Creedence Clearwater Revival
You can take the boy out of the trailer
but you can't take the trailer park out of the boy...
I confess, I came within a hair's breadth of growing
up a hick. Spending my early years on a farm on the edge of a small
college town in Michigan, I was for a few years magically suspended
between the highbrow culture in town, and the cousin-kissin' tendencies
of life in the sticks.
It was during this time that I inherited my first
(yes, I had a few) 8-Track tape players, along with the stylistically
confused selection of music that was likely to be kicking around
on 8-Tracks at the time: Bill Cosby, Tom Jones, The Guess Who, Iron
Butterfly, Perry Como, the "Hair" soundtrack.....
Amongst this odd collection were a few Creedence
Clearwater Revival tapes. At the time, this band was inescapable;
they managed to churn out ten top-ten singles in a three-year period
from 1968-1970. Bad Moon Rising, Sweet Hitchhiker, Who'll Stop the
Rain - the list went on and on. At the time, I had a pretty confused
impression of who they were and where they were from. With all the
talk about bayous and whatnot, I figured they were southern boys
making it big in the city. In spite of the fact that I played them
over and over (8-Tracks were good for that), I never really let
on to my less rural friends that I liked them as much as I did.
I was just under ten at the time, and this era, with its weird technology
and weird cultural evolution, were soon behind me. It was the seventies,
for cryin' out loud. We had Nixon,
oil embargoes, exploding
Pintos, the Joy
of Sex, and Disco to worry about. Because of my age and bad
attitude, I was required to be a "Punk" before there was
even a word for it, around the time the Sex Pistols were still just
a gleam in Malcolm MacLaren's eye. Not much room for music like
A little ironic then, that in 2005 new technology
(the web, Bittorents,
i-music, and a friend's i-pod) would wake me up to the genius of
John Fogerty and Creedence
Clearwater Revival. A friend played "Fortunate Son"
for me on an i-pod in their car, and acted as if CCR was some new
band (they had snagged the tune from the Forrest
Gump soundtrack, of all places). After a few childhood flashbacks
and sampling a few more tunes via allmusic.com and bittorrents,
I was doomed. I purchased most of their releases on CD, and was
left wishing I'd just bought the damn Complete
Boxed Set .
After marveling for awhile at the amazing songwriting
- a lot of these tunes clock in at around 2 1/2 hook-infested minutes
- I had to find out how these southern boys got such slick production
out of their studio in the swamp (bet you didn't know "Swamp
Pop" was a genre, did you?).
Surprise surprise. They were a San Francisco band,
more specifically, from El Cerrito. I don't really care how or why
these cats ended up writing and playing the way they did, it is
sheer pop genius on the order of any American or British band you
can name from the era. Why Creedence
Clearwater Revival isn't having more of a Creedence Clearwater
Revival Revival is beyond me. This stuff is amazing
in its excellent song craftsmanship, clean, straight-up production
values and playing, as well as being pretty evocative in its feel,
especially in tunes like "Who'll Stop The Rain", "Run
Through The Jungle", "Lodi", even the quirky "Lookin'
Out My Back Door". They also turned out some pretty smart topical
material, like "Fortunate Son".
This stuff is definitely worth a spin. In fact, as
soon I finish polishing the gun-rack in my pickup, I'm gonna drive
over to the flea market and look for more of their stuff on 8-Track.
That is, if I have any cash left after buying new beer mirrors for
my "Mobile Home".