Let Your Plaid Flag Fly

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Well friends, I gots a whole mess of things here to say and no mistakin’. There’s a new mix here for one, but some things before we get to it. So let’s start at the beginning and carry on until we gets near to an end or some type of thing like that. This here’s a fine record at the top, and I’ve been meaning to get to this since I heard, indeed even heard of it, for the first time last year. How’d that slip by? I put a track off of it into the Gospel Revue show a short while back, and if you ain’t one of the folks subject to our pesterin’ on the facebook you might’ve missed that I finally stuck a couple of them shows up on mixcloud the other day. The keen eared might’ve picked out the voice. This is John Fogerty’s first solo record. It’s a bunch of old country and gospel songs and such and he plays and sings every damn thing on it, that’s five silhouettes of him on the cover too. To start with it was kept low key, but later versions have his name on it in stupid big bold letters too. Anyway, it’s a great song selection and great versions of  ’em and his voice is great and y’know, it won’t change your life but it’s a really good record. I guess I never paid much all that much attention to what he did after Creedence, I think this was the last record he did on his ridiculous contract for Fantasy before refusing to work for them and going into a sort of self imposed exile. I sure do love the way he looks kinda like Steve Martin in some of these old  Creedence pics…

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So anyways I was thinkin’ on this and what, if anything, I might have to say when I see he’s made a new record, it’s just come out and hit #3 on the billboard chart, so maybe you’re aware. It’s called ‘Wrote A Song For Everyone’ after a song of his and is the absolute polar opposite of makin’ an album of old songs he loves all by hisself, this is one of them tombstone, career validating, marketing exercise, biz exec idea, nightmare type records where he sings his old songs with a bunch of other people that just make your damn heart sink. I know he got screwed financially so you can’t begrudge him the cash (well mostly, there are $275 packages that come with ‘Fortunate Son’ flannel shirts and God knows what all) but seriously, look at the list of folks on this thing – Keith Urban, Foo Fighters, Bob Seger, Alan truckin’ Jackson, Kid freakin’ Rock! Tom bastard Morello and serial stage jumpers of the new dull – My Morning Jacket. Seriously, is this the best they could do? OK Seger, I’ll give you, makes pretty good sense having had a roaring voice to match Fogerty’s. Unfortunately, it’s put to no real use on the more tender ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’. Also on the more laid back side My Morning Jacket’s crack at ‘As Long As I Can See The Light’ is pretty good, probably the best of a bad bunch. but you know what I mean about them. The rest look like the accountant’s choices. As you’d probably expect there ain’t a single note here to supplant the originals in your affections or a single interesting idea or approach to any one of the songs. there’s more magic in the first few opening seconds of Creedence’s version of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ than in this whole regrettable thing. It’s dreadful, and I mean shockingly bad, right the way through.

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There was a possible hint of things to come when he made a second Blue Ridge Rangers record a few years back. It starts out great with a version of John Prine’s ‘Paradise’ but starts to slide with the always unwelcome appearance of The Eagles’ Don Henley and winds to a terrifyingly bad end as Fogerty duets with Bruce ‘the Boss’ Springsteen on the Everley brothers’ ‘When Will I Be Loved’. You don’t need to hear it. I’m sure I don’t need to explain, just think about it. Fog horn Fogerty and neck vein poppin’ Springsteen bellowing their way through the gentle harmonies of The Everleys. Who in the hell thought that was a good idea? they don’t seem like the kind to do a bucketload of coke and make a stupid decision like that. They was probably stone cold sober. What. The. Hell?

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Now, the one track I was looking forward to hearing on this new record was the closing  ‘Proud Mary’ with Allen Toussaint and The Rebirth Brass Band. The song of the Mississippi given full roar by a New Orleans Brass Band from it’s shore, home to the riverboats it hymns still sounds a good idea to me – but this ain’t it. It starts out Cajun, goes a little street parade and is an all in ugly mess and total waste of an opportunity. Shame. Still, it ain’t like there’s a shortage of great versions of ‘Proud Mary’ is it? To be honest I don’t even know how they managed to screw it up. ‘Proud Mary’ truly is the song he wrote for everyone, it sounds like it’s always been here, like he pulled it up off of the bed of the Mississippi itself. We had Elvis givin’ it his all back a little while ago and so an idea for a new mix was hatched. We got people doing songs he covered on The Blue Ridge Rangers record and some wonderful Creedence covers too – notably Solomon Burke’s great ‘Proud Mary’ and Mavis Staples’ truly glorious take on ‘Wrote A Song For Everyone’. There’s some pretty big country names here and erm, Leonard Nimoy too. But it ain’t all about Fogerty by any stretch there’s a whole other story going on in here too but we’ll get to that next week sometime or something. bother me tomorrow. Here it is…

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Rollin’ with Randy & Earl

Solomon Burke – Proud Mary
Mavis Staples – Wrote A Song For Everyone
The Blue Ridge Rangers – Somewhere Listening (For My Name)
The Osborne Brothers – Lost Highway
Merle Haggard – California Blues
George Jones – Things Have Gone To Pieces
Little Willie John – She Thinks I Still Care
Blind Boys Of Alabama – Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Swan Silvertones – Working On A Building
Porter Wagoner – If I Lose My Mind
Buck Owens –  I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Lookin’ Out My Backdoor
Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman – Psycho
Freakwater – Selfishness In Man
Leon Payne – Sister Sue Polka
The Ventures – Have You Ever Seen The Rain
Leonard Nimoy – Proud Mary
Bo Diddley – Bad Moon Rising
Willie Nelson – Today I Started Loving You Again
Leon Payne – I Love you Because
Evelyn Evelyn – You Only Want Me Cause You Want My Sister
The Handsome Family – Lost Highway
Paula Nelson – Have You Ever Seen The Rain

bowling, bowling..

bowling, bowling..

~ by Mumblin' Earl on June 14, 2013.

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