on May 28, 2013
When I first heard about this album coming out, my intitial response was, "Great, John Fogerty has fallen into the old trap of releasing a cheesy duets album of a bunch of rehashed CCR stuff." But to my pleasant surpise and astonishment, this album is outstanding and breathes a freshness into some of American's greatest rock and roll songs ever written. What I enjoy the most is how each artist brings their own take to the song. True, some like "Almost Saturday Night" don't stray too far from the original, but others like Bob Seger's take on "Who'll Stop the Rain" and Miranda Lambert and Tom Morello on "Wrote a Song for Everyone", showcase these songs in a different and refreshing light. John's two new songs, "Mystic Highway" and "Train of Fools", prove that he is still loaded with a great deal of that songwriting magic. I would be willing to bet that this CD has pumped new life into John Fogerty, and will also introduce him to a whole new audience of folks under the age of 40 who are only familiar with his better known CCR hit singles.
on May 29, 2013
The cynic in me thought, oh here we go again, another R&R veteran cashing in on his old hits. But then Rolling Stone rated this 5 stars and that got my attention. And wow, this is just terrific.
One mark of truly great songs (vs. great recordings) is that they can be reworked many times and sound fresh and new each time, as long as care is taken with the arrangement. Case in point: Proud Mary. The original with CCR, Tina Turner's smoking version, and the version here with Jennifer Hudson and a New Orleans all-star cast are all very different. And each is exceptional.
It becomes completely obvious after only one listen that Fogerty absolutely wanted to avoid the "cashing in" scenario. This is a labor of love. The first clue is that almost every song was recorded in a different studio, meaning Fogerty traveled to wherever was convenient for the collaborators to ensure that the recordings were done together live in the studio, not tacked on after-the-fact overdubs. It makes a huge difference as the collaborators are clearly thrilled to be involved with one of the greatest rock-and-roll songwriters of all time. You can't fake this. For evidence, just listen to the Foo Fighters absolutely shred the opening track "Fortunate Son". Is it possible to be filled with even more venom and bile than the original? Apparently so, but who'd have thought it?
Some of the tracks are quite true to the original, some deviate significantly. No matter. All are terrific. There's also two lesser known solo songs and two new songs. Thankfully, these are interspersed with the rest of the album, not just tacked on to the end as "bonus" tracks. Those four songs might not be anthems that everybody knows by heart but they are damn good and kudos to Mr. Fogerty to ensuring they get some air time.
I can safely say you shouldn't have to make a choice between the classic originals and the versions presented here. Make sure to own them both. For old timers that still sometimes buy actual CDs and not just downloads, I recommend the CD because the booklet has excellent personal notes from Fogerty about each song.
This is going to stay on my playlist for the summer of '13.
on May 29, 2013
For Fogerty fans, the next best thing to a new Fogerty album with new Fogertunes -- is a new Fogerty album with old Fogertunes!
I agree with some other reviewers here that I was skeptical about this duets album. After all, I thought old John had taken a victory NAP on the rather unnecessary "Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again" album a while back, lending only vocals and some background guitar.
Fortunately, here he seems again fully engaged, as a songwriter, singer, guitarist, arranger, and producer.
In short, Fogerty fans will want this album because the Foge and friends breathe new life into some of his best songs. And fans of good music will want this album because -- well, you're not going to find so many classic songs so well played and sung on any other album this year, unless Bob Seger comes up with another "Face the Promise."
There's some wondrous stuff here. The Foo Fighters knock "Fortunate Son" out of the park, and Miranda Lambert and Tom Morello take "Wrote a Song for Everyone" places that lovely ballad has never been. Brad Paisley and the Foge trade scorching gee-tar licks on "Hot Rod Heart," and Alan Toussaint brings his Dixieland magic to "Proud Mary." As for Jennifer Hudson's singing on that timeless song -- lord, but that girl has a set of pipes, and she pulls out all the stops here!
I was also thrilled to hear the new rendition of "Someday Never Comes" by John and a group I had never heard of called Dawes. This song is a lost classic if ever there was one, from CCR's disastrous "Mardi Gras" album -- and I don't know if John has sung it for forty years. I always thought maybe it was too painful for him to sing, given the heartbreaking theme of fathers and sons failing to live up to their promises.
At any rate, the song still has the same immense power today -- one of the most hauntingly beautiful ballads this side of Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Finally, the two new Fogertunes here, "Mystic Highway" and "Train of Fools," show that our old hero still has a closeup and personal relationship with God when it comes to the art of songwriting. "Highway" soars aloft in particular and features a nifty arrangement with a melodious melody, lyrical lyrics, and a glorious gospel break.
I should also mention how good the whole album sounds -- this is a state-of-the-art recording, something not possible in CCR's heyday. You also get an interesting booklet in which John comments on each of these famous compositions. He pulls no punches when he talks about Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War, and good for him!
The amazing thing, as the Rolling Stone review noted, is that John has tons of material for a worthy follow-up album, perhaps even a double. Off the top of my head, I think of songs like "Down on the Corner," "Green River," "Up Around the Bend," "Lookin' Out My Back Door," "Hey Tonight," "Rockin' All Over the World," "Centerfield," "Rock and Roll Girls," "Flyin' Away," "Don't You Wish It Was True," "Joy of My Life," "A Hundred and Ten in the Shade," "Deja Vu," "I Will Walk with You," "Sugar-Sugar," "I Can't Help Myself"... the list goes on and on.
Last but not least, at just $10 for a full hour of prime Fogertunes sung and played to a fare-thee-well, the purchase of this album is simply a no-brainer and one of today's best entertainment bargains. And you certainly don't need 3D glasses to enjoy all this multi-generational goodness! Have you ordered your copy yet?
on May 31, 2013
I just about wore out Pandora, where I discovered the free preview, while waiting for my pre-ordered CDs to arrive in the mail. I bought an extra as a gift to a friend, but opened mine to play in my truck's stereo. I took a long trip today and listened (and sung along), over and over, repeating track 5, "Wrote a Song for Everyone", every time. The artists who joined John are all favorites too, especially Mr. Morello, who politicizes the important messages (for everyone).
This isn't about making money, obviously, because of the low, low price, but for the messages, music, and the fellowship among artists. The music was great company on a 200 mile trip, but I would have enjoyed it more with someone else along with whom to share my stories from when the music was new (and I was younger). I also LOVED the new songs!
Music IS the sound track of our lives, and the update with other artists is a welcome addition. I might add, too, that the CD jacket is worth reading a few times!
on May 31, 2013
I can't stop listening to this album. It's perfect for the sunny summer. I get such a big smile on my face listening to this. Fogerty picked some of his best songs from his Creedence days and for sure his solo years. Hot Rod Heart was always my favorite song on Blue Moon Swamp and he just kicks it into high gear with Brad Paisley. Almost Saturday Night will be a bonafide country hit. My favorite CCR song, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, feels like it was written FOR Alan Jackson. He fits so well with John's arrangement and vocals. And I didn't know who this band Dawes was but their voices work so well with John. Someday Never Comes sounds fantastic. The whole album just gets better and better with every listen. I seriously recommend this to anyone who wants to hear real music. I can't wait to see what Fogerty does next. I need to catch him on tour!
on June 22, 2013
I am digging the hell out of this album. Such a great body of songs. Creedence could be a bit stiff musically; this album has a great core band of Kerry Aronoff on drums, David Santos on bass, and Bob Malone on keyboards, supplemented by great musicians in Nashville and LA. Fogerty's in good voice, with a great roster of guest vocalists. It comes with a touching booklet: Fogerty writing reminiscences for each song; he's a good writer. Yes, part of the pleasure in listening to the album is nostalgic, but it's nostalgia done up right.