Tag Archives: John Fogerty

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.

24: Blue Moon Swamp (John Fogerty)

Album: Blue Moon Swamp
Artist: John Fogerty
Year: 1997

1. Southern Streamline
2. Hot Rod Heart
3. Blueboy
4. A Hundred and Ten in the Shade
5. Rattlesnake Highway
6. Bring It Down to Jelly Roll
7. Walking in a Hurricane
8. Swamp River Days
9. Rambunctious Boy
10. Joy of My Life
11. Blue Moon Nights
12. Bad Bad Boy

The Grammy Award winner for Best Rock Album starts out with a country song, naturally. It’s only an average song and it tanked on the country charts, but it leads into the rest of the album pretty well. Hot Rod Heart is a simple rocker; decent, but nothing all that memorable. At this point the album proves why it deserved the Grammy.

Blueboy is classic Fogerty, a little bit country with some rockin’ electric guitar solos. Had it been released in rock’s hey-day in the 60’s, I have little doubt it would have been a top ten hit. A Hundred and Ten in the Shade is a low-tempo song that fits the mood of the title perfectly, and Fogerty is complimented with the perfect backing vocals of The Fairfield Four, a gospel group that has been around since 1921.

After that we have the hardest rocker of the album, though the lyrics on Rattlesnake Highway are a bit over the top. Walking in a Hurricane is the best hard-rocker here. Bring It Down to Jelly Roll is another good country/rock mix. The last half of the album has a bit less bite. Swamp River Days and Blue Moon Nights, while pleasant, are pretty generic songs reminiscent of the slow parts of the CCR albums.  Rambunctious Boy is the worst song, but not so bad as to ruin the mood. Joy of My Life is a ballad John wrote for his wife, and it’s fine.

Bad Bad Boy is an interesting way to wrap things up. It’s a decent rocker and it has a nice fade out at the end, but it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the album. It’s a bit disheartening that after working on this album for a decade, it doesn’t have a more consistent theme, but the production values are fantastic and it’s easy to tell he poured his heart and soul into each song. It’s a good thing, too, since shortly after this album’s release, Fogerty’s voice started to degrade. He’s had a few decent songs since, but the last ten years have not been kind to him vocationally. He can still sing his country songs, but anything that requires the howling voice like Up Around the Bend or Have You Ever Seen the Rain? can make your skin crawl.

55: Eye of the Zombie (John Fogerty)

Album: Eye of the Zombie
Artist: John Fogerty
Year: 1986

1. Goin’ Back Home
2. Eye of the Zombie
3. Headlines
4. Knockin’ on Your Door
5. Change in the Weather
6. Violence is Golden
7. Wasn’t That a Woman
8. Soda Pop
9. Sail Away

Is that a zombie on the album cover or a werewolf? Either way, most critics and fans felt confused by this album and it failed miserably. CCR’s frontman didn’t release another solo album for eleven years after this flop. I’m in the camp that not only enjoys it, but feel it’s better than his #1 album Centerfield, which had too much screaming for my taste.

Goin’ Back Home is a synthesized instrumental that really isn’t worth anyone’s time, and the album pretty much gets better in slow increments from there on out. Most of the songs are classic rockers that highlight John’s guitar work, with repeating beats and choruses. Violence is Golden is his one protest song on the album, but he tries to be funny with it. It’s worth it just to hear him rhyme TNT and enemy.

Soda Pop is a tounge-in-cheek song about advertising. I mostly love it for the chorus which is repeated at least 20 times. Sail Away is one of John’s prettiest ballads and has an almost angelic quality to it, which is bizarre if you know the rest of his work. Overall, this certainly isn’t the best from Fogerty, but if you like him and you like simple rockers, then you might want to give this a go.