Thursday, January 1, 2015

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Swamp Rock

Creedence Clearwater Revival, often referred to as simply, “CCR,” is among the ranks of the greatest-ever American pop/rock bands. The tremendous commercial success and critical acclaim that the band attracted during their relatively short career places the band among the elite of American rockers.

Emerging from the working-class town of El Cerrito, California, in the mid-Sixties as the “Blue Velvets” and then later, the “Golliwogs,” CCR evolved into the quintessential American band with a sound that rejected the psychedelic fashion of the day in favor of a rootsy, traditional sound heavily influenced by country and blues music. Their sound would be dubbed, “swamp rock” as it was reminiscent of Southern performers such as Dale Hawkins and Lightnin’ Slim and evoked images of the American South.

CCR was comprised of Stu Cook on bass, Doug Clifford on drums, and the Fogerty brothers, Tom and John, on guitar. John Fogerty was lead singer, lead guitarist, sole songwriter and the creative force of the band. It was his creative domination of the band that would eventually lead to resentment by the other members and eventual dissolution of the band.

John Fogerty wrote some of the greatest songs in rock history during CCR’s run and many were released as singles that reached high positions on the pop charts. “Proud Mary,” “Born on the Bayou,” “Fortunate Son”, “Down on the Corner,” “Lodi”, “Green River,” Who’ll Stop the Rain,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” and others cemented John Fogerty’s place in rock history.

CCR’s hit singles are scattered fairly evenly through their studio albums. All CCR’s albums, “Creedence Clearwater Revival”, (1968) “Bayou Country” (1969), “Green River” (1969), “Willie and the Poor Boys” (1969), “Cosmo’s Factory” (1970) and “Pendulum” (1970), are classics, save the last one, “Mardi Gras” (1972), which was an extremely spotty effort..

It was on Mardi Gras that John Fogerty encouraged his band mates, Clifford and Cook, to contribute songs. The result: several good songs by John such as “Sweet Hitchhiker” and “Someday Never Comes” and mediocre ones by the others. This album proved once and for all that CCR was really a one-man show, after all.