John Fogerty: Revisiting Wrote A Song For Everyone. Add-ons and Subtractions
By now everybody who’s heard this has heaped praise on it, and rightfully so. Its not only a stunning comeback for Fogerty, but a reaffirmation of the power his music had on his generation and how much of an impact it still has on a new generation of fans. Most of the pairings are unexpected and brilliant- the Foo Fighters inclusion on “Fortunate Son” is so out of left field its like a line drive to the head. It’s a seamless fit, Dave Grohl’s vocals as sandpapery as Fogerty’s as the vehicle they’re driving charges right over the cliff spewing fiery chunks of twisted metal.
My Morning Jacket’s approach to “Long As I Can See The Light” is another gem, vocally and instrumentally. Having Delbert McClinton along on vocals and harp would have been interesting, but maybe that idea ought to be saved for a follow up version or a new release by Delbert.
Bob Seeger is perfect for “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” the perfect blend of old time rock and roll and gospel-tinged country.
But there are a few additions and subtractions that could have made it even more stunning. It’s hard to understand the addition of Kid Rock to anything. Left on his own, he’s tolerable. But mix him in with an icon like Fogerty, and its blasphemy. He sounds amateurish and waaay out of his league on “Born on the Bayou.” Why not recruit Sonny Landreth to play slide on it and John Hiatt to duet on the vocals for an instant swamp pop classic?
For an add, why not spice in Fogerty’s creepy version of “Midnight Special,” used to open Stephen Spielberg’s segment of the ’83 movie The Twilight Zone, but get Merle Haggard to share the lead vocals to really drive home that prison vibe.
“Looking Out My Back Door” would have been an interesting plus as well, especially if he had recruited Stevie Wonder as a co-conspirator and rearranged the melody around “My Cherie Amour.”
Or how about reggae godfather Toots Hibbert relocating “Center Field” to Jamaica?
And if he really wanted to swing for the fences, Fogerty could try asking Sir Paul McCartney to share the lead on “Travelin’ Band.”
Finally, one more subtraction, along with an addition. Fogerty’s pride in “Proud Mary” is understandable. He calls it his first great song in the liner notes. Problem is, his original is rarely heard. Ike and Tina Turner’s version is so pervasive it’s become a cliché, an eye rolling chestnut that every wanna be diva in every blooze band desperately throws in during a set to liven up a lackluster crowd. Fogerty tried to mix the two versions here and the results are disastrous. Jennifer Hudson’s caterwauling drowns out everything else. Allen Toussaint’s piano and even Rebirth’s brassiness are virtually obliterated by Hudson’s insistence on swinging by her tonsils from the rafters. If Fogerty wanted to redo it like Tina and Ike, why not get at least one of ’em back live to do it? Drag Tina out of retirement to show ’em how its done and resurrect Ike’s creepy intro on tape spliced in with Fogerty’s backwoods yowls.
With the success this release has generated, maybe Fogerty will consider a sequel and reset some of these and other jewels from his catalog. Taj Majal, Bonnie Raitt,Vintage Trouble, Delbert, Merle, and Willie would all make welcome additions. There’d be no recruitment problems. This is one waiting list nobody in the music business would complain about being on.
By Grant Britt