My Think Again column is called “Billionaire Media Moguls vs. Occupy Wall Street” and you can find it here.
John Fogerty plays “Cosmo’s Factory” at the Beacon:
Twenty-three years or so ago I saw John Fogerty play Creedence music for the first time in decades in honor of the opening of the Vietnam Veterans’ memorial in Washington and as a personal catharsis over psychological issues that had prevented him from making (almost) any music at all following the bitter breakup of the band and the loss of all of his publishing rights. Fogerty was, by his own admission, a pretty sour fellow back then. Now he’s such a happy fella, it’s almost embarrassing to be around the guy. His stage patter is Paul McCartney-esque, about how wonderful his wife and kids are, and you know, sunshine on his shoulders makes him happy, that kind of thing.
But oh, the songs…. Also like McCartney, Fogerty has, in his back pocket, some of the most powerful, nearly perfectly crafted pop music and his band recreates the originals to perfection. Beginning with Cosmo-CCR’s strongest album, he made this 41-year-old-relic sound as fresh as my 13-year old kid. (Tonight he is playing “Green River.”) Given that Fogerty grew up thousands of miles away from the various southern bayous, cotton fields, nooks and crannies of American life that give these songs their inspiration, one is tempted to feel that there is a larger force of life and creativity working through him in an almost supernatural fashion. But it is not a tombstone shadow; rather it’s a good moon rising; an archetypal American artform being re-invented while so much of the rest of the world around him was immersed in psychedelic experiences that yielded mostly self-indulgence. Fogerty’s tight, locomotive-like arrangements put you in a frame of mind that makes you glad to be alive. Here’s some Youtube from the wayback machine.
New CDs/collections from The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, U2, Nirvana, The Arcade Fire, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, R.E.M., Phil Spector, Frank Sinatra, The Grateful Dead and a few others:
It’s been a great season, cd-wise, for people like me, who are getting kinda old for new music but interested in going more deeply into the music we’ve always loved, and particularly enjoy getting some historical context to accompany the moment, both to deepen the enjoyment and expand our knowledge. In the past few weeks, I’ve discussed massive box sets by Pink Floyd, Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys, all of which clock in at least $100, hardly a casual purchase. But for fans, (rather than fanatics, scholars, etc.) the companies and the artists want your money too and some of them are willing to put some time and effort into this as well.