John Fogerty Wrote A Song For Everyone
John Fogerty and his new take-no-prisoners album, Wrote a Song for Everyone, has done the nearly impossible task of taking familiar classic songs and infusing them with fresh energy and inspiration, so much so that it seems as though these songs, culled from Creedence Clearwater Revival hits and his solo albums, are brand new. His voice carries the same soul and rock ‘n’ roll passion that gave his band such distinction over 40 years ago.
It is the kind of comeback that Fogerty has managed to pull off at various turns in his long career, sometimes waiting a decade between releases. The arrangements here are crisp and dynamic. These re-creations give the songs a new sense of authority and power.
While the concept of artistic collaboration between younger artists and a seasoned veteran is not new, Fogerty has enlisted, not only some well-known young artists, but many of the best, to help represent his legacy, including Foo Fighters, Miranda Lambert, Tom Morello, My Morning Jacket, Brad Paisley and Dawes among others. It all works so well and its celebration is so infectious that, the album leaves the listener wanting an encore. This album is that good.
Opening with a raging rendition of the classic Vietnam era song, “Fortunate Son,” Foo Fighters add a new edge to an already great rock ‘n’roll song. Fogerty’s sons, Shane and Tyler accompany him on guitars on the newly arranged, “Lodi,” which is transformed into a blues-rock song, with slide guitars and a driving blues stomp. Reportedly, Fogerty’s sons wanted to do a stripped down version of the song, but Dad reigned and persuaded them to give it an electric blues feel.
Trading vocals with Bob Seger on “Who Will Stop The Rain,” gives the song a stirring R&B feel. Their voices on the stripped down arrangement, seemingly tailored for Seger, brings the song to a beautifully realized gospel-like finish. Brad Paisley and Keith Urban bring in the new country flavor for the solo songs “Almost Saturday Night,” and “Hot Rod Heart,” respectively.
Fortunately, the album also includes two fine new original songs, “Mystic Highway,” and “Train of Fools.” Both songs hold up and feel as though they belong among these classics.
The album closes appropriately enough with his best known song, “Proud Mary.” Jennifer Hudson takes vocal charge. The arrangement is a nod to the Ike & Tina Turner version. It begins with that easy gospel sound and with the help of Allen Toussaint and the Rebirth Brass Band, ends with a revved up New Orleans finish that completely replicates Ike Turner’s arrangement.
His first release since 2009′s Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again, Wrote A Song for Everyone, confirms that John Fogerty is as vital an artist today as he was during the heyday of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Not only do these collaborations stand up to the original recordings, in many ways, they add new dimension and depth. But it’s the new songs, “Train of Fools,” and especially “Mystic Highway,” that signals a new season of creativity for Fogerty. His lyrics on “Mystic Highway,” say it best:
All the stars that I’m under
know how I feel tonight
All the miles I’ve been travelin’
Heading back to the light.
Indeed, he is headed back to the light and fortunately, we’re invited along to enjoy the music.