Revival

John Fogerty

John Fogerty says of his new album, Revival: “I wanted this one to be a lot more fun than some of the past records have been.” And these 12 songs do indeed sound fun. Backed by an impressive band that consists of Kenny Aronoff on drums, Hunter Perrin on guitar, David Santos on bass and ‘guest’ Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers) on keys — Fogerty claims he laid down the basic tracks for Revival in just 12 days. The end result is an organic, swift CD with expert performances, straightforward production, and Fogerty’s strong and distinctive vocals and guitar work.

As usual, Fogerty attempts to couch his politics in many of his catchy tunes. “Gunslinger,” “River Is Waiting” and “Long Dark Night” are infused with lyrical satire that pokes holes in today’s political landscape — all backed by solid instrumentation and that great, unmistakable Fogerty wail. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer plays some great guitar here too, and with a drummer like Arnoff rocking on tracks like “I Can’t Take It No More” and “Summer Of Love” (the second best song on the CD), along with Tench’s superb organ on “Natural Thing,” there’s nary a missed note anywhere on this CD. In fact, many of these songs find Fogerty sounding like he’s having as much fun with this band as he ever did with Creedence Clearwater Revival. The best song here is the poignant “Broken Down Cowboy.” Fogerty has always been succinct when it comes to songwriting, and with this self-produced collection, he knows what to say, when to say it, and how long to say it before wrapping it all up. One more verse or an added instrument could have hurt “Cowboy,” but the masterful craftsmanship behind the song’s arrangement is about as good as it gets when it comes to simple, original American songwriting.

Much has been made of Fogerty’s battle with Fantasy Records and how, for many years, he refused to play Creedence Clearwater Revival songs in concert so Fantasy couldn’t collect any performance royalties. Fantasy, with new owners, and Fogerty have since reconciled, and the music that has followed shows a definite return to form. No longer under the duress of his past and his many talents intact, John Fogerty’s Revival proves that even at this stage of the game, the famed CCR frontman still has a trick or two up his sleeve.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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