John Fogerty

"John Fogerty timeless at MGM Grand" (GO Magazine)

John Fogerty (Associated Press photo)

CONCERT REVIEW: John Fogerty timeless at MGM Grand

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. - The frontman and face of Creedence Clearwater Revival is going back to his roots.

Guitarist/singer/songwriter John Fogerty, 64, performed Friday night at MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods, and his growling voice and guitar riffs are as timeless as ever, still smoothly capturing that simple country rock sound.

Fogerty has a new album, "The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again," a long-awaited followup to his first solo album, "The Blue Ridge Rangers" from 1973 that he played all the instruments on.

Both albums showcase Fogerty as a country musician more than the rocker he was in CCR, and are full of standard cover songs. However, the latest one has even more of a country feel, with fiddles, mandolins, pedal steel guitar, and guest appearances by Don Henley and Bruce Springsteen.

Friday's concert featured Fogerty's old and new solo material along with a slew of classic CCR numbers. It was a captivating and lengthy mix, stretching 27 songs over two hours.

After opening with 1970's "Up Around the Bend" and "Green River" from 1969, the cover version of "Suzie Q" off the debut 1968 CCR album, was extended. The tune took CCR from clubs to the Fillmore almost overnight.

The show turned country with one of Fogerty's new songs, "When Will I Be Loved," a cover of the Everly Brothers song Linda Ronstadt made famous. Band members played a fiddle and pedal steel guitar.

"Lookin' Out My Back Door," one of five hits off "Cosmo's Factory," record of the year in 1970 and considered the peak of the group, saw a band member on acoustic guitar.

Most of CCR's popular songs came out in 1969 and 70 when they were America's premier singles band, with seven major hit singles and outselling The Beatles.

"Lodi," the countryish "Midnight Special," and an acoustic version of John Denver's 1974 "Back Home Again" - also on the new album, were compelling.

With a floor bass nearby, Fogerty jammed with fiddler Jason Mowery on "Big Train (From Memphis), from his 1985 comeback album, "Centerfield," that hit No. 1 on the charts.

"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?," released toward the end of CCR's short but sensational run, was acoustic.

Also new is "Garden Party," a cover of the sweet Ricky Nelson song.

The rhythm and blues "The Night Time is the Right Time" followed.

"Born on a Bayou" involved bongos.

Fogerty sang and played three smashes from his 1985 album: the title track "Centerfield," "Old Man Down the Road" that saw six band members with guitars lined up, and "Rock and Roll Girls," while mixing that set up with "Down on the Corner" and "Bad Moon Rising."

After "Fortunate Son," the encore had CCR's "Hey Tonight" and the classic "Proud Mary" (Rollin' on the River) from 1969 and the band's first of 15 Top 10 tunes, nine of which were consecutive. It was the first of five CCR hit singles that peaked at No. 2 on the charts - a record for a group without having a number one song. Fogerty wrote the song on a steamboat. Ike and Tina Turner's 1971 version is so successful many think they had the original.

Not making the song list were CCR's "Sweet-hitchkiker," "Run Through the Jungle," "Travelin' Band" and "Who'll Stop the Rain."

Fogerty and CCR's music also has touches of blues and rockabilly, and has also been called swamp or southern rock.

Born in Berkeley, Calif., Fogerty and his older brother Tom and other schoolmates formed CCR in 1967 after having been in other bands starting back in 1959. The band, which played Woodstock, broke up in 1972 but Tom Fogerty, who died in 1990, had left a year earlier.

Fogerty and CCR were influenced by Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard. They influenced Springsteen, Bob Segar and the Hollies.

Fogerty played at the Orpheum Theater in Boston Sunday night.