The Long Road Home: In Concert Label: Fantasy
John Fogerty’s music, solo and his run with Creedence Clearwater Revival is comfortable, like that old flannel shirt you love to put on when fall starts barking at you. A hefty chunk of his catalogue is spinning on several classic rock stations as you read this. His past is an interesting one as well. Without recapping every detail, he has had nasty acrimonious relationships and litigious dealings with ex-bandmates (including his deceased brother), executives and record companies. He spent nearly a decade in court trying to sort out the details before he started recording again.
Including this album, two of the last four Fogerty releases have been live albums (1997’s Premonition was live, 2004 Déjà Vu All Over Again was studio, and a re-release of 1997’s Blue Moon Swamp with bonus tracks was marketed in 2004). This means there is some overlap between The Long Road Home and Premonition. Eleven of the 24 songs that are performed on this set also appear on the previous live record. Nevertheless, this is an excellent document of the man’s catalogue, in which the familiar material gets a little bit of extra zing from a pretty potent band. The three-guitar approach from Fogerty, rock and roll vet Billy Burnette (Fleetwood Mac and a whole bunch else) and Bob Britt (who has country roots but worked with Fogerty on Déjà Vu) add a bit more muscle to these great songs. “The Old Man Down the Road” features scorching solo work as does the rollicking “Keep on Chooglin’,” which ends up sounding a bit like a ripping Allman brothers jam. “Bad Moon Risin’” is a song that just can’t sound bad. Linked in my mind to the transformation scene in “An American Werewolf in London,” I just can’t help but smile every time I hear it. This version is pedestrian, but does the trick as Fogerty appeases his fans.
There is a miss or two along the way, like the acoustic version of “Déjà Vu All Over Again.” It isn’t a bad song; it just isn’t as good as the rest of the catalogue. I also could do without the political commentary. I am one of those who subscribes to the notion that even if I agree with your opinion, I think you should just play the song and let it speak for itself.
Based on the sizzling band play, the great songs and Fogerty’s voice being in excellent form, this is a live album worth sinking your teeth into.