Back ... And Laid Back

Deja Vu All Over Again (Geffen)
John Fogerty

By Kevin Gibson

Last time John Fogerty released a solo project, the album came out with plenty of fanfare and a triumphant tour in which Fogerty began playing old Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes on stage once again. That was 1997. Fogerty seems to be enjoying a quiet life of semi-retirement, because his newest effort, Deja Vu All Over Again, is a collection of ten polished and, well, rather quiet tunes.

The standout is the title track, in which Fogerty draws comparisons between the Vietnam War - which he protested during the late 1960s and early 1970s while with CCR - and the Iraq War. The song goes so far as to lift a bass line from "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" Sounds trite, but the truth is it works quite well.

However, the rest of this record is fairly hit and miss. "She's Got Baggage" sounds like a light tribute to the Ramones, essentially being a composite of "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "The KKK Took My Baby Away" in its arrangement, but recorded and performed much more carefully. Other highlights include the wispy "Sugar, Sugar (In My Life)," the happy, acoustic "I Will Walk With You" and "Wicked Old Witch," a throwback swamp-rocker.

But track three, "Radar," seems strangely out of place with its heavy keyboards and pseudo-synth feel. Yech. Here's proof that Fogerty is much better served playing organic music that comes from the heart as opposed to trying to force a certain kind of sound.

All in all, the disc is worth buying, in part because Fogerty's offerings are so few and far between and in part because it's evident that he hasn't lost his sincere love for the craft of rock 'n' roll. For my money, sincerity goes a long way in a world filled with posers and wannabes. ?>