Thursday, September 3, 2009

John Fogarty The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again

Or, how you can't go wrong with a $3.99 download.

I have a fondness for roots music. Country, early rock and roll, blues. Not my favorite stuff in the world, but I love how you can see how everything we know as modern rock grew out of it. I also have a very large fondness for John Fogarty and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

In 1973 John Fogarty released an album of country and western covers called The Blue Ridge Rangers. The genesis of that album reportedly lay within Fogarty's deal with Fantasy Records and Saul Zaentz, which left Fogarty in a position where he didn't own any of the songs he'd written for Creedence. Now, 36 years later, he gives us this grammar-challenged follow-up. I mean, shouldn't it be "Ride again?"

Never mind.

This is a fun record. It's country, without a doubt, be aware. Pedal steel guitar and fiddle saturate the songs. We have a couple of high-profile guests (Timothy B. Schmit and Don Henley (The Eagles) on Rick Neilson's Garden Party, and Bruce Springsteen (The Boss) on When Will I Be Loved?), but for the most part the focus is squarely on Fogarty's distinctive voice, and a bevy of session players. Quite different from the first Blue Ridge album, where Fogarty played everything.

Now, to be sure, I'd rather have a new Fogarty album proper, but this is a nice side trip for him to take. It suits his voice and style, and is currently available on Amazon as a $3.99 download. It's more than worth that.

Favorite tracks:
- Paradise

- Garden Party
- Back Home Again
- Heaven's Just a Sin Away
- When Will I Be Loved?

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