OA: Fogerty does justice to ‘Blue Ridge Rangers’ this time around
John Fogerty said that he wasn’t pleased with the original “Blue Ridge Rangers” album that he released in 1973. It was an album of classic country covers including “Hearts of Stone,”
“Jambalaya,” and “She Thinks I Still Care,” in which all instruments, including drums, were played by Fogerty. In fact, if you look closely at the cover, you will see that all five of the players on it are of Fogerty, with four of them with different instruments in his hands.
On Tuesday, Sept. 2, Fogerty released “The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again” so he could “make up for the first one,” Fogerty said.
I wasn’t going to order a lot of them for the store because I wasn’t sure they would sell.
Fortunately for us, I decided to open a copy after talking to my AEC sales rep and finding out that there was a great band behind Fogerty for this record, and what a band it is. Greg Leisz from Dave Alvin’s Guilty Men is on every song, as is the great Buddy Miller, and Jason Mowery plays several string instruments to perfection. Special guests include Herb Pedersen, Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit, among others. It is, however, the songs that Fogerty chose and his incredible voice that are the real stars of this record.
Vocally, Fogerty seems to this listener to be very relaxed and having a great time making this recording, which features a dozen wonderful songs. John Prine’s classic “Paradise” is the first song on the disc, and Fogerty’s vocal accent is perfect for it, along with Greg Leisz’ incredible steel guitar. “Never Ending Song Of Love” from Bonnie and Delaney Bramlett is next, with more great steel guitar from Leisz and great background vocals from Pedersen and Jodie Kennedy.
On the third track, Henley and Schmit join Fogerty for some great vocals as they cover Rick Nelson’s all-time classic “Garden Party.” The next three tracks include a playful cover of Buck Owens’ “I Don’t Care (Just As Long As You Love Me),” John Denver’s wonderful “Back Home Again” and Ray Price’s “I’ll Be There.”
The second half of the record starts with a new version of Fogerty’s “Change In the Weather,” which was first released on Eye of the Zombie in 1986. “Moody River” is the next great song, and I thought that it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t remember who originally did it. When I found out it was Pat Boone, it made sense to me as to why I couldn’t remember.
“Heaven’s Just a Sin Away,” originally recorded by the Kendalls, is exquisitely performed by Fogerty and Kennedy. The up-tempo country classic, “Fallin’ Fallin’ Fallin’,” originally recorded by Ray Price, is another nod to the original Blue Ridge Rangers album.
Robert Geddings’ classic “Haunted House,” a song that has been covered by Lynn Anderson,
Jerry Lee Lewis and Kiss, among others, is given the classic country delivery here, with Greg Leisz again shining on the pedal steel.
The record closes with Fogerty being joined by Bruce Springsteen on the Everly Brothers’ classic, “When Will I Be Loved.”
I was pleasantly surprised by this wonderfully uplifting CD that is a lot of fun to listen to — over and over again.