Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (1971)

AllMusic Review: Throughout 1969 and into 1970, CCR toured incessantly and recorded nearly as much. Appropriately, Cosmo’s Factory’s first single was the working band’s anthem “Travelin’ Band,” a funny, piledriving rocker with a blaring horn section — the first indication their sonic palette was broadening. Two more singles appeared prior to the album’s release, backed by John Fogerty originals that rivaled the A-side or paled just slightly. When it came time to assemble a full album, Fogerty had only one original left, the claustrophobic, paranoid rocker “Ramble Tamble.” Unlike some extended instrumentals, this was dramatic and had a direction — a distinction made clear by the meandering jam that brings CCR’s version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” to 11 minutes. Even if it wanders, their take on the Marvin Gaye classic isn’t unpleasant, and their faithful, exuberant takes on the Sun classics “Ooby Dooby” and “My Baby Left Me” are joyous tributes. Still, the heart of the album lays in those six fantastic songs released on singles. “Up Around the Bend” is a searing rocker, one of their best, balanced by the menacing murkiness of “Run Through the Jungle.” “Who’ll Stop the Rain”‘s poignant melody and melancholy undertow has a counterpart in Fogerty’s dope song, “Lookin’ out My Back Door,” a charming, bright shuffle, filled with dancing animals and domestic bliss – he had never been as sweet and silly as he is here. On “Long as I Can See the Light,” the record’s final song, he again finds solace in home, anchored by a soulful, laid-back groove. It hits a comforting, elegiac note, the perfect way to draw Cosmo’s Factory — an album made during stress and chaos, filled with raging rockers, covers, and intense jams — to a close. — Continue Reading Story

Track Listing:

All tracks are written by John Fogerty, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Ramble Tamble” 7:09
2. “Before You Accuse Me” Ellas McDaniel 3:24
3. “Travelin’ Band” 2:07
4. “Ooby Dooby” Wade Moore, Dick Penner 2:05
5. “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” 2:31
6. “Run Through the Jungle” 3:09
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Up Around the Bend” 2:40
2. “My Baby Left Me” Arthur Crudup 2:17
3. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” 2:28
4. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong 11:05
5. “Long As I Can See the Light” 3:33

 

Schill Score: 8/10

 

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Creedence Clearwater Revival – Green River (1969)

AllMusic Review: If anything, CCR’s third album Green River represents the full flower of their classic sound initially essayed on its predecessor, Bayou Country. One of the differences between the two albums is that Green River is tighter, with none of the five-minute-plus jams that filled out both their debut and Bayou Country, but the true key to its success is a peak in John Fogerty’s creativity. Although CCR had at least one cover on each album, they relied on Fogerty to crank out new material every month. He was writing so frequently that the craft became second-nature and he laid his emotions and fears bare, perhaps unintentionally. Perhaps that’s why Green River has fear, anger, dread, and weariness creeping on the edges of gleeful music. This was a band that played rock & roll so joyously that they masked the, well, “sinister” undercurrents in Fogerty’s songs. “Bad Moon Rising” has the famous line “Hope you’ve got your things together/Hope you’re quite prepared to die,” but that was only the most obvious indication of Fogerty’s gloom. Consider all the other dark touches: the “Sinister purpose knocking at your door”; the chaos of “Commotion”; the threat of death in “Tombstone Shadow”; you only return to the idyllic “Green River” once you get lost and realize the “world is smolderin’.” Even the ballads have a strong melancholy undercurrent, highlighted by “Lodi,” where Fogerty imagines himself stuck playing in dead-end towns for the rest of his life. Not the typical thoughts of a newly famous rock & roller, but certainly an indication of Fogerty’s inner tumult. For all its darkness, Green River is ultimately welcoming music, since the band rocks hard and bright and the melancholy feels comforting, not alienating. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing:

All tracks are written by John Fogerty, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Green River” 2:36
2. “Commotion” 2:44
3. “Tombstone Shadow” 3:39
4. “Wrote a Song for Everyone” 4:57
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Bad Moon Rising” 2:21
2. “Lodi” 3:13
3. “Cross-Tie Walker” 3:20
4. “Sinister Purpose” 3:23
5. “The Night Time Is the Right Time” Nappy Brown, Ozzie Cadena, Lew Herman 3:09

 

Schill Score:  8.5/10

 

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Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bayou Country (1969)

AllMusic Review: Opening slowly with the dark, swampy “Born on the Bayou,” Bayou Country reveals an assured Creedence Clearwater Revival, a band that has found its voice between their first and second album. It’s not just that “Born on the Bayou” announces that CCR has discovered its sound — it reveals the extent of John Fogerty’s myth-making. With this song, he sketches out his persona; it makes him sound as if he crawled out of the backwoods of Louisiana instead of being a native San Franciscan. He carries this illusion throughout the record, through the ominous meanderings of “Graveyard Train” through the stoked cover of “Good Golly Miss Molly” to “Keep on Chooglin’,” which rides out a southern-fried groove for nearly eight minutes. At the heart of Bayou Country, as well as Fogerty’s myth and Creedence’s entire career, is “Proud Mary.” A riverboat tale where the narrator leaves a good job in the city for a life rolling down the river, the song is filled with details that ring so true that it feels autobiographical. The lyric is married to music that is utterly unique yet curiously timeless, blending rockabilly, country, and Stax R&B into something utterly distinctive and addictive. “Proud Mary” is the emotional fulcrum at the center of Fogerty’s seductive imaginary Americana, and while it’s the best song here, his other songs are no slouch, either. “Born on the Bayou” is a magnificent piece of swamp-rock, “Penthouse Pauper” is a first-rate rocker with the angry undertow apparent on “Porterville” and “Bootleg” is a minor masterpiece, thanks to its tough acoustic foundation, sterling guitar work, and clever story. All the songs add up to a superb statement of purpose, a record that captures Creedence Clearwater Revival’s muscular, spare, deceptively simple sound as an evocative portrait of America. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing:

All tracks are written by John Fogerty, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Born on the Bayou” 5:16
2. “Bootleg” 3:03
3. “Graveyard Train” 8:37
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Good Golly, Miss Molly” Robert Blackwell, John Marascalco 2:44
2. “Penthouse Pauper” 3:39
3. “Proud Mary” 3:09
4. “Keep On Chooglin'” 7:43

 

Schill Score: 9.5/10

 

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