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If there’s one thing Clearance Clearwater Revival’s frontman John Fogerty can still do, it’s play great rock and roll. The legendary musician put out his ninth studio album, Wrote a Song for Everyone, on his 68th birthday. Fogerty actually did write a song for everyone, collaborating with a variety of renowned artists from Kid Rock to My Morning Jacket, to put out a string of polished covers and some amazing new tracks. It’s a blend of folk, rock, country, and bluegrass.
Right off the bat, he starts off with a cover of the Creedence classic, “Fortunate Son,” which Foo Fighters join him on. The cover isn’t quite as moving as the original from 1969, but it still hits hard with guitar solos and David Grohl’s featuring vocals. It is a tribute to classic rock and the generations of great artists this world has been blessed with. Fogerty and Foo Fighters have my vote for the 2014 Super Bowl Half Time Show.
In the following track, Fogerty teams up with Keith Urban with “Almost Saturday Night”, from Fogerty’s 1975 self-titled album. The song has great banjo harmonies and vocal contribution from Urban. Fogerty’s vocals are just as stimulating as they are on the original. It’s great to see both Urban and Fogerty still got it.
Fogerty jams with his two sons Shane and Tyler on “Lodi”. It’s got great licks and plenty of folky melody. It’s apparent the Fogerty sons have learned a lot from their father.
“Mystic Highway” is a sentimental original that takes the listener through the mind of Fogerty and the long journey he’s been on throughout his career. He starts off contemplating, “Lately I begin to wonder, how’s it all gonna end. After all the flash and thunder, then it’s gone with the wind.” Then after an explosive instrumental transition, the song gets a bit more uplifting, “Rain gonna fall, sun gonna shine, ain’t no worry in my mind.” Fogerty’s songwriting is perhaps his strongest skill.
The title track, a cover off 1969’s Green River, features country singer Miranda Lambert and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Lambert’s soothing vocals and Morello’s guitar compliment Fogerty’s banjo. It’s truly, a song for everyone.
My Morning Jacket works with Fogerty on “Long as I can see the Light”. The duo of Fogerty and Jim James is a singer/songwriter powerhouse. The My Morning Jacket sound translated with CCR’s sound well. This is the must-listen track of the album.
Kid Rock and Fogerty pair up on “Born on the Bayou”, a great summer cover that takes you to the marshes of Louisiana. Rock has mastered the cover at this point, and has a natural talent of incorporating soul into rock and vice versa.
The album ends with the cover of all covers, “Proud Mary”, which has been covered by Tina Turner, David Bowie, Kenny Rogers, and Santigold. This version features Jennifer Hudson’s beautiful vocals, legendary R&B producer Allen Toussaint, and the Rebirth Brass Band. This song is theatrical, jivey and extremely well produced.
Most of the cover tracks on this album are polished, grandiose versions of Fogerty’s originals, but still have a lot of substance brought by collaborators and Fogerty’s overall unique direction. It’s exciting to see Fogerty still on top and adding another milestone to his impressive career.