Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bayou Country (1969)

Keep on chooglin'....


Released on 5 January 1969

Running time 33.48

This was Creedence Clearwater Revival's second album, and it was their "swamp rock" album. The band were from San Francisco, yet this deep, bluesy rock offering sounds as if it straight from the Cajun swamps and backwoods of Louisiana. John Fogerty and his band created an imaginary sort of Americana that all sounds incredibly authentic. It is a proper rock album. Hard as nails, growling and cutting in its vocals and guitar respectively.


1. Born On The Bayou
2. Bootleg
3. Graveyard Train
4. Good Golly Miss Molly
5. Penthouse Pauper
6. Proud Mary
7. Keep On Chooglin'                                            

Born On The Bayou is a dense, swamp bluesy piece of mid-pace rock. It is hugely atmospheric. John Fogerty spoke of his inspiration in writing it thus -

“…..”Born on the Bayou" was vaguely like "Porterville," about a mythical childhood and a heat-filled time, the Fourth Of July. I put it in the swamp where, of course, I had never lived. It was late as I was writing. I was trying to be a pure writer, no guitar in hand, visualizing and looking at the bare walls of my apartment. Tiny apartments have wonderful bare walls, especially when you can't afford to put anything on them. "Chasing down a hoodoo.” Hoodoo is a magical, mystical, spiritual, non-defined apparition, like a ghost or a shadow, not necessarily evil, but certainly other-worldly. I was getting some of that imagery from Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters..”

Bootleg again cooks with a sweaty, Southern intensity like its predecessor. Fogerty sings "boolay" instead of "bootleg". As if it is sung in Cajun dialect. Both these tracks are classic examples of the afore-mentioned "swamp rock". Graveyard Train is a sombre, overpowering, gruff piece of guitar-driven blues rock. The vocal is edgy and doom-laden, the guitar sharp as a knife. It features a superb blues harmonica near the end over a deep, rumbling bass line. Just check out that searing blues guitar too. This track boils like a pot of gumbo for eight and a half brooding minutes. Excellent stuff.

Good Golly Miss Molly is obviously a Little Richard cover and here it is given a full-on Southern blues guitar makeover. The guitar is yet again superb. Penthouse Pauper once again gives us the blues to the max, drenched in razor sharp guitar and taken home by Fogerty's incredibly bluesy vocal.

Proud Mary is well known to many, largely due to Ike & Tina Turner's breakneck version. CCR's original is mid-pace country rock with a soulful edge, almost Stax-like, and Fogerty telling the story of working and living on the river as if he really had done it. His atmospheric lyrics are often slightly overlooked in discussions of CCR, because their music was so damn intoxicating.

Keep On Chooglin' is a marvellous, jam-like groove of bubbling swamp stew. It goes on effortlessly for nearly eight minutes, with another huge bass line rumbling on down that big ol' river. Makes to want to make yourself a Po'Boy or Muffuletta sandwich and pretend you're down in Louisiana. If John Fogerty can do it, so can I.