Monday, June 17, 2013

Wrote A Song For Everyone

I'm usually skeptical when it comes to duet albums put out by old artists who tend to rope in younger artists to sing with them on classic tunes. It can fall flat easily. Not for John Fogerty though. Produced and arranged by him, this album sets a whole new standard in reworks done duet style. It's an instant classic. Creedence Clearwater Revival was American rock & roll defined, circa late '60s/early '70s, and really, what better way to re-introduce the music to a new generation than this? Many of these brand new versions are insanely good. But that's not to say they're better than the originals; those still remain untouchable and always enjoyable to listen to. These new ones are completely different. And FRESH.

There are quite a number of country artists here, and each of them provide their own unique flavor, yielding ace results -- Keith Urban reviving the lesser known Almost Saturday Night, Zac Brown Band on Bad Moon Rising, veteran Alan Jackson on Have You Ever Seen The Rain (probably the most country-sounding, totally right up his alley), Brad Paisley who engages in an intense guitar solo battle with Fogerty on Hod Rod Heart, and my current country favorite, Miranda Lambert who sings on the title track, a non-single from Green River (1969), which also features the guitar wizardry of Tom Morello.

The Foo Fighters rocking shit-hard on Fortunate Son really sets the tone of the whole album, making it sound still as relevant today as it was during the Vietnam War, at the same time suggesting this is ain't your usual run-of-the-mill duets album. The rendition I'm not so fond of is Lodi, done with Fogerty's sons; a very upbeat country blues-rock take. I prefer the tenderness of the original. Born On The Bayou is my all-time favorite Creedence song, and while Kid Rock sings great on it, he kinda ruins it by occasionally singing the "Born On The Bayou yeah" lines in lower pitch. But it's the closing Proud Mary, sung by Jennifer Hudson, that fails to impress. I always love me some Allen Toussaint New Orleans, but if you ask me, incorporating this style makes Proud Mary less embellished.

The other high points -- Mystic Highway is a new tune that proves John Fogerty still has the fire in him. It's without a doubt the absolute best thing he's written since his Creedence days. It already stands shoulder to shoulder with the other classics. The most 'senior' guest is Bob Seger, who puts a Silver Bullet Band spin on Who'll Stop The Rain, and it's excellent. Meanwhile, Dawes slows down Someday Never Comes and makes it sound more 'Laurel Canyon-ish'. I left the best the last -- Long As I Can See The Light may possibly be the only CCR song that My Morning Jacket could do and kick ass on. It was made for them, the way The Band's It Makes No Difference was. It's got those signature MMJ ingredients; lots of jam and lots of soul. And when Fogerty sings the line "Guess I've got that old travelin' bone", it chills your spine. Keep on rockin', John.