brilliant or over-rated?
The background story...
After the 'John Fogerty' solo album, John wasted no time proceeding to record more material for a new album to be followed with a tour, backed by his favorite musicians. In April 1976 he released a new single, 'You got the Magic/Evil Thing' which barely made it to the charts and did not sell a great deal. The single, so was announced, would be an advanced single from the soon to be released new John Fogerty album 'Hoodoo'. But as time passed 'Hoodoo' 's release was cancelled and set to a later date. A date which never came....
After the complete failure of the single, John had offered Asylum Records his material for the album. 'Hoodoo' was given a catalogue number (Asylum 7E-1081), and a cover was printed (which you can see here for the first time on the 'net). Shortly before shipment of the album, the decision was made to withdraw the album. It never really became clear what happened, but the story is that John and Joe Smith (the head of the label) together decided the album was not up to the high John Fogerty standard. This may have been hard for John to take and admit, and this is what John said: ''It was a mutual decision between Joe Smith and myself. This was a confusing and very painful time in my life. I still feel the decision not to release it was the correct one. I feel that the songs and the music started out with inspiration, but were left unfinished and unresolved. If I had been stronger at the time, I would have worked harder to bring things up to the level that I demand.''
Asylum Records however must have been looking to the matter from a commercial point of view. The record was short -only 9 tracks- so there was no room for fillers and errors, and maybe they were a bit afraid. OK, the record was not up to John's high standards - and a bit short-, but it certainly wasn't bad. It was a doubtfull decision, the record would've been a big hit... or not??
John Fogerty, who always destroys un-released material probably didn't have the courage to destroy his material this time... And so an illegal bootleg recording eventually reached the fans. Hopes still ran high among fans because John didn't destroy the material. But some years later, while being asked if he would ever release 'Hoodoo', be it as a mid-priced compilation or as bonus tracks on future CD's, John said: ''I instructed Asylum to destroy the master tapes sometime in the 80's. I still think that was the correct decision, too. Perhaps some day I will re-write and re-record some of those songs. The old 'Hoodoo' album really wasn't very good.''
You Got The Magic: This song opens the album with a few loose chords before going into a pounding groove. Talking about 'Voodoo', 'Magic' and 'Children Of Night' this a-side of the only 'Hoodoo' single sets the scene for the album.
Between The Lines: Midtempo, great melody and good lyrics make this a personal favorite of mine. This one is definitely up there with other Fogerty classics...
Leave My Woman Alone: Using great percussion, this is a cover from of Ray Charles song. John really makes a great cover while keeping the sound and arrangement in the style of the album. This song resurfaced when John attended the 1985 'Rock And Roll All-star' TV show.
Marchin' To Blarney: This is the only instrumental on the album and it's a simple tune backed by a maritime drum rhythm. Nothing special, but it grows on you, though...
Hoodoo Man: A rocking tune sung in the best Fogerty style. With strong vocals and tight guitar solo's, this is one of the man's best. The
narrator is a strange man who's 'got the devil by the horns'...
Telephone: A song with a strong melody, this is one of my favorites on the album. Midtempo and a great lyric make this a definite classic.
Evil Thing: A spooky song about not getting over a woman who still haunts the narrators mind ('You Evil Thing - Why do you haunt me'). Good, but a bit too much of the electronics.
Henrietta: Nice and rocking with lots of guitar, this is the second cover (of a late 50's song by Jimmy Dee) on the album. Also, with a lot of electronic sounds.
On The Run: This is a great Fogerty original, with strong melody and a good song to close the album. One of my favorites.
After reading this, you might be thinking that I like this album. You betcha! Ofcourse it all comes down to personal taste, but I think there are some sparks of genius on this album and we can only guess what might have happened if John got this album out, went on tour and kept his production up instead of running to his studio and not surfacing for eight years with 'Centerfield'. It boggles the mind...
Thanks to Peter Koers for his excellent extra info from his book 'Rocking All Over The World'... John's quotes courtesy of Gary Jackson.
The front cover of the unreleased 'Hoodoo' LP
The back cover of the unreleased 'Hoodoo' LP
The German 'You Got The Magic/Evil Thing' single-cover
The French 'You Got The Magic/Evil Thing' single-cover