Tuesday, August 14, 2012

John Fogerty-Blue Ridge Rangers

Blue Ridge Rangers
This is John Fogerty's legendary One Man Band (meaning he played all the instruments and sang all the vocals) album from 1973 entitled "Blue Ridge Rangers." Back when it was released in 1973, Creedence Clearwater Revival had just broken up and he had to fulfill his contract with Fantasy with 1 more album and this is the album that he not only recorded to do that and that he couldn't sing the Creedence hits legally at the time, but it also is an album that pays tribute to his influences by singing covers of many country classics with gospel and blues mixed in for good measure. The Top 20 hit, Jambalaya, is performed here in a rousing arrangement. Some of the other highlights include the top 40 minor hit cover of "Hearts of Stone" which had been recorded by a few country artists and in the pop world, the Fontaine Sisters, The Webb Pierce/Mel Tillis classic "I Ain't Never", Working on a Building, Merle Haggard's "Today I Started Loving You Again," Blue Ridge Mountain Blues, the George Jones hit "She Thinks I Still Care," Jimmie Rodgers's "California Blues (Blue Yodel #4)" and You're The Reason. If he would have recorded "Blue Moon of Kentucky" (appears on the Big Mon tribute to Bill Monroe) at the time this was recorded, it would also appear on this album. The sound quality is excellent and the music is timeless. Country fans, Fogerty fans, CCR fans, folk fans, blues fans, gospel fans, rock and roll fans should definitely pick up this album. From the first twang of that banjo, I knew I was in for something different here. While some artists in 1973 were rediscovering 50's rock & roll, John Fogerty looked back and paid tribute to 50's country western & gospel! My faves include "Blue Ridge Mountain Blues", "You're the Reason", "California Blues", "Workin' On A Building", "Please Help Me, I'm Falling", "I Ain't Never" and "Today I Stared Loving You Again" (there's one I can relate to way too much). But they're ALL good ones. Some have become standards, done by many artists over the years, like "She Thinks I Still Care" (George Jones, Cher, Michael Nesmith) and "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)" (Hank Williams, Jo Stafford, Carpenters-- probably my favorite, Buzz Zeemer, and Dash Rip Rock-- probably the WILDEST) but Fogerty does each in his own style. I'd love it if he did another one like this, as I can listen to this over and over-- and have been.

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