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KENNY ARONOFF OR
HOW TO MAR A GREAT RECORD

Premonition is a hallmark John Fogerty recording on many accounts:

First, it shatters the long-standing rejection John Fogerty has harbored against live albums. Old time fans will remember the first live CCR LP -as a trio in Europe- was   released no sooner than  two years after the group disbanded. And that a better performance(the Oakland concert featuring all four members) was out only in 1980. Both albums saw the light of day under strong objections from John Fogerty.

Second, it strays away from John Fogerty's previous distaste for filmed performances. To this day Creedence must be the only top Rock band with absolutely NO commercially-available video from any of its classic shows, not to mention the distinctive one at Woodstock which ought to make any band proud, but whose inclusion in the recent Woodstock Movie Anniversary release was opposed by JF on the grounds of being a "poor performance.".

Third, it's John Fogerty's wink towards commercialism and contemporary marketing practices: the album features a previously unreleased great original tune, PREMONITION, first performed at the concerts where the album was recorded. And in a swift departure from JF previously held strong objections against CCR music in films, the new song is slated for inclusion in a WB-produced motion picture thriller this fall.

Fourth and foremost,  it's the first chance for general fans all over the world to own a legit recording of John Fogerty doing his classic Creedence Hits after all these years, and in Live form to top it all. Born on the Bayou, Green River, Down on the Corner, Bad Moon Rising - humorously nicknamed "Bathroom on the Right" by the very author - Who'll Stop The Rain, all the well-remembered songs are there and a few more should be added to the projected video release.

Technically, the album is faultless. Owing, no doubt, to extensive editing and patching -which, if statistics were openly kept about this, would surely put it on a par with Roger Water's THE WALL Berlin performance- Premonition sounds just like a recording fresh from the studio. Some may miss the real environment of a live venue but this was clearly   John Fogerty's idea for his first live album. Hence its sound - or better said, the perfection of its sound - is on a par with all JF solo productions, from his one-man-band times of Blue Ridge Rangers through the manicured presentation of Blue Moon Swamp. Purists are in for a treat.

Fans who have attended one or more of John Fogerty's 1997 shows will find all the familiar elements: JF's bowing to his old Kustom Amp, the song he "loves most" because he wrote it for the Love of His Life, and some novelties introduced in Europe like the audience singing along the familiar groove of Proud Mary. John Fogerty has added for this album two of his supposedly-lesser-known tunes too: "Almost Saturday Night"  and "Rockin' All Over The World," both from his second solo LP dubbed the "Shep Album", and both finely performed.

PREMONITION would be a delight of a job, were it not for its drummer. Listening to the CD can turn out to be somewhat of a chore because of Kenny Aronoff's  poor, ill-timed, obtrusive drumming. Aronoff is not an imaginative drummer. His playing is loud and monotonous. To say he lacks finesse and refinement would be an understatement. Mr. Aronoff's excessive, redundant drumming gets in the way of the sheer enjoyment of John Fogerty's guitar licks and the dimension of his signature singing. In fact, drummer Kenny Aronoff falls out of sync with the songs and fails to avoid every young drummer's temptation, namely to fill up the songs in all kinds of fashions in every one and all of the  lead guitar silences. The drama of the blues-oriented rock  and its half- a-second delay are gone, beaten to death by Mr. Aronoff's restless gloved blows. It's the amateur drummer's dream to fill and fill and fill that has gotten satisfied to the hilt in this record, making a needless buzzing in the process.

Some insiders will prefer the ROSKILDE JF bootleg recording over the official PREMONITION album and have said so at the Mailing Lists. To those to whom Mr. Aronoff's lack of discipline, excessive enthusiasm and redundant drumming have ruined what we regard to be the greatest rock music in the world, we shall have to wait for the official release of JF finest live performances yet, the Vietnam Veterans show and the more recent VH1 "Storytellers" unforgettable unplugged broadcast.

 

Javier Diaz
(who is solely responsible
for the views above)

 

 

 

 

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