CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL – ” Born On The Bayou ” Live at Woodstock 1969

Posted: February 18, 2016 in MUSIC
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What is sometimes forgotten with the passing of time and against the seminal influence of Woodstock is that Creedence Clearwater Revival were one of the few bands to appear at the festival that had already achieved significant success . Truth is that there are some that do not even know about the band’s forgotten Woodstock performance shortly after midnight on 17th August 1969. The reason, of course, is that CCR were not in the movie or the album that came out in the wake of Woodstock.

Creedence’s hour-long set was like a greatest hits album, with ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and ‘Proud Mary’ both having reached No.2 chart positions. As they walked on stage at Woodstock, just after midnight on Saturday, their current single, ‘Green River’ was at No.15, it’s third week on the U.S. chart; it would be their third single to stall at No.2. As John Fogerty later said, “By the time we got to Woodstock, I felt we were the number one band. Assuming that The Beatles were God, I thought that we were the next thing under them.”

This iconic performance, CCR really brought the southern soul to Woodstock in 1969 with “Born on the Bayou.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival opened up their set with “Born On The Bayou.” They also played such hits as “Green River,” “Suzy Q,” and “Proud Mary.” Janis Joplin came on after Creedence. John Fogerty had never actually been to a bayou before writing this song, instead he researched it an encyclopedia.

Opening with this fresh, southerly funk at the greatest concert of all time, Creedence really brought the house down at Woodstock that year .The most famous concert in Rock and Roll history. Creedence Clearwater Revival was actually the first band to sign a contract to play Woodstock. They got $10,000 in exchange for playing a single set. The guys ended up playing just before 1 am on Sunday. John Fogerty allegedly complained about his late starting time due to Grateful Dead playing over their time slot. He thought everyone had already gone to bed. He’s apparently expressed his disappointment in the festival at other times, as well.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s catchy music was one of the true hightlights of the whole festival. Though they started late in the night from Saturday to Sunday their blend of R&B, Folk- and Country-Rock didn’t fail to impress. However, John Fogerty complained that the long set of The Grateful Dead delayed their set so most of the audience went to bed when CCR performed in the middle of the night

For some reasons Creedence Clearwater Revival weren’t heavily bootlegged in their prime time (1967 – 1971 ), but this is a very good recording of one of the greatest bands .

Although we see this as a legendary and life changing performance, the band actually forbade Woodstock to use any of the footage of it in the movie considering they were unhappy with this 3 AM show.

This great, feel- good tune really does make us all want to head down to the South and enjoy some fresh air on the bayou, doesn’t it?

To the band, Woodstock must have seemed like – just another festival, as it did at the time to so many of the artists. In the summer of 1969 CCR had already played the Newport Festival in California, the Denver and the Atlanta festivals, along with the Atlantic City Festival. Given the fact that they were just about the hottest band on the charts every promoter wanted them at the top, or close to the top, of the bill.

Unlike so many of the bands at Woodstock CCR went on stage fairly closed to their scheduled midnight slot, although they were supposed to be in a prime Saturday evening slot. According to John Fogerty, ” We were supposed to be in the prime spot for that evening. The Dead went on and pulled their usual shenanigans.”–

Their hour-long set started at half past midnight on Sunday 17th August and kicked off with the perfect opener, ‘Born On The Bayou’. They followed it with ‘Green River’ and then a cover of Wilson Pickett’s ‘Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won’t Do)’, from their debut album, after which it was ‘Commotion’, ‘Bootleg’, ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and ‘Proud Mary’

They played their current single and their two previous big hits and the other songs in the set, to this point, very much as they were on record. As their set progressed they stretched their songs set into longer, more improvised, rock songs, which was their normal way of playing them.‘I Put A Spell On You’ stretched the 5 minute single to almost twice its length, while ‘Keep On Chooglin’’ ran for close to ten minutes. ‘Suzie Q’, the Dale Hawkins classic had been their first hit and on the album it ran for 8 minutes; for their encore they kept it rocking for even longer.

John Fogerty later said, “I could never put my finger on what it was, but we were considered outsiders in our own town.” Maybe they were outsiders in San Francisco but they were at the top of their game when they played Woodstock. John Fogerty’s unique voice and great song writing had come together as a perfect combination just at the right time.

Why were they not on the film? Most likely their record company at the time was unwilling to co-operate. Did it affect their career? Well it would have done them no harm on the world stage to have had all that additional exposure. Like ‘Green River’, ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and ‘Proud Mary’, both ‘Travellin’ Band’ and ‘Lookin’ out My Back Door’ made No.2 on the Billboard chart. They really were one of the unluckiest bands bands that could never break through to achieve the coveted top spot on the America singles chart, although they did top the charts in Britain with ‘Bad Moon Rising’. Their album, Green River came out a month after Woodstock and it topped the charts for four weeks, as did Cosmo’s Factory following year – it had a nine-week run at No.1. The fact is CCR were huge…but they might well have been even bigger.

Creedence Clearwater Revival Woodstock Performance

The setlist consists of material from their first three albums (the fourth album Willy and the Poor Boys was released in November 1969). There were no surprises, CCR chose only the hightlights. The performances are tight and upright. They rushed through “Green River”, “Bad Moon Rising” and “Proud Mary” and left little room for improvisation. John Fogerty keeping the tempo up and the band just followed him.

At the end they got a little bit more relaxed. The haunting “I Put a Spell on You” (written by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins but nevertheless the opener on their self-titled debut album) hollows in the dark, followed by – the title says it all – “The Night Time Is the Right Time”.

“Keep on Chooglin'”, announced as their last number, includes a harmonica solo and lasts for over 9 minutes. The band then returned with the pretty “Suzy Q” as the encore and jammed for about 10 minutes before leaving the stage at Woodstock forever. This is the full set

1. 00:00 Born on the Bayou (Video)
2. 04:57 Green River (audio)
3. 07:45 Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do) (audio)
4. 11:02 Commotion (audio)
5. 13:46 Bootleg (audio)
6. 16:58 Bad Moon Rising (Video)
7. 19:07 Proud Mary (audio)
8. 21:59 I Put a Spell on You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cover) (video)
9. 26:00 Night Time Is the Right Time (Roosevelt Sykes cover) (audio)
10. 27:59 Keep On Chooglin’ (video)
11. 37:25 Suzie Q (Dale Hawkins cover) (audio)

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