CD Review of Revival by John Fogerty
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John Mellencamp, John Hiatt, Bob Seger
Label
Fantasy
John Fogerty: Revival

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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T
here was a period of time where John Fogerty seemed to completely resent everything about the music business. He took nearly a decade in between John Fogerty (1976) and Centerfield (1985) and was involved with lawsuits with his old record company and angry with his band mates. As a part of that resentment, he seemed to distance himself from the rich history and catalogue of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fortunately, time seems to be healing those wounds; the Creedence material is back in the set list and wonderfully represented on 2006’s excellent live album The Long Road Home.

In an ironic twist, Fogerty newest album Revival is on the Fantasy label, the very source of much of his acrimony with the industry. “Creedence Song” reinforces that he has embraced his past, as his band’s work serves as the main character of the track:

Night after night, people comin' up to the bandstand,
And say: You can't go wrong, if you play a little bit of that Creedence song!

Fogerty has always been an interesting lyricist, creating crisp pictures of images that mark time. Giving a nod to his Creedence past seems to symbolically mark that the healing has begun. On “I Can’t Take It No More” he rips at the president and the war and the utopian hippy in him wishes for a better world in “Don’t You Wish It Was True.” “It Ain’t Right” cleverly takes a swipe at the callousness and cluelessness of celebrity culture. The rest of the record focuses on affairs of the heart. “Broken Old Cowboy,” a postscript to a relationship gone awry, and “Longshort” register in the more cynical range. The songs on Revival don’t approach the magic of “Bad Moon Rising” or the political sting of “Fortunate Son,” but the words aren’t lazy.

None of the material is revolutionary or unexpected, but that doesn’t make it bad. Just listening to Fogerty embrace his past is a pleasure. There are no real twists and turns, just a wonderfully pleasant ride. Fogerty’s voice is passionate and sits center stage within the context of the music. There is some very well played subtle musicianship on this record including solid drum work from the always reliable Kenny Aronoff and keyboards from Benmont Tench. It appears as if Mr. Fogerty is back in the game, fully invested and ready to produce a steady amount of work. It may be presumptuous to count on that given his mercurial history, so it’s best to enjoy his work while he’s inspired.

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