With all the 25th anniversary releases out this summer, it's tempting to look back on 1985 as the pinnacle of good music. Which is somewhat at odds with the reputation the 80s has most of the time. Here, John Fogerty's Centerfield is dusted off and given a two-track boost to create a new release which, but for the last two songs, is the same as the original - but then, that's the point.
This is good old-fashioned country blues from the Creedence Clearwater Revival singer, songwriter and guitarist. Drums and steel-stringed guitar, sax and vocals, recorded in such a way that you can almost picture the band sat on a stage, rather than in a recording studio. It's pretty close to live music, in many ways.
Track 2 - Rock And Roll Girls - is a fine example of the spirit of this album, with good clarity of the different instruments at work, but still a coherent whole performance for the listener to revel in.
Track 10 - My Toot Toot - is one of the two new additions (along with the closing I Confess) and fits nicely alongside the nine original songs. An energetic piece, it's well worth a listen in its own right, and not just as a part of the added-value offered by this album.
As a side note, I Saw It On T.V. is also particularly enjoyable and evokes more than a little of the old Eagles/Jackson Browne spirit. Which is no bad thing, in my book.
Well, it's hard to argue with the pedigree of an album still worthy of rerelease after 25 years. Critics claim that Fogerty's absence from the music world in the late 70s and until the release of Centerfield in 1985 is apparent in the songs - that they somehow sound more 80s than they might otherwise. Personally, I think the occasional use of electric guitars adds energy that will please some listeners, and is a useful means of boosting the variety that has probably helped to keep things sounding fresh two and a half decades on.
Are there any outright criticisms? Well no, not really. I have no bones to pick here. This is a timely collection of music that anchors well into the era in which it was first released. Don't expect a totally timeless listening experience - expect to reminisce. Or to learn something, if (like me) you had barely been born first time around.
Final Score: 75%