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Story and file photos by Andy ArgyrakisGiven his highly publicized legal dispute with Fantasy Records, one could safely bet John Fogerty wouldn't speak highly of the company, let alone sign a new deal with the notorious brand name. But hell must have frozen over (just like it did when the Eagles reunited) because the former Creedence Clearwater Revival front man isn't just re-embracing the band's famous swamp rock sounds, but once again signed with that very entity. This time through the variables are much different, starting with the fact that Concord oversees the much more equitable agreement, followed by Fogerty's personal contentment thanks to a settled family life.
On tour in support of Revival the guitar grinder made a pit stop at WTTW's "Soundstage" Studios for a season five taping that encompassed all aspects of his career. However, rather than the somewhat distant, almost bitter tone that permeated past projects and tours (especially when some CCR material was ignored), the enduring singer/songwriter seemed genuinely joyful to be back in the spotlight, and at times, perhaps too generous. Sure his 29 song set hit on every era a die-hard fan could hope for, but the fat could've clearly been trimmed to sport a leaner retro set sprinkled with the best of present tense.
Yet Fogerty made sure no stone went unturned and often times did inspire with his snarling, southern rock roots. A smokin' rendition of Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" helped set the tone for a rollicking evening, also laced with early barnburners like "Bad Moon Rising," the like-minded but updated new cut "Longshot" and the timeless "Green River." The rough and tumble "Gunslinger" was loaded with no-nonsense riffs from his fiery five piece backing band, while "Who'll Stop The Rain" demonstrated just as much proficiency in acoustic contexts.
Still there were a few dips in the road along the way, starting with his politically charged unplugged tune "Deja Vu All Over Again" (the title track from his 2004 solo disc). Due to technical difficulties, he was forced to start the song over on several occasions, which was somewhat tedious for the live audience, though is sure to serve as a much tighter edit on television. Despite the overall solid nature of Revival two tracks lacked the steam of the aforementioned, most notably the somewhat banal ballad "Broken Down Cowboy" and the overly derivative nature of "Creedence Song" (which would've perhaps benefited from a more original title).
After weeding through the missteps, there was still plenty to celebrate, like the inspiring "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" (dedicated to his daughter), the rip roaring "Keep On Chooglin'" and the bluesy romp "Long Dark Night." "Down On the Corner" was also delivered in all its summertime sweatiness, as the double play of "Centerfield" (complete with a baseball shaped guitar) and "Up Around the Bend" produced even higher electricity fields. As the set list rounded the bases with "Fortunate Son" and "Proud Mary," Fogerty's legacy was reclaimed, in turn suggesting additional artistic life could keep coming around the corner. Viewers can judge for themselves as the episode hits the small screen in early 2008, with a complete season schedule at www.wttw.com/soundstage.
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