Tag Archives: Creedence Clearwater Revival

5: Cosmo’s Factory (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Album: Cosmo’s Factory
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Year: 1970

1. Ramble Tamble
2. Before You Accuse Me
3. Travelin’ Band
4. Ooby Dooby
5. Lookin’ Out My Back Door
6. Run Through the Jungle
7. Up Around the Bend
8. My Baby Left Me
9. Who’ll Stop the Rain
10. I Heard It Through the Grapevine
11. Long as I Can See the Light

CCR had a very short career, with seven albums in five years. Cosmo’s Factory was unquestionably their peak. Only two mediocre and disappointing albums remained, as tensions grew heavily between John and Tom Fogerty. John was the group’s workhouse, writing every song and playing multiple instruments, but he was also a bit of a control freak. While John’s career continued after the break-up of CCR, he released only two albums over the next thirteen years, thanks in part due to his disgust with his record company. John’s voice was so raw and powerful when he was young; by the time Centerfield was released in 1985, he had lost something.

Up Around the Bend is my second favorite Creedence song after Lodi. The opening guitar riff is also my second favorite of all-time after Chuck Berry’s opening for Johnny B. Goode. It’s also the perfect example of a song John could do in his younger years. I’ve heard him in concert later in life, and while he can still pull off his more low-key folk music with no problem, he cannot hit the high notes any longer. When he does this song now, it’s pretty painful. But oh man do I love to crank up the volume when I listen to it here.

The other major hits from this album are Travelin’ Band, Lookin’ Out My Back Door, and Who’ll Stop the Rain, all reaching number two on the charts.  Most Creedence fans know that the band never had a #1 hit, but had thirteen top-ten hits including seven that reached #2.  I’ve never looked up which songs actually prevented Creedence from reaching #1 and I’m afraid to. While hopefully they lost out to solid competition like The Beatles or The Stones, I’d be willing to bet there’s at least one or two mindless pop jingles in there. If any of my readers have access to the Billboard charts for those weeks, feel free to drop a line in the comments.

The reason the album is considered such a masterpiece is that the non-singles are all good as well. There are three covers here, Before You Accuse Me, My Baby Left Me, and I Heard It Through the Grapevine, and all do the original justice, if not improve them. While I prefer Marvin Gaye’s version of the latter song a bit, I do appreciate the extended guitar solo at the end of CCR’s version. Long as I Can See the Light was the B-side to Lookin’ Out My Back Door, and might be CCR’s slowest song. It’s not an emotional ballad, but it’s very relaxing and a solid end.  Ooby Dooby is a silly song reminiscent of 50’s pop music, but it’s short and sweet.  Run Through the Jungle (B-side to Up Around the Bend) is one of three songs taking place in the jungles of Vietnam that would make one believe Fogerty spent time there while in the Army. But, much like all of his songs about New Orleans and living in bayou country, he never spent a day in Vietnam. The guy’s just a fantastic songwriter.

The one song I think gets ignored and makes this album upper-echelon for me is the opener, Ramble Tamble. It’s seven minutes of mostly guitar and drum solos and it’s one my favorite driving songs. It’s almost impossible to start this album and not want to put the pedal to the floor and beat on the steering wheel. There’s an awkward break in the middle where John plays a slower-tempo solo that some complain about, but I think it’s a fine interlude before he goes on and rocks it out for the last two minutes.

Nine of these eleven songs are on the Chronicle albums, the only two being left out were Ramble Tamble and Ooby Dooby. So most casual CCR fans know this album well. If you haven’t listened to this all the way through, though, you’re missing out one of rock and roll’s greatest experience.

14: Creedence Clearwater Revival (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Album: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Year: 1968

1. I Put a Spell on You
2. The Working Man
3. Suzie Q
4. Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)
5. Get Down Woman
6. Porterville
7. Gloomy
8. Walk on the Water

CCR’s debut album is often under-looked when their short career is evaluated, no doubt because it lacked easily digestable hits. The only two songs that charted were Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You (which they certainly improved but wasn’t that great of a song to begin with) and Suzie Q, which was cut in half for the radio as the last half is some of CCR’s worst guitar work in addition to adding nothing to the song. The rest of the album is bloody fantastic and needs to be listened to by any CCR fan that hasn’t had a chance to.

The Working Man is a simple ode that has a catchy rhythm and showcases Fogerty’s impressive ability to hit the high note. Ninety-Nine and a Half and Get Down Woman are decent rockers. And then things really heat up. Porterville was recorded in the Golliwog days and was easily their best song under the band’s previous name. It’s one of CCRs most energetic songs, up there with Travelin’ Band. Gloomy doesn’t sound like much at first, but the guitar riff at the end is unworldly.

Walk on the Water is a perfect ending, a visceral and haunting tune that ends a short story about a run-in with Death with three minutes of crying guitar that leaves a chill in the bones.

34:Green River (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Album: Green River
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Year: 1969

1. Green River
2. Commotion
3. Tombstone Shadow
4. Wrote a Song for Everyone
5. Bad Moon Rising
6. Lodi
7. Cross-Tie Walker
8. Sinister Purpose
9. The Night Time Is the Right 

Creedence released three albums in 1969 (!!!)  Their first album of the year, Bayou Country, helped the band become popular on the heels of Proud MaryGreen River was their second and also their best.

One amazing thing about John Fogerty is that he was able to write songs about places he had never lived and make you think he had been there his whole life, when in fact he was from San Francisco. Green River is one of those songs that harkens back to children growing up in the 50’s in bayou country.

Commotion is a frenetic rocker and one of their best up-tempo songs. Tombstone Shadow is an autobiographical about John’s visit with a fortune teller that didn’t go so well. It sounds like something Screamin’ Jay Hawkins would have done. Wrote a Song for Everyone is a great ballad about insecurity. Bad Moon Rising is probably the most famous song from the album and one I’m rather tired of, but it’s still a good sing-a-long.

Ever since I started keeping track, Lodi has been in my top five songs of all-time. Fogerty has said it’s a “sad, sad song about a bad, bad photographer.”  It’s also about a bad, bad musician.

After this the album kind of sputters. Cross-Tie Walker has an incredibly boring rhythm. Sinister Purpose is pretty heavy-handed on the lyrics, but it’s got a pretty sinister sounding guitar going on, so it’s a good listen. And then we get to the song that knocks Green River out of the top 20. The Night Time is the Right Time is uninteresting, too slow, and has the backups all singing “Wah-Doo-Day” between every single line. It’s obnoxious and I can’t stomach it very often.

Top 75 Studio Albums

As opposed to the previous countdowns on this site, I don’t consider myself particularly passionate or all that knowledgeable about music. I neither listen to nor seek out music like I did when I was an angsty teenager, and I find myself to be incredibly picky in my old age when it comes to new stuff. However, when compiling this list, I did find some gems so not all hope is lost.

What makes an album worthy of being on this list for me? While most have a song or two that are amazing, the common thread among the albums on this list is consistency. If I can listen to the whole album without cringing or having to skip a song or two, I am impressed. And while I have many soundtracks, greatest hits and live albums that I adore, this list is intended to honor those artists who can create a whole bunch of amazing material all at once. Many artists can string together ten hits over ten years and put them together, but there’s something special about a single great album.

Like I said, I am not a music critic. My reviews will likely sound pretty uneducated. Hopefully, you’ll find a gem or two yourself while reading the list. Several genres are represented, including rock, folk, bluegrass, country, grunge, punk, R&B, hip hop,  pop, and one band that’s kind of bluesy. Five decades are represented. To help guide you with any new music you might be interested in, I’ll specify key songs on each album.

Red: 5-star songs. These are in my top 100.
Orange: 4-star songs. Top 500 or so.
Garbage. I most likely skip past this song if I’m listening.

To illustrate, here’s an album that is not making the countdown.

Album: Pendulum
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revivial
Year: 1971

1. Pagan Baby
2. Sailor’s Lament
3. Chameleon
4. Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
5. (Wish I Could) Hideaway
6. Born to Move
7. Hey Tonight
8. It’s Just A Thought
9. Molina
10. Rude Awakening #2

Pendulum is probably the most frustrating album I own.  Two of my top 100 songs are here, the fourth and fifth tracks. Have You Ever Seen The Rain? is stunning in it’s catchiness considering what a mournful song it is. Pagan Baby and Born to Move are pretty decent rockers. And It’s Just a Thought is a great melancholic tune about John Fogerty’s resentment towards his brother (as is Hideaway, actually).

But as you can see there are four songs on here that I just cannot listen to. Sailor’s Lament sounds off-key, Chameleon is dull, and Molina has an awkward rhythm with banal lyrics. But what really takes the cake is Rude Awakening #2, CCR’s only avant-garde offering. The first ninety seconds is actually a pretty good instrumental, and then it devolves into random noise for five minutes. It’s truly horrifying.

Monday we’ll kick this off the list. I hope you can enjoy it with me.