Album Review of
Change in the Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty

Written by Robert Silverstein
October 17, 2019 - 4:59pm EDT
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Detroit native, singer-songwriter Janiva Magness has released several albums on the L.A. based Blue Elan label and in 2019 she tackles the fabled songbook of Creedence Clearwater Revival main man John Fogerty. The resulting album, Change In The Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty, is a fitting revival of Fogerty’s music during the CCR era. The only problem with this album is the fact that the music of Creedence, at least in the mind of someone who grew up during their heyday, is that it’s forever linked to the fabled 1968 to 1972 period and, bringing it into the 2020 era is a challenging effort at best. The magic of Creedence was that it was truly a period piece in time; Nixon, Vietnam and the major influence of early FM radio was raging at the time and Fogerty and Creedence was very much part of it. Some of the tracks work better than others. “Have You Every Seen The Rain” was originally a very bouncy, stately pop track when it came out but Janiva tears it down to a slow blues, losing much of the Top 40 pop edge the song originally intended. One track that does work great on Change In The Weather is the lesser-known track “Someday Never Comes”, originally featured on the Mardi Gras album from 1972, the final CCR album before their sad, acrimonious split. That track sounds very much like John Fogerty trying to write like Harry Nilsson and, looking back it sounds somewhat inspired by Nilsson’s 1968 classic “Mournin’ Glory Story”, yet, in the capable hands of Ms. Magness it’s a misty-eyed reminder of a CCR song that never got its proper due. The timeless message of “Fortunate Son” is given a proper cover here and is another highlight. Several guest artists appear, including blues legend Taj Mahal and Ms. Magness and her tight band are superbly recorded in the studio. Track by track liner notes by Janiva underscores her personal connection to the music of CCR. Does the pop-centric, early FM radio groove of Creedence work well in a hard-edged, bluesy, 21st century rock tribute album setting? Listen to Change In The Weather and you decide.