Photo by Miranda Penn Turin/Reprise recordsYou think you like Neil Young, but you don't. You like John Fogerty—the down-home flannel-flyin' aw-shucks guitar rock, the inspiring-but-not-embarrassing Everyman politics (thanks to George W., Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" is a renewed goldmine for royalties), and that baritone as ragged as an old pair of jeans, which by the grace of genetics is about the only thing Young couldn't absorb as his own (but, yeah, the guy does know how to borrow: even Devo got copped during their appearance in Young's Human Highway, when Akron-ian argot like "rust never sleeps" turned into an album title . . .). And those My First Critical Thesis think pieces that came out back when someone made up the word "grunge" made the same mistake, tagging Young's cosmetics onto Fogerty's aesthetic: like Mike Watt a long time before him, Kurt Cobain knew a good hook and a good heart when he heard it. That Creedence Clearwater Revival aged as preternaturally well as it did is pretty much thanks to Fogerty, who ran the band with an iron claw (even making sure unreleased material was destroyed!), teaching the band every part and adding harmonies in the studio—they had no idea what "Proud Mary" was gonna sound like until they heard the LP, he once said. So although Fogerty's career without CCR was never a, er . . . well, he used the phrase "semi-disaster," the guy always held on to a sound—and an identity—all his own.
John Fogerty performs at The Pacific Amphitheatre, Orange County Fairgrounds, 100 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 740-2000; www.ocfair.com. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $33-$55. All ages.