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John Fogerty reclaims his rightful place among America's most iconic and revered artists with Revivial; 12 all-new songs that incorporate the best elements of an artist that deeply resonates with generations of music fans and thousands of other artists he has influenced throughout the years.
The self-referential title of Fogerty's first album in three years is no mere play on words; this is as close as he's gotten in a long while to duplicating the loose swamp blues, country, folk, soul and rock that he so memorably created a template for in Creedence Clearwater Revival. Thankfully the advertisement for downloaded ringtones in the disc's booklet is the only contemporary influence creeping into this stripped-down set of rootsy rockers and ballads. Fogerty's voice sounds great throughout; passionate, more committed and comfortable with these songs than he has seemed in years. His material has often leaned towards politics, especially as it concerns the working class, but seldom as directly as on the gutsy choogle of "Long Dark Night" and the rollicking "I Cant Take it No More." He seems like a cranky dad on "It Ain't Right," railing about spoiled pop tarts in the spotlight, and "Summer of Love"'s look back at the titular time in the late '60s falls on the schlock side. But Fogerty charges into "Longshot" like the angry young man of "Fortunate Son," singing "I ain't got no 'ristocrats a-hangin' in my tree" with an assurance and intensity that reaches through the speakers and grabs the listener. Just like in the old days. --Hal Horowitz
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The CD begins with a wistful song, "Don't You Wish It Was True." The recurring lines: "Don't you wish it was true." A counterpoint to his hopes, expressed in lines such as "There'll be no more armies, no more hate"; "Everybody under the sun was happy just to live as one." And so on. The end result is a sense of being hopeful and regretful at the same time.
"Creedence Song" appears to look back at the days of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The final line for each verse is the phrase "If you play a little bit of that Creedence song." A happy ending to this tune!
"Summer of Love" begins with heavy electric guitar work. The focus is on the summer of love, when "Freedom was in the air," with "Flower children lookin' for the truth." An interesting song, again looking back.
A final example of the work in this CD is a topical song, "I Can't Take It No More." He begins with the title, then sings "Sick and tired of your dirty little war," and "You know you lie about the casualties, You know you lied about the WMDs." An angry, swift paced song. The final verse features lines that typify the song: "Your daddy wrote a check and there you are, another fortunate son."
This represents a strong bit of work from John Fogerty. For his fans, this will be a good addition to their library. For those not necessarily his fans, it is a strong effort on his part and well worth listening to.
"It Ain't Right" (Such a Waste of Life) is similarly great, and MIGHT be self-criticism concerning as it does the rock-star's life, rehab and whatnot...doesn't matter, either way it's a killer rocker, as is the next song, "I Can't take it no More,": "you know you lied about the casualties, you know you lied about the WMDs, you know you lied about the detainees, all over the world, Stop talkin' bout stayin the course, you keep a beatin that old dead horse, you know you lied about how we went to war, I can't take it no more...sick and tired of your dirty little war, I can't take it no more..." If like me you really appreciate good lyrics--so naturally, have been buying more hip-hop CD's than rock during the past 20 years or so, you can't help but be moved by the couplet John uses in "Somebody Help Me": "Somebody Help me, there's somethin' goin' wrong, somebody help me, I can't do this alone..." Do what alone? Save rock and roll, save the country, or save the world?
For God's sake: help the man out, people!!
A show of credentials: on childhood family vacation to Memphis, we got aboard a multi-story paddle boat, and there was a juke box. Could there be? I mean, there MUST have been a CCR song on there, to hear his voice as we chugged along the Mississippi, right? Well, no "Proud Mary," but they DID have their most recent hit, "Sweet Hitchhiker" and yes, it sounded great. Later, when I moved to the Bay Area from Texas in 1981, I chose El Cerrito to live, because that's where I read John and CCR were from. I think I got it off the back of a Golliwogs album...Now, where is that Duckee Market from "Poor Boys"...? Is THAT it? etc.
For a famous roots rocker, he draws inspiration from some interesting sources. "Summer Of Love" sounds like a hybrid pastiche of Cream's "White Room", Hendrix's "Foxy Lady", and the Doors' "Hello, I Love You". "Somebody Help Me" also seems influenced by these same artists. With its laundry-list lyrics of Bush administration failures, "Long Dark Night" is a nod to Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues". "I Can't Take It No More" is another anti-Bush diatribe that clocks in at just over a minute and a half, and reminds me of "Judy Is A Punk" by the Ramones. Is it possible Fogerty's been listening to them? Equally unlikely, the album closer "Longshot" borrows the riff from Deep Purple's "Woman From Tokyo".
Whatever it is he's doing or listening to - it's working for him. His voice is as good as ever, and all the songs still come out sounding like vintage Fogerty. This is a masterful return to form, and one of the best rock albums of recent years.