Posts Tagged ‘Craft Recordings’

Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Fillmore

Craft Recordings is continuing the 50th anniversary celebration of Creedence Clearwater Revival.  In 1968, John Fogerty, Tom Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook released their first album together, providing the perfect soundtrack for a tumultuous period in American history. Over just seven albums issued between 1968 and 1972, the band’s rootsy rock-and-roll sensibility yielded such all-time classic hits as “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River,” “Down on the Corner,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” Last November, Craft Recordings released a deluxe box set containing CCR’s complete seven-album studio discography in new half-speed masterings by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios.  On March 15th, those new 180-gram, half-speed mastered editions of the first two albums –“Creedence Clearwater Revival” and “Bayou Country” will receive stand-alone LP releases.

In its press release for the box, Craft described the mastering procedure for these albums: “Using high-res transfers from the original analog tapes, the half-speed mastering process involves playing back audio at half its recorded speed while the cutting lathe is turned at half the desired playback speed. The technique allows more time to cut a micro-precise groove, allowing more accuracy with frequency extremes and dynamic contrasts.”  Miles Showell offers further insight into his own approach: “I’ve tried to be as authentic as I could, and just make it sound like music. Not over-hyped, not over-processed. Up until now a lot of processing has been done on these recordings, so my approach was to strip them right back and just expose them for what they are – because what they are is great music.”

Released in the summer of 1968 — a year after the summer of love, but still in the thick of the Age of Aquarius  Creedence Clearwater Revival’s self-titled debut album was gloriously out-of-step with the times, teeming with John Fogerty’s Americana fascinations. While many of Fogerty’s obsessions and CCR’s signatures are in place  weird blues (“I Put a Spell on You”), Stax R&B (Wilson Pickett’s “Ninety-Nine and a Half”), rockabilly (“Susie Q”), winding instrumental interplay, the swamp sound, and songs for “The Working Man” — the band was still finding their way. Out of all their records (discounting Mardi Gras), this is the one that sounds the most like its era, thanks to the wordless vocal harmonies toward the end of “Susie Q,” the backward guitars on “Gloomy” and the directionless, awkward jamming that concludes “Walking on the Water” Still, the band’s sound is vibrant, with gutsy arrangements that borrow equally from Sun, Stax, and the swamp.

Fogerty’s songwriting is a little tentative. Not for nothing were two of the three singles pulled from the album covers (Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q,” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You”) — he wasn’t an accomplished tunesmith yet. Though “The Working Man” isn’t bad, the true exception is that third single, “Porterville” an exceptional song with great hooks, an underlying sense of menace, and the first inkling of the working-class rage that fueled such landmarks as “Fortunate Son.” It’s the song that points the way to the breakthrough of Bayou Country, but the rest of the album shouldn’t be dismissed, because judged simply against the rock & roll of its time, it rises above its peers.

Bayou Country (40th Anniversary Edition)

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.

Despite the personal and professional tensions that plagued the band, CCR’s joyous brand of Americana keeps on chooglin’. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are still active today, with John Fogerty headlining his own solo shows, and Cook and Clifford performing as Creedence Clearwater Revisited. (Tom Fogerty died in 1990.)

The timeless Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bayou Country are due from Craft Recordings on March 15th.  (Note that Amazon is currently showing a March 29th release date.)

Creedence Clearwater Revival (Fantasy 8382, 1968 – reissued Fantasy/Craft, 2019)

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R.E.M. / In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 to be reissued on 2LP vinyl

Warners’ 2003 R.E.M. compilation In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 will be reissued by Craft Recordings as a double vinyl set in May.

This album collects highlights from the band’s post-I.R.S. Records years from 1988’s Green to 2001’s Reveal. The 18 tracks include hits like ‘Losing My Religion’, ‘Everybody Hurts’ and ‘Stand’; selections from soundtracks (‘The Great Beyond’ and ‘All the Right Friends’) and the previously unreleased ‘Bad Day’ and ‘Animal’.

This set was commercially very successful and issued across a number of formats –  as well as standard CD and cassette editions, there was a 2CD package with a bonus disc of B-sides and rarities and a DVD-Audio with 5.1 surround mixes.

A two-LP vinyl set was issued at the time, but it was only released in Europe and was extremely limited (reflected in the astronomical prices required to secure one on the used market . So this new vinyl edition from Craft Recordings will be very welcome and represents the first time it has been available in the USA and Canada on vinyl.

In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003will be issued as a 2LP set on 10 May 2019

It was in the summertime half a century ago that the world first met CCR, a group that would reach sky-high success while retaining a resolutely rootsy, earthbound sound. An incredible legacy that was formed in just four years of unbridled creative output (1968 – 1972).

Beyond its anti-war sentiment, “Fortunate Son”is an anthem for the 99%ers, condensing a critique of elitism and class privilege into three simple, but powerfully defiant words: It Ain’t MeCraft partnered with director Ben Fee (Band of Horses, The War on Drugs, The Lumineers, Aesop Rock) to give a whole new generation a visual entry point into the world of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The song already has an undeniable place in history as one of the most visceral, attention-grabbing protest tunes of the Vietnam era. And though the Vietnam War is in the rearview mirror, the underdogs CCR spoke for in “Fortunate Son” are still the heart and soul of America, only facing a whole new set of challenges.Fee turned the video into a celebration of their indomitable spirit, giving viewers a glimpse of the broad array of characters comprising the patchwork that is our country at its core.

Fee’s video road trip took him across the country, from Los Angeles to Miami and all points in-between. The footage captures people across America of diverse ages, cultures, ethnic backgrounds and locations (including Florida, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, California, Washington and Hawaii) to document the true spirit that makes up the fabric of the United States, for which CCR have been the soundtrack for 50 years. Says Fee, “I wanted to highlight the community and positivity that everybody shares . . . I wanted to show what America feels like when you actually hit the road and drive throughout the States.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival
: The Complete Studio Albums: Half Speed Masters Deluxe Boxset

The arrival of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 50th anniversary brings an unprecedented celebration of everything the band contributed in their short but startlingly epochal time together (1968 – 1972). To commemorate this milestone, Craft Recordings is releasing a deluxe box set comprising the band’s complete seven-album studio output: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bayou Country, Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys, Cosmo’s Factory, Pendulum and Mardi Gras. Each album in this collection has been mastered at half-speed at Abbey Road Studios, benefiting from an exacting process that allows for an exceptional level of sonic clarity and punch, bringing these classic recordings a new vibrancy. The 180-gram LPs come housed in handsome tip-on jackets replicating the packaging of the original pressings. Along with the complete studio album collection comes an 80-page book featuring new liner notes from music journalist Roy Trakin, archival photos and reproductions of band ephemera — offering something for both new and the most die hard of Creedence fans. Available November 30th, 2018.

The evolution of the album art for Buddy Guy’s 1968 Chicago blues classic, A Man and the Blues.

One of the great living musical legends, blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy has had a fundamental influence on modern music. Born in Louisiana, Guy relocated to Chicago in his early 20s, where he would collaborate with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Junior Wells. Bridging traditional blues with a modern, sometimes avant-garde style, Guy’s flashy stage presence and pioneering electric guitar techniques would make him a star in his own right, and by the late ’60s, with the release of his second album, A Man and the Blues, Guy was influencing the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Throughout the ’70s, and ’80s, Guy spent much of his time on the road, performing in Europe as well as the US, and opening a Chicago nightclub, Buddy Guy’s Legends, in 1989. The ’90s and ’00s found Guy enjoying renewed success as a recording artist, earning several gold records and multiple GRAMMY® Awards. Guy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, received the National Medal of the Arts in 2003 and was awarded with Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. Having released over 20 studio and live albums, Buddy Guy continues to record and tour, always delivering a masterful show, ever-evolving in his style and sound.

Buddy Guy’s legendary electric guitar licks and passionate vocals are on display in A Man and His Blues, with an adept backing band that includes the great Otis Spann on piano and a snappy sax trio. Featuring a handful of original tracks, a surprising and highly original rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” plus classics like “Money (That’s What I Want),” Guy’s influential second album bridges Chicago blues with R&B. This 50th anniversary reissue was also cut from the original analog master by Capitol Mastering’s Ron McMaster.

Buddy Guy will be touring in the U.S. throughout the summer in 2018, and will be a part of the Rock Legends Cruise VII in February 2019.  Guy also recently appeared on David Letterman’s series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, available now on Netflix.

Junior Wells (1934–1998), was known as the “Godfather of the Blues,” he was one of the giants of the Chicago electric blues scene. Best remembered for his soulful, dynamic amplified blues harp playing and incendiary vocals. Junior and guitar legend Buddy Guy shared one of the blues’ most famous and fertile musical partnerships, tag-teaming in the studio and on stages around the world for 30 years. Junior’s Coming at You (1968) showcases the duo’s stylistic synergy as they infuse a selection of blues standards with a double dose of fiery attitude, backed by a tight band including Lefty Dizz on guitar, Douglas Fagan on sax and Clark Terry on trumpet.

Junior Wells one of the preeminent Chicago bluesmen, known best for his impressive amplified harmonica stylings and fervent vocals. As a teenager in the early ’50s, Wells began his career with the Muddy Waters Band, replacing Little Walter on the harmonica. By the end of the decade, Wells was successfully leading his own groups, often teaming up with fellow Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy. Infusing his blues with the sounds of contemporary rock, funk and soul, Wells was easily embraced by a rock audience, and by 1970, he was playing the Fillmore West and touring with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Canned Heat. Known for commanding the stage with his impassioned live performances, Wells would continue to perform (often with Guy) and record throughout the blues resurgence of the ’80s and ’90s. Even now—two decades after his death—he remains a revered and influential musical icon.

An iconic, electric blues album of the ’60s, Coming at You features harmonica and singer Junior Wells at his finest. With fellow Chicago musician Buddy Guy on lead guitar, Coming at You showcases the two fiery musicians’ talents in the studio as they play a selection of blues standards, backed by a tight band including Lefty Dizz on guitar, Douglas Fagan on sax and Clark Terry on trumpet. Back on vinyl for the first time in over 40 years, this 50th anniversary reissue was cut from the original analog master by Ron McMaster at Capitol Mastering.

Warner Bros.

R.E.M will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its hit Automatic for the People LP with a deluxe reissue later this year. Following the successful release of Out Of Time, their first album with Warner Bros. Records, R.E.M. began work on their eighth studio album Automatic For The People which was to be an album full of faster, more upbeat songs . The end result, however, was music that frontman Michael Stipe described as “very mid-tempo” and “pretty fucking weird”. But those weird songs, including “Drive”, “Everybody Hurts”, and “Man on the Moon”, would help the album go platinum four times in the US, six times in the UK, and be considered one of the best albums ever released by the band.

The band broke the news via social media, telling followers the Automatic anniversary edition should arrive this autumn. Although we’re still waiting on specific details regarding the set’s contents, it’ll presumably follow the pattern established by last year’s deluxe 25th anniversary reissue of Out of Time, which added demos, live tracks, videos, and new liner notes to the remastered LP.

Automatic for the People‘s reissue is being supervised by the freshly launched Craft Recordings imprint under Concord Bicycle’s label umbrella. As recently announced via a Concord press release, Craft was established to help the company place a greater focus on its large and expanding vault of catalog recordings by a variety of artists and labels, with an emphasis on the deluxe packages that have surged in popularity over the last several years.

“Using the original analog masters whenever possible, the company will create thoughtfully produced, detailed packaging with a commitment to preservation and a meticulous devotion to quality,” reads the company’s press release. “Further, Craft Recordings will continue to partner with artists and estates to preserve and enhance the musical heritage of these landmark recordings and compositions.”