’ You Wish It Was True” and  “Summer of Love” are not poignant but simplistic as are the transparent potshots taken at our current White House staff on “Long Dark Night.”

Long Road Home, the anthology release in 2004 upon Fogerty’s rapprochement with Fantasy Records under its new ownership, juxtaposed Creedence tracks with John’s solo material and unintentionally made the point that the former is far superior to the latter.   Revival reaffirms that same point, albeit indirectly: there is no tune here to equal “Fortunate Son” or “Up Around the Bend.”
Yet Revival boasts bonafide attractions and not wholly superficial ones either. Even in the self-induced throes of the arena-rock grandiosity derivative of latter-day Bob Seger (who could stand to confront his own history),” John Fogerty doesn’t sound like a nostalgia act on  “Longshot,” and he never will. His virtues (including an unwavering commitment to his music) have always been and continue to be timeless.

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