John Fogerty, Revival (Fantasy, 2007)

For those of you young enough to require an introduction, John Fogerty was the voice and lead guitar behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, who still get my vote for the greatest rock band that the United States has produced. The band split up in 1972 on less than amicable terms, and Fogerty had to forfeit the rights to his many classic songs like "Proud Mary" and "Fortunate Son" in order to secure his musical independence. Fogerty resurfaces with new material only periodically, and his new CD Revival is just the seventh album he's recorded in the thirty-five years since Creedence split. It does in fact mark a bit of a revival, in that he has returned to Fantasy Records, Creedence's old label; this was made possible by the fact that the band's former manager no longer has a vested interest in the label.

Fogerty's previous album Deja Vu All Over Again boasted a great song in its title track, a lament about the unfortunate parallels between Vietnam and the present situation in Iraq. Revival may not have a song that good on it, but it's a much more consistent album from top to bottom. The opening song "Don't You Wish It Was True" is a wistful but optimistic look at the way things should be in the world. "Gunslinger" reflects Fogerty's desire to see somebody come in (presumably in the political sense) and clean house. "Creedence Song" tells how Fogerty met his wife -- she was waiting tables at a diner and got his attention by getting one of his songs played on the jukebox. Fogerty also gets a few pointed barbs in at the Bush administration with "Long Cold Night" and "I Can't Take It No More."

The album also rocks a bit harder on the whole than Fogerty's recent efforts, while maintaining Fogerty's very distinct style. The nostalgic "Summer of Love" finds Fogerty cranking the amps up. On the minute-and-a-half "I Can't Take It No More," he evokes both The Ramones and Little Richard to get his point across. The playing of Fogerty and his four-piece backing band is solid throughout, and absolutely no rock singer from the sixties has as maintained the potency of his singing voice to anywhere near the same degree that John Fogerty has.

Revival may not have any classic songs on it, but it's a fun rocking album all the way through. John Fogerty sounds like he's enjoying making music more now than he ever has, and the enthusiasm is definitely contagious on this record.

Overall grade: A-

reviewed by Scott
photo by Annie Wells/Los Angeles Times

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