It’s a charming, low-key affair – mostly Fogerty originals, which we didn’t get to hear much of in his main gig because the other brother was all over the songwriting.
The band here is probably the real reason to tune in – the prolific Jerry Garcia is the lead guitarist and in fact it’s basically his non-Grateful Dead supporting unit of the time (Merl Saunders on keys, John Kahn on bass and Bill Vitt on drums). It’s lovely, sympathetic playing and there are some good songs from the older Fogerty brother here, particularly the weepy country-croon of Forty Years, a universal ode to the slog of working for the man.
He’s in fine voice too – very similar to John but without the fierceness in the growl. And that’s a pleasant change. His rhythm playing, so important in CCR, is the real anchor here also.
Bill Monroe’s Rocky Road Blues gets a total CCR-remake, and Straight And Narrow has that Fogerty-feel to it, all chooglin’ country/rock/soul amalgam.
But it’s not at all CCR-lite, and certainly not all the time. Faces, Places, People is more like something by The Byrds or Lovin’ Spoonful, Get Funky isn’t ever quite funky but it’s a reminder of some of the good-groove fun of the late-60s/early-70s, lightweight but enjoyable.
And closer (Hold On) Annie Mae returns us to that good chuggin’ rock’n’roll. It might only be a curiosity, but it’s not a shitty record at all. It’s fun. It’s a further reminder that CCR wasn’t just the songs of John Fogerty, it was the sum of all of the players’ work – and here Jerry Garcia and his sideline band play with heart, with soul, with all that you’d want.