The Hoodoo Project (and why you’ll never hear it)
Last week I reported that I “just came up with a reissue/tribute idea that could be even less commercially successful than The Sandinista Project.” I’ve done some research and realized there’s no way I’d be able to pull off the new project, so I’m about to move on. But, before I do, I thought it might be fun to share what I had in mind.
In 1976, John Fogerty, the genius behind Creedence Clearwater Revival, recorded his third solo album, Hoodoo. It was a diverse album, ranging from the classic Creedence sound to very of-the-moment disco. For a variety of reasons, both aesthetic and commercial, the record was pulled at the last minute, and Fogerty began the first of his two long silences, not releasing any new music until 1985. I didn’t hear a bootleg of Hoodoo until just before Fogerty’s Centerfield comeback, and it is one weird record. “You Got the Magic,” for example, which snuck out as a single before Fogerty and/or his label put the kibosh on the full album, mixed Fogerty’s usual approach with a production approach that anticipated whole chunks of Saturday Night Fever. There are some low points on the record, but at least two of the cuts — the ballad “Between the Lines” and the rocker “On the Run” — rise to a level with his best work.
This was my idea for bringing Hoodoo back to life: a 2-CD Hoodoo Project set. The first disc would include the original Hoodoo and some non-album Fogerty recordings from the period; the second would be a Sandinista Project-style re-do of the nine cuts on the record, by nine different performers. The package would accomplish two goals: bring to light an unreleased, half-forgotten record (disc 1) and show how strong the songs are when placed in unexpected new settings (disc 2). Seemed like a fun project, a chance to turn on people to something they hadn’t heard, might even come together faster than the four-years-from-idea-to-release Sandinista Project.
But no. Turns out Fogerty still hates either that record or that time of his life, and even if I could get the rights to the record from whoever/whatever owns it now, I’d never want to force out an unreleased album over the objection of a performer who wanted it to stay unreleased. So it’s on to the next thing. Ninth-generation copies of the unreleased record remain available via the usual dubious online sources, and I think I’ll still be able to live a full life even if the country-punk version of Hoodoo‘s “Marchin’ to Blarney” I hear in my head never comes out. Onward!