Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
ecades later, John Fogerty unveiled The Blue Ridge Rangers again. He recorded an entire disc under that moniker in 1973, a disc in which he played everything. Fogerty has since recorded albums under his own name until "The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again" surfaced in September. The disc is a covers album of 13 songs with help from folks like Bruce Springsteen and Don Henley.
Ever energetic at 64 and looking fit and trim as usual, Fogerty ended a short 12-date concert tour with an enthusiastic showcasing of his and the Rangers' talents.
Fogerty mixed up the set list very well, alternating between country and bluesy songs and the swampy CCR style. The 115-minute show included everything from songs from "Rides Again" to Ramble Tamble, the lengthy, lead-off song from Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Cosmos' Factory."
The CCR songs also included Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising, Favorite Son, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Down Around the Corner, the very countryish Lookin' Out My Back Door and Who'll Stop the Rain.
Fogerty, of course, didn't shy away from his solo material either with the very swampy, lively Old Man Down the Road and the baseball-themed Centerfield. (Thankfully, there were no obvious plays to the Red Sox).
Unfortunately, however, he stayed away totally from his last two releases, the very fine "Revival" and "Deja Vu (All Over Again)." He played but one song from the first Blue Ridge Rangers CD, a good take on Workin' on a Building.
Drummer stalwart Kenny Aronoff was an extremely sturdy presence. The veteran set a very forceful beat when required, but also was quite comfortable in going with a softer country beat as well on such songs as Fogerty's take on Ricky Nelson's Garden Party from "Rides Again."
Fogerty displayed his guitar skills time and again. He often gave a twangy or swampy feel to the songs. Billy Burnette also had a few good runs on guitar. A very key player was fiddle man Jason Mowery, who engaged with Fogerty in several drawn out, extended musical journeys. For sure, this was not a cookie cutter offering of Fogerty's tried and true. They extended songs on a number of occasions, letting them play out.
Fogerty's vocals still maintain have a lot of bark and bite about them, but could also have been mixed higher. At times, though, the music was a bit too loud for the vocals. Despite that, the focal point of the night played at a very high level of meat and potatoes rock and country.
Under Fogerty's leadership, the Blue Ridge Riders are enjoying a mighty fine ride.