There is a lot not to like about 2020 as we struggle through this global pandemic and the state of civil unrest. It hasn’t been easy for anyone. One of the highlights of the year is seeing people come together to make the best out of a crappy situation. John Fogerty is one of them.
Throughout the past spring and summer, John gathered with his children to make YouTube videos covering some of his classic tunes. The band was dubbed Fogerty’s Factory, named after one of CCR’s best know albums, Cosmos Factory. Rather than me describe it, here is what they have been up to:
As the popularity of the YouTube videos grew, so did the quality of the recordings:
Fogerty’s Factory is a collection of most of what they did for YouTube this past year.
When I first listened to the album, I was instantaneously taken back through the year that was. I can image someone coming to this album in the decades to come, wondering why these recordings sound somewhere between high and low fi (All mistakes and background noises are left in). Why tunes like Bill Wither’s Lean on Me and Steve Goodman’s City of New Orleans (heavily influenced by Arlo Guthrie’s version) are chosen as covers. A couple of John’s shorter intros where he makes a statement that should NOT be seen as political (Hopefully in the future they will not be) further establish the time line.
Even though all of these tunes were originally recorded at least 23 years prior to 2020, I was listening to the year being archived through music. How they are recorded is the time stamp.
This album is not about the setlist (Although the fact that Blue Moon Swamp from 1997 is heavily represented with 4 tunes warms my heart to no end) or how well the band performed. Honestly, John’s kids are competent but they’re not going to wow you with their musical prowess. None of these cuts are going to replace the originals on the radio or show up John’s past performances with professionals on stage.
For me, this is a time capsule. It reminded me of what we had to do and the sacrifices we made. Of course, most had to do A LOT more than simply stay at home and play music with their kids in front of an iphone, but this album isn’t for cynics.
Fun bonus. A side by side comparison of Cosmos Factory and Fogerty’s Factory. I adore how John’s never changes his cloths: