How many solo albums has John Fogerty, one of the most celebrated figures in rock history, had since Creedence Clearwater Revival called it quits in 1972?
The most likely answer is two: "Centerfield," his great 1985 comeback, and "Eye of the Zombie," the less successful 1986 follow-up.
But the correct answer is four.
The other albums were "John Fogerty," which was the singer-songwriter's official solo debut in 1975, and "The Blue Ridge Rangers," a 1973 salute to his Southern country, blues and gospel roots.
The albums have been somewhat lost in rock history because they didn't have the consumer impact of the '80s packages and because they have been unavailable in CD.
The "John Fogerty" album--released by Asylum Records and containing the mini-hits "Almost Saturday Night" and "Rockin' All Over the World"--is still not available in CD, but "Rangers" has just been released in CD by Fantasy Records.
One reason that the "Rangers" was lost the first time around is that it was billed as a Blue Ridge Rangers album, even though Fogerty played all the instruments and did the vocals. To make sure no one misses the point this time, Fantasy has added Fogerty's name to the cover of the CD. Unfortunately, Fantasy failed to note on the album package that it is a 1973 album. It's easy to assume that it is a new recording.
The album itself, however, is a delight. Fogerty was especially enthralled with country music at the time he recorded "Rangers" and the material leans heavily in that direction--songs either written by or associated with such artists as Merle Haggard ("Today, I Started Loving You Again"), George Jones ("She Thinks I Still Care") and Webb Pierce ("I Ain't Never").
There's also, however, some stirring gospel material in the package, including "Workin' on a Building" and "Have Thine Own Way, Lord," and a jewel of '50s R&B in "Hearts of Stone."
Anyone who shares Fogerty's country and blues enthusiasm may also be interested in a Blasters retrospective. Titled "The Blasters Collection," the CD on Warner Bros./Slash features 20 songs from the Los Angeles band that in the '80s made some of the most infectious roots-flavored rock since Creedence, music that combined a celebration of rock 'n' roll with insightful social observation.