John Fogerty, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again (Verve, 2009)

In 1973, John Fogerty released an album of country, gospel, and bluegrass covers called Blue Ridge Rangers. While the album cover shows silhouettes of five different musicians, there was no actual band with that name; in fact, Fogerty sang all the vocals and played all the instruments on the album himself. A mere thirty-six years later, Fogerty decided to reprise the concept of his first solo album with a new album of rustic, rootsy standards. Fogerty employs a solid group of backing musicians for this record, but in an ironic nod to its predecessor, he titled the album The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.

The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again opens with John Prine's "Paradise" and closes with The Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved" (featuring a guest appearance from Bruce Springsteen), and also includes songs from the likes of Delaney and Bonnie, Buck Owens, and John Denver. Fogerty also includes a countrified version of his own song "Change in the Weather," originally off his 1986 album Eye of the Zombie. The song that sticks out most for me is "Garden Party," Rick Nelson's 1972 hit about the negative response he received when he brought his country band to a 50's revival show. The line in the chorus that goes "You see you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself" has a universality to it which still resonates after all this time. Nelson's embrace of country rock was a major influence on the early recordings of The Eagles, and Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit were very appropriate and very effective choices to provide backing vocals on Fogerty's version.

The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again shows John Fogerty having fun paying tribute to a numbers of artists who inspired him and brought him enjoyment over the years. There may not be any super-strong track on it, but fans of Fogerty will find the album as a whole to be an enjoyable listen.

Overall grade: B

reviewed by Scott

John Fogerty performs "Garden Party" at the Americana Music awards in Nashville in September.

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