John Fogerty- Blue Moon Swamp 20th Anniversary

For a variety of reasons, some notoriously well-publicized and others more nuanced, legendary singer/ songwriter John Fogerty released solo albums in the twentieth century on an almost cicadian schedule. Extended periods of more than a decade would go between them. Wars were won and lost, governments toppled, industries boomed & busted before another John Fogerty album would emerge. And the public’s response seemed to have no bearing on the release schedule either: 1985’s Centerfield  was a certified hit and return to form for the legendary leader of hit machine Creedence Clearwater Revival, but the following year  Eye of the Zombie  felt like out-takes from those sessions. Then quietly, I got the call in May 1997 that John Fogerty had emerged from his shadowy swamp with a burlap bag full of new songs including “Walking in a Hurricane”,”Blueboy”,”Hot Rod Heart”,”A Hundred and Ten in the Shade”,”Swamp River Days”, and “Bring It Down to Jelly Roll“. And he was willing to talk.

1970’s Cosmo’s Factory  may have gotten its title from drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, but that veritable greatest hits package was, like the four preceding albums Creedence Clearwater Revival , Green River, Bayou Country, and Willie and the Poor Boys, the artistic vision of John Fogerty. Even as he wrote all of the original songs, sang every note, and provided the chunky lead guitar, John Fogerty also produced the distinctive “swamp rock” sound of every CCR album. And while Fogerty wasn’t the first to be entrusted with the then-new trend toward allowing the bands to produce themselves, he certainly was the most successful, truly remarkable when you realize that, at least in North America, Creedence rivaled The Beatles for consecutive Top 5 hits from 1967-1970, and that is without the expert guidance of a George Martin. Jimi Hendrix and The Doors made equally indelible impacts upon rock history in the same inconceivably brief span of time as Fogerty and Creedence, but they each had help (Hendrix from ex-Animals member Chas Chandler, The Doors from veteran producer Paul Rothschild ). John Fogerty’s sound and vision were completely self-contained and, to this day, never duplicated. Here is John Fogerty In the Studio for my classic rock interview about what became the 1997 Grammy Rock Album of the Year. –Redbeard