Saturday, 25 May 2019

Creedence Clearwater Revival - The Best Of

Have you ever seen the rain....

  

Creedence Clearwater Revival were an excellent guitar-based rock band who were in existence from 1967-1972. Their style had a debt to rock'n'roll in it, as opposed to the psychedelia that was all the rage when they began, and, despite being from the San Francisco area, their sound had a Southern rock feel to it. They referenced the Mississippi River, bayous and catfish in their lyrics and for years I had thought of them as a Southern band. Their guitar sound had a Byrds-style jangliness to it but there was also an upbeat, melodic rockiness to them that were big influences on Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen. Canned Heat were another slightly similar band from the same era, but, while they were more bluesy, CCR were more rock'n'roll.

They also had a social awareness that led to some anti-Vietnam War material becoming part of the soundtrack to the late 1960s. While rising in the midst of the hippy era, CCR's often instantly recognisable riffs were as much a part of the musical landscape as anyone. Many of their songs are still staples of driving radio playlists today.


This compilation is twenty-four songs deep, and covers pretty much the best of what the band had to offer, comprehensively. Highlights are the almost iconic, riff-driven rock royalty that is Bad Moon Rising; the Southern rock of Born On The Bayou; the original Proud Mary (made famous by Ike & Tina Turner); the rock'n'roll glory of Travelin' Band; the gritty but melodic singalong rock of Have You Ever Seen The Rain and the anti-Vietnam War anthem Fortunate Son. If you think that is enough classics, think again, you also get the atmospheric country rock of  Lodi; Susie Q; Who'll Stop The Rain and the wonderfully riffy Up Around The Bend.

All the other tracks are excellent too, it has to be said. Take The Band-esque Long As I Can See The Light, the swampy blues of The Midnight Special, the Little Feat-ish Molina or The Beach Boys-covered Cotton Fields. Great stuff. A key to how good this material is can be gained by those that have covered it - Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley, Bob Seger, Tina Turner, U2, Rod Stewart and Bonnie Tyler. Funnily enough, one of the most played CCR covers is Status Quo's Rockin' All Over The World and, strangely, it isn't included on here. Their cover of Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through The Grapevine returns the covering favour impressively, despite John Fogerty's bizarre enunciation of "I hayde it...".

This is an essential collection from an often-overlooked late sixties/early seventies rock band whose influence was far greater than it has often been given credit for. Ask Bruce Springsteen.


TRACK LISTING

1. Bad Moon Rising
2. Born On The Bayou
3. Proud Mary
4. Travelin' Band
5. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
6. Green River
7. Down On The Corner
8. Lodi
9. Fortunate Son
10. Lookin' Out My Back Door
11. Run Through The Jungle
12. I Put A Spell On You
13. Susie Q
14. Sweet Hitch-Hiker
15. It Came Out Of The Sky
16. Who'll Stop The Rain
17. I Heard It Through The Grapevine
18. Hey Tonight
19. Cotton Fields
20. Long As I Can See The Light
21. Molina
22. Hello Mary Lou
23. The Midnight Special
24. Up Around The Bend

B+

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