John Fogerty The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Fogerty, despite the famous friends and the elderly tunes, still rocks.

David Quantick 2009

As the prime mover in Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty created possibly the best rock and roll of the 1960s, swapping mysticism, guitar solos and kaftans for short, punchy rock singles like Bad Moon Rising and Fortunate Son.

His inability to play well with others – like Mark Knopfler, he sacked his own brother; unlike Knopfler, he was sued twice, once for attacking his label boss Saul Zaentz in song and once for ripping himself off – led to a solo incarnation and more great music preceded by an album as the Blue Ridge Rangers, on which he democratically played and sang every note. As with Creedence, this 1973-released album not only cut through the musical self-indulgence of the era, but also fore-fronted some of the greatest songs in what we’d now call the classic Americana song catalogue.

Fogerty enjoyed a sporadic solo career (including the awesome single Almost Saturday Night), and returned to the road a few years ago, which generally revitalised his profile as one of the great rock songwriters. And then he decided, splendidly, to resurrect the Blue Ridge Rangers. Once again it is an album of rock and country covers and – despite the third person singular album title – this time the Rangers are a band.

With celebrity cameos (Bruce Springsteen moos gruffly through The Everly Brothers’ When Will I Be Loved) and a brilliant range of songs, from John Prine’s melancholy Paradise to Robert Geddins’s gloriously daft Haunted House, the album is retro pleasure without boredom and self-indulgence. Fogerty still sings and plays like he means it and this is perhaps why the album’s central paradox – Rick Nelson’s Garden Party, a song about despising nostalgia which here features on an album full of nostalgic songs – works.

All told, it's clear that Fogerty, despite the famous friends and the elderly tunes, still rocks.

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