Album Review: “Centerfield” by John Fogerty
via John Fogerty/YouTube
Back in the Game
John Fogerty’s third solo album came almost a decade after its predecessor. Released on January 14, 1985, it was a long time coming for fans. He went on hiatus after his LP Hoodoo was shelved. But as what he told BAM in a 1985 interview, “That was the greatest thing that ever happened… The first thing I decided was I could take the time to have taste again, you know, the way it was before, when nothing came out until it was ready.”
The iconic rocker didn’t just write all the songs on Centerfield. He also played all the instruments. Although it spawned a couple of hits, it wasn’t as brilliant and stunning as his Creedence Clearwater Revival efforts. Of course it’s not fair to compare them since we can’t expect even someone as massively talented as Fogerty to churn out nothing but stellar songs. Nevertheless, his genius still shone through and overall, Centerfield is a strong and solid record.
The Old Man Down the Road is an absolute classic and reminiscent of CCR’s swamp rock music. Rock and Roll Girls is one of the more accessible tunes and it’s fun and catchy too. Big Train (From Memphis) is a straightforward country rocker. I Saw It On T.V. is gentle and soulful. Mr. Greed is on the harder side but quite forgettable.
Searchlight is a bit bluesy and while not exactly the highlight, it’s not something you’d want to skip. The title track is upbeat and bouncy. Fogerty’s vocal performance is stellar too. I Can’t Help Myself is interesting because it sounds out of place on the record but then again, keep in mind that it was released in the ’80s and so all things considered, it’s a refreshing addition. Zanz Kant Danz or Vanz Kant Danz in later pressings is a direct reference to Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz. He sued Fogerty and claimed that The Old Man Down the Road sounds similar to CCR’s Run Through the Jungle which was also written by Fogerty.
Centerfield, on its own, is still impressive and an absolute classic at that. Even way past his heyday, John Fogerty proved he could still deliver the goods.