Posts Tagged ‘Stu Cook’

On August 2nd, Craft Recordings will release the Official full hour-long concert by Creedence Clearwater Revival in a 50th year celebration of the appearance at the Woodstock Festival. The show delivered a classic run-through of eleven well-known CCR songs. This historic show will be delivered on vinyl 2LP package. The set will be called “Live At Woodstock”.

Woodstock has long been considered the classic Rock and Roll event by which ALL festivals pattern, govern, and aspire to. To date, none have superseded the event. Many bands refused to go and be a part of soon to be historic festival, but for those that did, they forever became a strong tie-in to Woodstock. One of those bands was Creedence Clearwater RevivalCCR were at a peak and this hour-long set helped to contribute to their growing fame. I’m sure no band ever regretted joining this ‘at the time’ unsure festival plagued with everything that could possibly go wrong.

This long sought-after release celebrates the 50th anniversary of Woodstock by giving fans a front-row seat to relive Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hour-long set as it was performed that historic night in August of 1969. Kicking off with “Born on the Bayou,” the album features the band’s biggest singles of the day including “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River,” and more. Full of creative energy, John, Tom, Stu, and Doug delve deep into their music, playing extended improvisations of “I Put a Spell on You,” “Keep on Chooglin’” and “Suzie Q.”

Taken from Creedence Clearwater Revival “Live At Woodstock”, available August 2 via Craft Recordings.

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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)

Creedence Clearwater Revival released their second LP “Bayou Country” on January. 5th, 1969. The record was the first of three albums CCR would release in 1969.

In an early review, Rolling Stone thought that the album suffered from a major fault of inconsistency. “The good cuts are very good; but the bad ones just don’t make it,” it said. The review was positive on the title track “Born On The Bayou” ..with John Fogerty/Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Fogerty and Stu Cook ,Doug Clifford. Bayou Country wasn’t Creedence Clearwater Revival’s biggest album. Green River, released a few months later, became their first chart-topping record.) Bayou Country didn’t produce the most hit singles. (That was 1970’s Cosmo’s Factory, with three straight Top 5 songs.

Yet, this sophomore LP is perhaps CCR’s most important, if only because it represents the moment where John Fogerty found his own voice. And in the most unlikely of places: the American South, far away from his California roots.

“All the really great records or people who made them somehow came from Memphis or Louisiana or somewhere along the Mississippi River,” Fogerty wrote in Bad Moon Rising. “I had a lifelong dream that I wanted to live there. I never even thought about the social pressures. To me, it just represented something earlier, before computers and machinery complicated everything, when things were calm and relaxed. And singers like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters gave me the feeling that they were right there, standing by the river. The South just seem to be where all the music that’s kicked everything off started from.”

This fascination stretched back to his earliest musical memories, and helped push “Proud Mary” – Fogerty’s first important song – to a best-ever No. 2 spot on the singles chart. The album opened with the delightfully swampy “Born on the Bayou,” traveled darkly by “Graveyard Train” paused for an amped-up cover of “Good Golly Miss Molly” (which Little Richard recorded in New Orleans) and concluded with the chicken-fried expanses of “Keep on Chooglin’.” Creedence Clearwater Revival surrounded Fogerty’s craggly yowl with a sharp combination of R&B, country and rockabilly courtesy of the late rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford.

Bayou Country felt of a piece, however, a gothic vision as complete as it was unexpected. And that vision was all Fogerty’s. “I know that the specific memories I would try to paint — that I would try to talk about, even in that song — are my own memories,” Fogerty told the New Yorker. “Those were things that, in one way or another, actually happened in my childhood. Quite a few of them, anyway. I was creating an atmosphere — even, almost a mythical world — that existed within that album.”

He never looked at it as appropriation, but rather as a cradle for his imagination. In fact, the first single Fogerty remembers hearing was a rootsy double-sided 45 given to him by his mother – “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races,” written by Stephen Foster. Later, he “was fascinated to learn that even though he wrote all these songs about the South, Stephen Foster was from Pittsburgh!” Fogerty wrote in Bad Moon Rising. So, why couldn’t he?

‘Oh! Susanna,’ I loved it then,” Fogerty noted told the New Yorker. “It’s one of my favorite songs. I think, perhaps, what my mom may have done accidentally was set me off in a direction we would now loosely call ‘Americana.'”

Just six months after their self-titled debut, Creedence Clearwater Revival seemed like an overnight sensation. But they had actually spent a decade polishing and shaping this sound under earlier band names like the Blue Velvets and the Golliwogs. Something had finally clicked, and songs started pouring out of Fogerty at such a furious pace that they were suddenly having arguments over which one should appear on CCR’s A-sides.

“I didn’t think ‘Proud Mary’ was that good, if you want to know the truth about it,” drummer Doug Clifford told Goldmine. “I just didn’t like it. I liked ‘Born on the Bayou.’ To this day, it’s still my favorite Creedence song. It’s nasty, and I was disappointed when [the single] got flipped.”

“Proud Mary” was the hookier, more mainstream song, and its detail-rich tale of a narrator who ditches it all for life on a riverboat clicked with a wider audience, opening the door for a string of hits. “It was John’s first real Tin Pan Alley kind of tune, with a beginning, middle and end,” Stu Cook told Louder Sound. “And the track has a very laid-back feel, very greasy. A really deep groove.”

The song’s sense of nostalgic abandon also provided a welcome distraction in a war-torn world. Written after Fogerty earned an honorable discharge from the Army, “Proud Mary” was a tone-setting moment for Bayou Country, and the first in a non-consecutive string of five CCR tracks that stopped just short of the No. 1 spot.

“Once I had written ‘Proud Mary,’ the heavens opened up,” Fogerty told Florida Weekly. “Right there that afternoon as I was writing that song, I knew that this was a great song. I knew this was what they used to call a standard. They probably call it a classic now. This was far above any song I had ever written in my life.”

Everything started moving very fast for Creedence Clearwater Revival, as they released two more albums by the end of 1969. One minute they were crowding into a Volkswagen bus for their shows; the next CCR were swooping in on a Lear jet. Funky bars had become huge venues and then Woodstock. This transformation didn’t suit everyone.

“We were a garage band from our inception, and we worked hard at our craft,” Cook said in the Louder Sound interview. “But I think we were at our best on a smaller stage, closer to an audience that was really paying attention. When you get on a stage that’s 40-feet wide, you kind of lose touch with each other. It’s harder to get the feeling across. It’s more of a spectacle.”

At the same time, Fogerty had now assumed a central role in every part of their output, and that was already fostering stubborn divisions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Creedence Clearwater Revival soon began to break apart under the sudden stress.

“In making Bayou Country, we had a real confrontation,” Fogerty told Rolling Stone. “Everybody wanted to sing, write, make up their own arrangements, whatever, right? … I basically said, ‘This band is going to make the best record it can make, and that means I’m going to do things the way I want to do ’em.’ That sounds very egotistical, but that’s what happened – and the other three guys had to swallow and go, ‘Okay, yeah, that’s what we’ll do.’ For the next two years it worked great, and then at some point they didn’t want to swallow and say, ‘That’s nice’ anymore.”

A ranking and review of the studio albums by the legendary swamp-rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. This list also includes their brilliant live album. A true tragedy when Creedence broke up, had they stayed together they really could have taken the 1970’s by storm.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras (1972)

Creedence Clearwater Revival really deserved a better swan song than what they got with ‘Mardi Gras’. How the final Creedence album turned out was a real shame. Released in 1972, Tom was out the door, and John had reconnected with Doug and Stu after almost a year apart with little or no contact,

After John’s brother, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, left the band, John gave the other two members of the group album space to write and sing their compositions. I’ve never heard this, but I’m happy to avoid it – even John’s material like ‘Sweet Hitch-hiker’ and ‘Someday Never Comes’ isn’t among his best. It’s generally a unanimous pick for Creedence’s worst studio album.

Creedence deserved a better swan song than ‘Mardi Gras,’ whose title is the most celebratory thing about it. By the time the band arrived here, it was down to a trio with John’s older brother, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, had left CCR over creative control issues. Bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford also had expressed a desire to have a stake in the songwriting, and they got it. For this album, John relinquished his firm grip on the band and split the writing and singing duties evenly among the three remaining members. The result was the most uneven album in the band’s catalog, with six songs contributed by guys who were new to songwriting, not to mention far from naturally gifted vocalists. Cook and Clifford try their best but sound like they want to be in a Creedence cover band (they eventually got their wish, in a way). But CCR’s otherwise wonderful rhythm section isn’t the only thing to blame. After a few years of constant creative output, Fogerty’s well of songs (which once seemed endless) was beginning to run dry. Still, he saved the album from being a total loss with blazing closer “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” and the soulful “Someday Never Comes,” an elegy to terrible fathers, including himself. What a way to go out.


Pendulum (40th Anniversary Edition)

Pendulum (1970)

Pendulum is more of a studio-based album than Creedence’s previous albums – I like the more detailed arrangements, like the soulful organ on some tracks. But on their sixth album since 1968, it feels as though John Fogerty’s running out of songs, and despite a few strong songs like ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain?’, For the baby-boom generation, this is John Fogerty either commenting on the Vietnam War era or the loss of late-1960s innocence and idealism. But Fogerty reportedly wrote the somber, acoustic-guitar-driven song about the friction within CCR, particularly brother Tom’s unhappiness with his role in the group. What’s known for sure is this: “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” was CCR’s last big A-side featuring Tom Fogerty. It reached No. 8 in early 1971.

‘Pendulum’ is Tom Fogerty’s final run with Creedence; he would quickly depart after its release to pursue an unsuccessful solo career, citing stifling creative control from brother John. ‘Pendulum’ would also foreshadow the internal conflicts that had been driving the band apart since they first became famous. During 1969 and 1970, CCR was dismissed by hipsters as a bubblegum pop band and the sniping had grown intolerable, at least to John Fogerty, who designed Pendulum as a rebuke to critics.

Ranking CCR’s albums, we swing back toward the end of the discography to the band’s second-to-last album, ‘Pendulum.’ Creedence’s was thier sixth LP stands out as the band’s most sonically layered album as well as Fogerty’s most obvious tribute to his Stax Records heroes. John not only wrote, sings and plays guitar on every track, he also overdubbed organ and horns (which he played himself) on many of the songs. When the more adventurous sound works, ‘Pendulum’ showcases the band at its best: the sweet church organ that floats through “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?,” the honking sax on the charging “Molina.” When Fogerty overreaches,

The rest of the record is excellent, with such great numbers as the bluesy groove “Pagan Baby,” the soulful vamp “Chameleon,” the moody “It’s Just a Thought,” . Most bands would kill for this to be their best stuff, and the fact that it’s tucked away on an album that even some fans forget illustrates what a tremendous band Creedence Clearwater Revival was.

Creedence sound unremarkable or even worse, untethered (the half-baked prog exercise “Rude Awakening #2”). That said, this is Creedence Clearwater Revival’s most cohesive album; it’s more than just a collection of songs – even if hits such as “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and “Hey Tonight” and the overlooked ballad “It’s Just a Thought” rise to the top. Pendulum was the band’s weakest effort to date.

The Concert (2003)

Released in 1980 originally as ‘The Royal Albert Hall Concert’ but then it was changed on later releases due to the fact that the recordings were not made at London’s Royal Albert Hall. ‘The Concert’ was one of Fantasy’s attempts to continue making money off the Creedence name, years after the band had dissolved and in the midst of their legal battle with John. A merchandising ploy at its best. Nevertheless, ‘The Concert’ is the perfect album to capture Creedence in all their glory on stage; while it may have been John’s brains on the studio recordings, it was Creedence’s energy on the stage. The chemistry and timing between the members is impeccable and they sound fantastic as they rip through their timeless classics.


Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968)

Creedence’s debut album landed on the charts immediately upon its release in 1968. This was due to the strong single ‘Suzie Q’, which saw Creedence put their own distinct twist on the Southern blues that had influenced them; the long version is a tough, delightful jam that conveys this as a band to be reckoned with. The rest of the debut sees the band tear through all the other typical bluesy numbers that most modern rock bands were guilty of doing on their first album to attract attention.

It’s a testament to the rest of Creedence’s catalog that the band’s self-assured debut comes in so low in our ranking of their albums. While most of the rock ’n’ roll world was still suffering the after-effects of psychedelia, CCR were digging for treasure in the mud of Americana. The self-titled album is a sort of sampler platter of what the guys in this band were into, from roadhouse rockabilly to Stax soul. The record also established that these four white boys from California knew their way around a groove, so much so that they scored hits with hypnotic covers of “Susie Q” and “I Put a Spell on You.” But save for the righteously angry “Porterville” (the most underappreciated song in the CCR canon), Fogerty’s original contributions lack the melodic hooks and the gritty atmosphere of his future songs. On their debut, Creedence Clearwater Revival proved they had a sound. Soon, Fogerty would find a voice to go with it. And he was a very quick learner.

Bayou Country

Bayou Country’ (1969)

Creedence came into their own on the band’s second album, with mantle-deep bass grooves, guitars that wafted in like swamp gas and a lead singer whose throaty yowl buzzed right through the heavy air.  ‘Born on the Bayou’ John Fogerty doesn’t just sing this ominous ode to the New Orleans area — he howls it. “To this day, it’s still my favorite Creedence song,” says drummer Clifford . In August 1969, CCR opened its Woodstock set with this song, which probably scared the crap out of many mind-altered spectators.

This was the first of three studio albums released throughout 1969, reveals an assured band; a band that has found its voice between their first and second album, and spotlighting John Fogerty as the driving force within the band. Within ‘Born on the Bayou’, Fogerty 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.

Despite a lack of first-hand knowledge, Fogerty crafted a mood, a time, a place that is so tangible, you can almost feel the muck between your toes. He caught a lightning bug in a bottle. And CCR keep on chooglin’ that way through the album, becoming more interesting with each track – from the snarling gem “Bootleg” to working man’s anthem “Proud Mary.”

To call the song an instant classic is to undersell it. Like their contemporaries in the Band, This is without doubt Creedence’s signature song — the first of five CCR singles to peak at No. 2 between 1969-70  , It also displays all of the band’s signature strengths: an airtight rhythm section, steadily strummed guitars and John Fogerty’s fantastic imagery and working-class sensibilities. After hearing this song, you understand why fans assumed the band was from Louisiana.

Creedence were tapping into something pure and primal about America, taking hard-luck yarns and wrapping them around country-fried mythology.  There are thousands of brilliant rock ‘n’ roll songs, but so few of them rank as honest-to-goodness standards. “Proud Mary” is one of those … and it’s not the only standard Fogerty wrote.
Willy And The Poor Boys (40th Anniversary Edition)

Willy and the Poor Boys’ (1969)

Speaking of timeless standards, CCR’s fourth album opens with a track so strong, it’s endured being associated with Fisher-Price Pocket Rockers and Walgreens’ commercials. If you didn’t know better, you might guess that “Down on the Corner” was a folk song handed down a few generations, instead of something Fogerty wrote in 1969. A lot of fun and a little bit funky, “Down on the Corner” can be interpreted as the story of CCR. It’s easy to picture the Fogerty brothers, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford in their hometown of El Cerrito, Calif., as the “four kids on the corner trying to bring you up” with their “happy noise.”. But the majority of the songs on “Willy and the Poor Boys” have an easy, almost tranquil aesthetic – suggesting a ragtag band playing country shuffles, bluesy boogie woogie and Leadbelly covers out on the back porch or, perhaps, down on the corner. Creedence never sounded more effortless, which must have been hard work. In contrast to the rest of the album (and most of CCR’s catalog), a pair of songs witnessed topical commentary creeping into Fogerty’s writing.

The rampaging “Fortunate Son” was an all-out protest song that was less a specific commentary on the Vietnam conflict and more of an excoriation of cowards who hide behind privilege. As such, it might be the least dated ’60s protest song (it’s certainly among the most exciting to listen to). John Fogerty didn’t grow up privileged or politically connected, but he totally understood that an upbringing with “silver spoon in hand” could later play a big role in working the system, whether it be exemption from military service or paying taxes. Fogerty makes it crystal clear he’s among the have-nots, not the haves, and rock ’n’ roll is all the better for it.

Then there’s the sinister finale of “Effigy,” in which Fogerty runs out of answers and allows a blistering guitar attack to express the all-consuming anger of a turbulent nation.

Cosmo's Factory (40th Anniversary Edition)

Cosmo’s Factory’ (1970)

On the heels of a year in which CCR released three albums, toured incessantly and played Woodstock, it wouldn’t have been surprising if the group decided to take 1970 off. Instead, Fogerty and Creedence pushed through, often drawing on their hectic schedule and weary feelings on their fifth album. Fogerty’s original songs focus on escape and touring (“Up Around the Bend,” “Travelin’ Band”) as well as a less-than-sunny worldview (“Ramble Tamble,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain”), and the LP features more cover tunes than any other CCR release (four). Even the title ‘Cosmo’s Factory’ was a reference to the band’s work ethic. Although relationships within CCR were becoming strained, the guys pumped out some of the best music in their career. Covers included (especially the edgy, epic version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”), ‘Cosmo’s Factory’ features Creedence’s best batch of songs, most of them instantly distinct. There’s the glistening melancholy of “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” Almost a year to the day before ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain’ CCR reached the chart with this precipitous tune. John Fogerty’s thinly veiled tale of disappointment with U.S. politics is showered with a haunting wall of vocals during the chorus, and the song’s three-note acoustic-guitar figure throughout sticks with you as much as the lyrics.

The buzz-saw frenzy of “Up Around the Bend,” Over snarling electric guitars, John Fogerty urges everyone to “leave the sinkin’ ship behind” and “catch a ride to the end of the highway” in this No. 4 Billboard pop hit. Was he yearning for everyone back in the day to ditch the policies of President Nixon’s administration, or merely prompting listeners to take a momentary escape on the open road? Like most CCR songs, there’s enough vagueness to make ‘Up Around the Bend’ timeless as well as adaptable to many experiences. “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.” Just like Down on the Corner’ did the year before, the countrified ‘Lookin’ Out My Back Door’ shows CCR at its most joyous and playful. A rapidly strummed, heavily muted acoustic guitar sets the pace, and along the way John Fogerty sings rather trippy lyrics about all sorts of “happy creatures dancing on the lawn” (perhaps a friendly swipe at the San Francisco Bay Area’s psychedelic scene) while also name-checking country legend Buck Owens.

Meanwhile, Fogerty was branching out sonically by playing a blurting sax on “Travelin’ Band” and using a mellow organ to enhance the “last call” vibe of closer “Long As I Can See the Light.” Then there were the backward sound effects added to the ominous “Run Through the Jungle,” which turns the mysterious “Bayou Country” of a few albums before into a violence-plagued land ruled by Satan. With so many great songs,

Bad Moon Rising

Green River’ (1969)

How did the terrific ‘Cosmo’s Factory’ end up at No. 2 on our list? Because ‘Green River’ is even better. The album isn’t just an excellent introduction to Creedence, but rock ‘n’ roll as a whole. ‘Green River’ is a near-perfect distillation of country, blues, soul and rockabilly, resulting in a record that digs into bedrock Americana. The guitars twang, the bass lines tumble down, the drums chug like a locomotive and Fogerty’s foghorn voice barks above it all. The sound is beautiful in its simplicity – the sound of a band locked into a gleeful groove. John Fogerty’s protagonist looks back fondly to a simpler time and a place where he fished, skipped rocks and scoped out shoeless girls dancing in the moonlight. It’s not all fun and games in this short, tight rocker,  An old-timer warns the narrator that “you’re gonna find the world is smolderin’,” and whenever that happens, he’s always welcome to come back to the comfort and safety of good ol’ Green River.

The songs, on the other hand, are a few towns removed from glee, maybe somewhere around “Lodi” – a dead-end town where Fogerty imagined he might find himself down the road, singing for his supper.

Doug Clifford recalled the night that significantly inspired Creedence Clearwater Revival track “Lodi,” which appeared as a the b-side to “Bad Moon Rising” in 1969. It tells the story of a musician, down on his luck, who finds himself stranded and penniless after playing in the California town.

Although frontman John Fogerty later said he’d never visited Lodi in real life, Clifford said that the band had plenty of experiences in playing similar places.

“We played up and down the Sacramento-Cerrito Valley for four or five years, in pizza places and in bars where people asked us to turn it down because it was interfering with whatever else was going on,” he said. “The night that I really remember, we were in a little bar, and the most people they had in there at any one given time was nine people, all locals, all drunk, all obnoxious. They made us play the full four hours They made us, the entire time, ‘Turn it down, do this do that.’

“So we did it, honored our commitment, and went to get paid. And the bartender said, ‘I’m not paying you guys. You were too loud, you were this, you were that.’” When the band issued an angry demand to hand over the cash, Clifford recalled, “The nine guys stood up in the bar and said, ‘You better leave now.’ And we did.”

But that wasn’t the end: “And to add insult to injury, Stewie [Cook] backed up our truck in haste, trying to leave, and backed up over one of our amps. Not a good deal. So a lot of inspiration for ‘Lodi’ came from that particular evening.”

Between the jaunty chords of “Bad Moon Rising” and the end of all existence described in the lyrics, Something’s lurking out there, and it ain’t good. And once again, John Fogerty uses weather-related imagery to make his point: earthquakes, lighting, hurricanes and “rivers overflowin’.” And in a little more than two minutes, he unloads his mind and prompts you to think about what’s troubling you in your life.

Fogerty was feeling the weight of his responsibility when writing many of the songs on ‘Green River,’ weary of urban “Commotion,” wary of his “Tombstone Shadow,” unable to communicate with his love on “Wrote a Song for Everyone.” Even the warm nostalgia of the title track is tainted by the knowledge that “Green River” might be the last refuge. The push and pull between the full-bore energy of the music and the nagging fear in Fogerty’s heart makes for a fascinating listen, again and again. If you get lost, you can always come home to ‘Green River.’
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CCR - Proud Mary.png

John Fogerty has written some of classic rock’s most enduring compositions, for Creedence Clearwater Revival and for his own solo career. Last September. 30th marked the 50th anniversary of the start of his writing one of his best ever known songs.

“Today is a pretty important day in my life,” he says. “Fifty years ago, in the summer of ’67, I was released from active duty in the Army Reserve. I got home to the San Francisco bay area, right in the middle of the Summer of Love. I bought myself a little binder and on the first page I wrote the words ‘Song Title.’ And then I sat down and waited for something to happen.

“After about a week, I finally had an inspiration and I wrote it down in my little music book. The inspiration was the words ‘Proud Mary.’ I didn’t write the song right away. A few months later, right when I had received my honorable discharge from the Army, I was so happy and excited, I ran in the house and started messing with my Rickenbacker and some chords came together and some words came together and I realized I was writing a song about a river boat.

“I got my little song book and opened it up and right on the first page were those words, ‘Proud Mary.’ And, by golly, I decided that’s the name of the boat!”

It wasn’t until January 1969 that “Proud Mary” was released as a single. It became the first of CCR’s five songs to reach #2 on the charts. (Though they scored nine Top 10 hits, but they never earned a #1.) In 2005, Fogerty was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Recorded by John Fogerty (lead guitar), Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitar), Stu Cook (bass), and Doug Clifford (drums) at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, with John overdubbing instruments and all the vocals later

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)

Green River is the third studio album by American rock and roll band Creedence Clearwater Revival, released in August 1969. It was the second of three albums they released in that year,

Green River The album isn’t just an excellent introduction to Creedence Clearwater Revival, but rock ‘n’ roll as a whole. Creedence were huge band and ‘Green River’ is a near-perfect collection of country, blues, soul and rockabilly, resulting in a record that digs into bedrock Americana. The guitars twang, the bass lines tumble down, the drums chug like a locomotive and Fogerty’s foghorn voice barks above it all. The sound is collectively beautiful in its simplicity – the sound of a band locked into a gleeful groove. The songs, on the other hand, , ‘Lodi’ – a dead-end town where Fogerty imagined he might find himself down the road, singing for his supper. Fogerty was feeling the weight of his responsibility when writing many of the songs on ‘Green River,’ weary of urban ‘Commotion,’ wary of his ‘Tombstone Shadow,’ unable to communicate with his love on ‘Wrote a Song for Everyone.’

If I had to pick a favorite song from this album of Credence Clearwater Revival it would hard… but this song would be a contender. It’s the way Fogerty wearily sings the lyrics, he sounds so much older than he was at the time. The song is off of the great “Green River” album. John Fogerty on writing the song.

“Inspired by my young wife at the time. It was early ’69, and I was 23 years old. We had our first child, who, at the time, was two and a half. I was sitting in my room, writing the songs, pushing my career. Without the songs, the career ends. You might be a great band, but without the songs, you’re not going anywhere. At one point, my wife and I had a mild misunderstanding, I wouldn’t even call it a fight, She was miffed, taking our young son out, wishing I would be more involved. But there I was, the musician manic and possessed the only guy holding things up. Without me, it all collapses, so I’m feeling quite put upon. As she walks out the door, I say to my self, “I wrote a song for everyone, and I couldn’t even talk to you.” I looked at my piece of paper and changed gears. How many great leaders can’t even manage their own families? So I went with that. “Pharaohs spin the message/Round and round and true/Richmonds about to blow up” referring to nearby Richmond, California. It was actually a true emotion that took on a larger meaning. It’s still a special song in the sense that it keeps my feet on the ground. You sit and write these songs, yet you try to talk to your own son and daughter and maybe you’re totally inadequate, trying to explain life to a child. We used to record our album very quickly and I remember finishing five different songs in one afternoon. The fifth one didn’t work, and that was “Wrote A Song For Everyone.” I had to start over on that one.”

Even the warm nostalgia of the title track is tainted by the knowledge that ‘Green River’ might be the last refuge. or fear in Fogerty’s heart – between the jaunty chords of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and the end of all existence described in the lyrics – makes for a rocking listen, again and again.

Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • John Fogerty – lead and backing vocals, lead guitar, piano, keyboards, harmonica, arranger
  • Tom Fogerty – rhythm guitar, except on tracks 2-4
  • Stu Cook – bass guitar
  • Doug Clifford – drums