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Fogerty's classic improved with two additional tracks mastering isn't perfect but sounds good
on June 29, 2010
John Fogerty was away from the centerfield of the music business for 11 years so it's no surprise that when he returned he hit a homerun with his album "Centerfield". Featuring three hit singles ("The Old Man Down the Road", "Rock 'n' Roll Girls" and the title track), this new edition sounds quite nice and features two b-sides that were on the singles from the follow up album "Eye of the Zombie"-"My Toot Toot" which had been a minor hit for Rockin' Sidney (Sidney Simien who wrote the song and appears on Fogerty's remake)and Queen Ida and Her Bon Temps (who revived it right around the same time and had a hit with the song as well) and "I Confess" by the Bay Area gospel group the Four Rivers. While both songs would have fit better on an "Eye of the Zombie" reissue (the latter was recorded with the band for "Eye"), the swamp rock vibe runs through both so they do sound quite nice here.
Universal if you're listening you should release "I Confess" (editing the first 33 seconds off the beginning)as a single for radio airplay--it's a killer, catchy track and it's a crime that it has been out of circulation for 24 years.
Bob Ludwig's remaster sounds a lot like the previious remaster but lacks some of the dyanmic range of the first edition mastering of this album on CD. The real reason to get this though is to have the b-sides that have been added. The one flaw I found with "Centerfield" was the fact that Fogerty didn't have a real band playing on the album; while his one man band approach had served him well on "John Fogerty" and "Blue Ridge Rangers", the material here would have benefited from a full band AND a real drummer playing REAL drums. It's a minor quibble for an otherwise strong album.
The album got considerable acclaim at the time noting that John Fogerty was in prime form and while the album has been criticized in hindsight as revisiting themes that Fogerty had tackled before, the sheer joy of hearing John play again and ENJOYING himself made up for any short comings of some of the lesser material included on the album. I also imagine that it would be impossible to include the original "Zanz Kant Danz" because of legal issues but it would have been nice to have a bonus DVD with the music videos for the three hit singles (particularly the claymation version of the last song which is a chuckle). Perhaps we'll get a DVD of his music videos and appearences from the time (including the concert he put on for veterans) some time down the road if so I'm hoping that it will be exhaustive and include those uncut videos.
The CD comes in a digipak with a booklet that includes an essay on the making of the album, clippings about the lawsuit against Fogerty for "stealing" his own riffs and style on "The Old Man Down the Road" and song lyrics. Fogerty is well known for destroying alternate takes/mixes of his stuff which is too bad--it would have been interesting to hear Fogerty's earliest demos as bonus tracks here compared to his later stuff.
A personal plea to John Fogerty:
John, now that you're reissued this would you get it together and let Concord Music Group/Fantasy reissue "John Fogerty" and "Blue Ridge Rangers" with the original singles from 1973, 1974 such as "Comin' Down the Road" (which you played on your 2008 Royal Albert Hall Concert DVD)? I realize those were bad years for you but your fans have had to listen to poor sounding bootlegs of these tracks for years and now that Concord has taken control of Fantasy (and done much to mend fences)perhaps you could supervise reissues of these two classic albums with bonus tracks and deluxe liner notes. They are, after all, strong parts of your legacy.
Highly recommended for Fogerty and CCR fans.