Sep 262013

Guys, I'll stand up here and you all try to melt into the shadows, ok?

Guys, I’ll stand up here and you all try to melt into the shadows, ok?

Mod’s recent foray into the orange singles box of his youth and the inclusion of CCR’s superb “Commotion,” along with my recent viewing of CCR live at the Royal Albert Hall in April 1970, got me to thinking about Creedence. I never owned any Creedence singles and until my 30s, probably, never owned any Creedence albums other than an old tape I made of Creedence Gold way back. But just from listening to FM radio growing up, I knew a ton of Creedence recordings. Based on my occasional visits to classic rock radio in more recent times, Creedence is still in very heavy, one might say excessive, rotation, though a more limited selection of songs than in the olden days, I think. I suspect that to many younger listeners Creedence is overly familiar, beaten to death, worn out.

But, jeez, what a crazy burst of creativity their records are. Setting aside the pre-CCR Golliwog recordings, they hit the ground running with their first lp in July 1968, and over the next 2 1/2 years out pour five–five!–albums, ranging from very good to absolute killer: Bayou Country (1/69), Green River (8/69), Willy & the Poor Boys (11/69), Cosmo’s Factory (7/70), and Pendulum (12/70). (Clearly, sleep was not a priority in 1969.) Then, the afterthought of Mardi Gras (4/72). They place 14 songs in the Top 40 during that same 1968-1972 period (including the b-side “Commotion”).

John Fogerty’s post-Creedence records have never much interested me. The first record definitely has its moments and I think Mardi Gras does as well though I don’t know when I last listened to it. So, really, I think when we talk about CCR we are looking at the crazy-prolific 2-year span of 1969-1970. For my money, Green River and Cosmo’s Factory are the best of the lot. I never get tired of all 7 minutes plus of “Ramble Tamble.”

But the thing is, I know next to nothing about Creedence.


  17 Responses to “Creedence Revisted; or, Over-Familiarity Breeds Contempt”

  1. diskojoe

    First off, you do know that there were 2 Fogertys in the band, John & his big brother Tom. I think Tom was the leader of the band when it was the Blue Velvets/Golliwogs unitl John’s talent asserted itself in CCR. Tom left in 1971 after differences w/John, which persisted even on Tom’s deathbed, whe he told John he was on Saul Zantz’s side.

    Speaking of Saul Zantz, the reason why CCR pumped out so much material in 1968-72 might have been that they were contractually obligated to do so. It’s still rather impressive, just like the Beatles’ output from ’62-’66.

    CCR is one of my fave San Francisco bands, along w/the Flamin’ Groovies, Sly & The Family Stone & the Beau Brummels, which were all probably out of step w/the Dead & Airplane ethos, but they all made tight songs that you can still listen to today.

  2. A few months ago I heard a John Fogerty interview that was fairly open and informative. I was surprised. I know what you mean, though: for a band that cranked out that much killer material in that short a time there seems to be very little written about them and how they worked, etc.

  3. Here’s something I never knew about the band until just now!
    CCR Rider!

  4. 2000 Man

    I think the thing is, they worked their asses off and toured and recorded non stop for two and a half years, and got boned by their manager, so John quit. I don’t think there was time for anything else. I like them a lot, though. But I don’t listen to them all that often.

  5. 100% agree about Ramble Tamble, which is my favourite Creedence song.

    That said, I’m not huge on a lot Creedence songs. Each of their first, say, four albums have two or three killers (which, by my diligently calculated maths, makes 12 killers, which in turn is 12 times as many killers as a lot of artists) but I can take or leave most of the rest of their output. Songs like Down on the Corner, Bad Moon Rising and Fortunate Son are okay, but have been slaughtered by high rotation.

    Mind you, John Fogarty has THE BEST voice in rock and roll history.

  6. Can any of you long-standing RTHers here verify my memory? I feel like long ago – maybe in RTH v1 – we had a thread discussing bands that had a concentrated career. My recollection is that three leaders in the category were CCR, The Who, & The Band.

    CCR, as noted, did a lot in a very short period of time. They had their whole career in a few years. The Band’s period of greatness was similarly brief but they dragged on for a few more years, disbanded, re-grouped without Robbie, and then played a R&R version of 10 Little Indians. The Who’s period of greatness was brief and they’ve managed to drag it out for a further 4 decades.

    Any others?

  7. Television, which cemented its amazing all-time, legends of rock status with side 1 of its debut before fizzling out over the course of side 2.

  8. misterioso

    Hi all, thanks for the comments and I should say that I didn’t realize this got posted–I had intended to go on, probably at tiresome length. So, as it happens, probably just as well.

    To Tony Tea’s comment above about some Creedence songs being “slaughtered by high rotation”–yes, exactly, this is just where I was going with this. Mostly–maybe entirely–these are great songs that have been ill-served by their constant presence on classic rock radio. Can I remember a time when I could listen to “Bad Moon Rising” without rolling my eyes? Yes. But barely. This was what sent me, however long ago now, to the albums themselves: to try to hear these over-familiar songs in a (for me) unfamiliar context. It definitely helped. “Who’ll Stop the Rain”–objectively, I think, a great song and a great recording, but very overplayed–sounds a lot fresher in the context of Cosmo’s Factory than alongside two other worn-out CCR songs in a “rock block” on classic rock radio.

  9. misterioso

    Perhaps a result of Zaentz insisting that they keep up their stamina so that in 1970 they could try for four lps instead of the mere three they managed in 1969. Note that Doug Clifford is on a bike on the cover of Cosmo’s Factory, too.

  10. You know what I think is weird about CCR? They might be the only classic rock band that didn’t write love songs. Admittedly, I don’t know a lot of the deep album cuts, but I probably know 40 of their songs and the closest they get to a love song is As Long As I Can See The Light and that’s really more about rootlessness than love.

  11. Sorry for pulling the trigger prematurely on your post, misterioso. I’m glad that the quality you had waiting there for further editing was strong enough to get discussion going.

  12. In John Fogerty’s Fresh Air interview from last year (?) he notes the fact that he never wrote love songs. Then he played some love song from a recent solo album that he wrote for his wife in lieu of giving her make-up roses, or whatever. It was a pretty sweet story from the man behind Fogerty Syndrome, but the song was only so-so.

  13. misterioso

    No worries. You must have sensed I was about to start to ramble. Ramble tamble.

  14. ladymisskirroyale

    So having grown up with a lot of CCR on the radio, I’m interested in checking out more of their deep cutz. I contacted “someone” on this site about a recommendation for which album to start out with for this purpose, and was told that the Greatest Hits basically captured the CCR glory. Maybe he was being kind, as he usually is, or not wanting to hear me complain if his recommendation was bad. But really, where would you start for further progression with CCR?

  15. Was that me? It sounds like something I would say. I do agree with that advice. Of their distinct albums, I am most likely to spin Green River.

  16. 2000 Man

    I like Cosmo’s Factory a lot. Ramble Tamble and Run through the Jungle are both on it, and that’s hard to beat.

  17. ladymisskirroyale

    Yup. You.

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