This recording's primed with excitement.
Martin Longley 2007
Having penned complete country-blues-swamp rock classics like "Bad Moon Rising", "Proud Mary" and "Born On The Bayou", singer, guitarist and general multi-instrumentalist John Fogerty need never have done anything much since the middle 1970s to secure his position in the rock 'n' roll pantheon. This is not even mentioning the remaining host of lower profile, but still mighty choogling, songs that he wrote for Creedence Clearwater Revival, nearly four decades ago.
Actually, the ensuing years have not been without their problems. Lawsuits over royalties, arguments with his Creedence cohorts, and an uncompromising attitude that, though admirable, has certainly neutered Fogerty's productive powers over the last two decades. As with so many artists in similar straits, a renewal has eventually occurred, with the arrival of an album that feels like a full artistic statement, coupled with a new touring vigour that finds Fogerty in bristling form. The man himself smiles wryly at the Fantasy Records logo sitting on his new release. This is the company with whom he waged an interminable legal war over the rights and royalties to those Creedence compositions.
The label was taken over by Concord Records in 2004, so there's the explanation...
Curiously, Fogerty rations his rockers quite carefully. The album opens with a couple of moderately safe country numbers, and it's obviously an intentional game-plan to gradually feed in the raunchier material. In fact, there's a completely smooth graph curve, rising up to the curt punkiness of the disc's climax. By this stage, Fogerty's song-lengths are down to under two minutes, his voice is frothing with moonshine, his guitar's ground up with broken nails and his lyrical content is getting angrier and angrier. By the sixth track "Long Dark Night", the harmonica's out, rasping in-between each verse, then Fogerty's as hard as Neil Young on "Summer Of Love", and as beseeching as Roy Orbison on "Natural Thing".
This recording's primed with excitement, but Fogerty's live renditions of these songs are even more brutal. Some albums peter out, some slump in the middle, but this one just keeps rising.