John Fogerty – “Wrote a Song For Everyone”

(Photo credit: Consequence of Sound)

(Photo credit: Consequence of Sound)

Grade: A-

Key tracks: “Lodi,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain”

When a respected classic rock musician starts to get up there in years, they’re allowed to start having some fun in the studio. That’s exactly what Fogerty – famous most for Creedence Clearwater Revival, and some for his solo work – does on his ninth solo album. “Wrote” isn’t a duet album, it isn’t an original album, and it isn’t an album of covers, which many older singers resort to. Instead, it’s a healthy mix. A majority of the songs are reworkings of older songs of his, with guest stars. Fans of classic rock will instantly recognize CCR favorites like “Proud Mary,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” and “Fortunate Son” getting reworked, along many others. And to mix it up, Fogerty throws in a few original songs, just to prove that he hasn’t lost anything.

The guest stars on the album read like a planned tribute album, only the man being tributed showed up. Bob Seger and Alan Jackson, contemporaries of Fogerty, make two of the best appearances. Country singers like Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley contribute, as do current rock bands My Morning Jacket and Foo Fighters. The album’s most entertaining song, “Lodi,” features Shane and Tyler Fogerty, presumably his sons. The title track, though not one of the more memorable ones, features a unique pairing of Lambert’s vocals, and guitar work provided by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Jennifer Hudson, known for her powerful voice, dominates “Proud Mary” at the album’s finale. “Proud Mary,” one of classic rock’s most famous songs, has been covered by Tina Turner in the past, and this likely serves as an homage to her equally powerful version.

This album gets a high rating simply because there is nothing wrong with it. Fogerty, now 68 (happy birthday!), recorded this just to have some fun. There is no purpose to this album other than to show that Fogerty still loves his material and loves to perform. Fogerty successfully brings the fun to the audience, making for a completely enjoyable listen that erases that wonder of why the album exists in the first place. I even looked past some guest stars I do not like (namely, Kid Rock and Bob Seger) and recognized the great reworkings of the songs. Fogerty’s voice, too, is still kicking. Tom Petty and David Bowie might be the last holdouts of classic rock still recording successful new material, but Fogerty sounds as good as he ever has, kicking back and having fun.