Picks and Pans Review: Centerfield
From 1968 through 1970, Fogerty's old group, Creedence Clearwater Revival, ruled the radio air-waves with such hits as Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising and Lookin' Out My Back Door. Their homespun lyrics mixed with a unique musical style, one part Louisiana blues, one part country and eight parts rock 'n' roll. That made them an honest voice crying out in the wilderness of psychedelic mumbo jumbo emanating from other California bands such as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Since the breakup of Creedence in 1972, Fogerty, the singer-guitarist-songwriter, has not worked much due to contract squabbles and writer's block. Center-field, his first record since 1975, shows that while the times have changed, Fogerty hasn't. He is still capable of producing unaffected, chugging rock. From the first foggy-bottom guitar notes of The Old Man Down the Road, to the rockabilly Big Train, to the zesty title track, this record lives up to the anticipation that surrounded its release. Centerfield is truly a solo album, with Fogerty playing all the instruments and producing. His po' boy voice is still distinctive and powerful, his guitar expressive without being showy. The bass and sax playing are merely adequate, and the drum machine is too much in evidence. The Old Man Down the Road, on which Fogerty has his mojo working to best advantage, and Mr. Greed, which is nicely overlaid with shots of razor-backed guitar, both achieve a depth that belies the one-man band effect. Due to the style and the songwriting, Centerfield succeeds even on those cuts which are mostly veneer, giving cause to celebrate the return of one of rock's favorite sons. (Warner Bros.)
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