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John Fogerty

Wrote a Song for Everyone – 2013 (Vanguard)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by John Fogerty

Considering that Creedence Clearwater Revival's back catalogue contains some of the most beloved and iconic music of the rock era, and John Fogerty himself - the man who made all those great songs great - will be dueting with you, an artist has to feel like he's got two strikes against him when he sets out to contribute to a cover album tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty.

Three if Lily Allen is right about CCR being God's favorite band.

For the most part, everybody is up to the challenge here. Almost Saturday Night never sounded like it needed a banjo before, but Keith Urban was right; it sounds great. Bob Seger's version of Who'll Stop the Rain is a faithful one, and his voice is so gloriously jagged and torn you get the feeling he's really had enough of that metaphorical precipitation. Brad Paisley's amazing guitar work actually gives Hot Rod Heart a tune-up.

But not always. My Morning Jacket's Long as I Can See the Light sounds lethargic at best. And for some reason Jennifer Hudson chose to cover Ike and Tina Turner's version of Proud Mary not CCR's.

But what's the point, really? Even the ones that work aren't going to make anybody forget any of the classics. And you're always going to leave off somebody's favorite. Hey, where's Looking Out My Back Door?

Perhaps most discouraging is the fact that the most interesting tracks are two new ones sung (not coincidentally) solo by John Fogerty. Train of Fools is a dark meditation on fate and our foredoomed efforts to control it, Mystic Highway a more optimistic musing on the same subject. Which suggests that the biggest problem with this album may be that it's a tad premature. Maybe some of John Fogerty's biggest hits haven't been written yet.