I Can't Take It No More: Memorable Song #8 for 2007
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2007, Volume 14, #9
Written by John Metzger
Tue September 25, 2007, 06:00 AM CDT
Over the course of the past few decades, John Fogerty has tried, time and again, to reinvent the wheel while skirting around the fringes of his output with Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). His approach has had as much to do with his attempts to remain relevant within the pop music scene as it did with his contentious relationship with Fantasy Recordsí owner Saul Zaentz. Sparked by the resolution of several lawsuits in his favor as well as the success of his 1997 endeavor Blue Moon Swamp, Fogerty slowly but surely began to reconnect with his past. Not only did he add back into his stage show songs that he hadnít performed in years, but with the reinstatement of his royalty fees by the new management of Fantasy Records, he also embraced his legacy fully. Both the retrospective overview The Long Road Home as well as its companion collection The Long Road Home: In Concert were designed to provide closure as well as to stimulate interest in his work, and Revival, his first new recording for the reinvigorated label, picks up where his previous studio set Deja Vu (All Over Again) concluded.
For the most part, Fogerty has settled upon employing a formula that doesnít try to fix what isnít broken. Fans had been clamoring for years for him to return to the sturdily constructed, pop-rock songs that he had made with CCR, and much like Deja Vu (All Over Again), the material on Revival will not disappoint them. Throughout the endeavor, Fogerty doesnít resist playing to his strengths, and consequently, it would be easy to criticize him for so flagrantly redeploying the moves that worked so well for him in the past. It Ainít Right, for example, is a more aggressive stab at his Buck Owens-meets-Sun Studio brand of country rock, and, in addition to the obvious comparisons that its title is meant to draw, Creedence Song is yet another in an increasingly long line of tunes that satisfyingly invoke his former bandís murky, swampy, blues-baked romps, such as Run through the Jungle. At the same time, cuts like Gunslinger and Broken Down Cowboy highlight the sway he has held over John Mellencampís output.
Even when Fogerty strays from his standard template, he still remains firmly connected to his peers and his followers. He traces his influence as well as his interests across the generations, delivering a Chuck Berry-inspired motif with a punk-ish fury on the assaulting, anti-war anthem I Canít Take It No More and providing a faint undercurrent of reggae to River Is Waiting. Quite appropriately, Summer of Love is a mash-up of Creamís Sunshine of Your Love and Jimi Hendrixís Purple Haze, while Long Shot finds common ground among AC/DC, Foreigner, and Free. Although Fogerty largely goes with the flow, his renewed sense of purpose injects the collection with so much energy and intensity that it, at times, makes Deja Vu (All Over Again) seem tentative by comparison. While Revival indisputably fails to stand up to his classic works with Creedence Clearwater Revival ó Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys, and Cosmoís Factory, among them ó it is nonetheless a welcome return to form that ought to keep the masses satiated and the ticket sales booming. Ĺ
Revival is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box