Tag Archives: Creedence Clearwater Revival

Rocks In The Attic #823: Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Live At Woodstock’ (1969)

RITA#823One of my favourite moments of 2019 was tuning into an American radio station that was broadcasting the original Woodstock festival in real-time, fifty years to the day. And of course, one of the highlights of that weekend was hearing Creedence’s Saturday night set.

The documentary film Woodstock, directed by Michael Wadleigh, is slightly misleading in its portrayal of the festival. Several key acts are omitted from the film – The Band, The Grateful Dead, Creedence and Blood, Sweat & Tears – and so it’s easy to forget that these bands took part at all.

RITA#823aHearing Creedence’s incendiary 55-minute performance, finally released on vinyl by Fantasy Records in 2019, it’s incredible that the band didn’t appear in the film because John Fogerty thought their performance was sub-par. It’s definitely a no-nonsense set, filled with the highlights of their first three albums, but it’s a blazing performance. Fogerty later claimed that the Grateful Dead, who played immediately before them, sent the audience to sleep. Bloody hippies.

This marks the seventh individual performance in my Woodstock collection. I’m hoping for more releases in 2020, as there are still some big names missing. It can only be a matter of time before CSNY, The Band and The Who, are released, but I’d like to see some of the smaller names get some attention. I have my fingers crossed to get my hands on the sets by Canned Heat, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Joe Cocker.

Hit: Proud Mary

Hidden Gem: Bootleg

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Rocks In The Attic #738: Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Creedence Gold’ (1972)

rita#738Our weekly Wednesday night pub quiz had a great question the other night. There’s a round called The List where you have to, erm, list ten of something. It’s either something boring – the ten longest rivers of the world, or the ten countries with the highest population, for example – or it will be something from popular culture. Ten Tintin books, ten films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and ten Oscar nominations for Meryl Streep have been my favourites so far.

I’m waiting for the day that the question relates to the James Bond films…

The trick is that you only get points for an unbroken run of answers, so if you get your eighth answer wrong, you would only get seven points (even if answers nine and ten are correct). In other words, the strategy is to put down your dead-certs first, with anything you’re unsure about down at the bottom of the list.

Last weeks’ question was to name any ten of the twenty-two bands that played at the original Woodstock festival in 1969. Now, I could name ten artists who played quite easily, but the question clearly stated ‘bands’ and so it was much, much trickier.

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Not only could I not remember some of the more obscure band names, but I also doubted how accurate the answers would be. Would they know, for example, that Hendrix’s band on the day wasn’t the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but the little-known Gypsy Sun & Rainbows? In the end, it turns out the quiz company did know this (they even had Hendrix’s second name when he referred to them as a plain ol’ Band Of Gypsies), but I was so confident that they wouldn’t, that I put it down as my tenth answer.

I got a pitiful six correct:
1. The Who
2. Canned Heat
3. Country Joe & The Fish
4. Jefferson Airplane
5. Santana
6. Ten Years After
7. Crosby, Stills & Nash (INCORRECT)
8. Big Brother & The Holding Company (INCORRECT)
9. The Mamas & The Papas (INCORRECT)
10. Gypsy Sun & Rainbows (CORRECT BUT NOT COUNTED)

rita#738bI did some healthy kicking of myself when the answers were read out. CSN was deemed incorrect because the band had been infiltrated by that Canadian interloper Neil Young by August ’69, Janis Joplin’s backing band at that time was the Kozmic Blues Band (having left Big Brother & The Holding Company the prior year), and the Mamas & the Papas was just plain wrong (I didn’t think they played, but thought that they might have been one of the bands not featured on the film soundtrack due to rights reasons, and more importantly my mother-in-law was adamant).

It’s interesting to look at the full line-up outside of the film and the accompanying soundtrack. It feels almost like bands as big as the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival have been written out of history because of their absence from the film.

rita#738cI wondered if their sets were even filmed, before old friend (and Woodstock expert) Moo sent me the link to the Creedence set on YouTube. It’s a ripper of a set, opening with a blustering version of Born On The Bayou. After the first song ends, John Fogerty looks at the cameraman and asks “Is that thing on now?” before the video cuts off. Much of the rest of the set is audio-only, with the video creeping back intermittently.

Is there a songwriter more overlooked than John Fogerty? His name should share the same breath as Brian Wilson, Lennon and McCartney and Ray Davies, but apart from the Dude, nobody else seems to care.

Hit: Proud Mary

Hidden Gem: Born On The Bayou

Rocks In The Attic #648: Rod Stewart – ‘Greatest Hits’ (1979)

RITA#648A couple of weekends ago, my wife left the house to go the supermarket. She phoned me five minutes later, with a degree of urgency in her voice. On her way to the supermarket, she spotted a car-boot sale in a church car-park. She had found a man selling three boxes of records. Her call was to see if I wanted any of the classic rock LPs he was selling at the princely sum of a dollar each.

“Have you got Green River by Creedence Clearwater?”

“No, get it.”

“Rod Stewart – Greatest Hits?”

“No, get it”

“The Travelling Wilburys?”

“Yes, but get it anyway.”

And so on. She eventually brought back a box of forty six records, which the seller only took thirty dollars for. Result. I would have paid close to that for the Creedence record alone.

Nine of the records are Rod Stewart albums, and a further four are Faces albums with Rod singing on them. That’s a twenty-eight per cent Stewart penetration rate. Maximum Rod.

Hit: Maggie May

Hidden Gem: Hot Legs

Rocks In The Attic #546: The Guess Who – ‘American Woman’ (1970)

RITA#546.jpgSometimes you buy a record when you only know one song, and the results are terrible. You end up wishing you never bought the thing in the first place, with the other tracks tarnishing everything you loved about the one song that interested you. Then there are other times, like when you buy an album like American Woman by the Guess Who, and suddenly everything fits in place. How can I not have heard more of this band before?

I remember hearing the original version of American Woman – before Lenny Kravitz covered it – on the soundtrack to Ben Stiller’s 1996 film The Cable Guy. It’s probably my favourite moment, in an otherwise disappointing film, when the stereo system installed in the apartment of Matthew Broderick’s character, by Jim Carrey’s cable guy, prompts a karaoke party.

I’ve been kicking around a 7” of American Woman for decades, and only just got around to investing in the album. The band sounds like a hybrid of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jefferson Airplane, by way of Zeppelin and the Who, which makes for an interesting prospect, with lead guitarist Randy Bachman probably best known for his later work as part of Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

The single version of American Woman cuts straight in, with the rhythm guitar part setting up the tempo for the incredible fuzz line that is the centrepiece of the song. I was amazed to find a nice little acoustic passage that opens the song on the album version. Hearing this is akin to hearing the instrumental break in the album version of Blue Oyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear) The Reaper on Agents Of Fortune.

There are probably plenty of examples of singles being more than judicious in what they cut out of the original song – one infamous example being the single version of Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion which disposes entirely of the bass guitar intro. Sacrilege!

Hit: American Woman

Hidden Gem: 969 (The Oldest Man)

Rocks In The Attic #501: Band Of Horses – ‘Everything All The Time’ (2006)

RITA#501A few years ago, with the help of a friend at work, I pulled my head out of the sand long enough to hear a few new(ish) bands. I do this every now and then; something to put into my musical diet other than Creedence and Steely Dan. I used to do it all the time, almost exclusively. Back then I would listen to 60% – 80% contemporary music. Now it’s less than 2%. I just got tired of investing too much time in sub-par albums.

This is one of the bands that I liked the sound of, thanks to my friend Justin introducing me to them. It’s the debut record by Seattle indie rockers Band Of Horses, released on Sub Pop (not sub-par) in 2006.

Band Of Horses aren’t the kind of band I would listen to. They’re a little bit too far into the jangly guitar spectrum of bands for my liking, and they sound like the kind of band that would feature prominently in a Zach Braff film.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Zach Braff films, except the cloying sentimental bits. Garden State was fantastic though, and I even like its soundtrack, but I just don’t want to be the type of person who listens to those kinds of bands all the time.

This is a lovely album though. It’s a little underproduced – mainly because the recording sounds live, with minimal overdubs – so there’s nothing fancy about it. It’s a very lush-sounding record, but because there isn’t anything featured except vocals, guitars, bass and drums, all of the songs tend to slide into one another, and apart from the melodies there isn’t much to tell one song from the next.

Hit: The Funeral

Hidden Gem: The First Song

Rocks In The Attic #472: Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Willy And The Poor Boys’ (1969)

RITA#472.jpgProbably my favourite Creedence record, this is album number four for John Fogerty and company, and their third to be released in an extremely productive 1969. Their first five albums are untouchable in my eyes – Americana at its finest – and for me, the band hits a peak with this record that they continue with 1970’s Cosmo’s Factory.

Just take the only single from the record –  Down On The Corner b/w Fortunate Son. That’s a double-A side single in anyone else’s book. A week after it was released, the Billboard charts changed the way they measured sales for singles with hits on both sides. Too right; Fortunate Son is a great song.

Great songs always get overused by pop culture though, and in the last couple of decades, Fortunate Son has become Hollywood short-hand to portray the inequality of the Vietnam War (Forrest Gump comes to mind). I still love it, regardless.

The one thing that never gets mentioned about Creedence is their absolute groove. They get pigeon-holed into the dusty swamp rock genre, and nobody ever mentions that they’re one of the grooviest bands to come out of the late ‘60s. Suzy Q from the band’s first record showed that they can groove, and their albums are just one great groove after another. I could listen to the groove from Feelin’ Blue for hours and never get bored.

Hit: Down On The Corner

Hidden Gem: Feelin’ Blue

Rocks In The Attic #376: Royal Blood – ‘Royal Blood’ (2014)

RITA#376Lord knows how they manage to get as much sound out of just a bass guitar and a drum kit, but all respect to them. Less is more, obviously. They also seem to be bringing cool back to podgy white males in leather jackets and baseball caps.

I don’t get to listen to much contemporary music these days, but this made such a noise in 2014 that I couldn’t resist it. It made a couple of ‘best album of the year’ lists, and that’s good enough for me. Thankfully I don’t have the time to wade through new releases looking for good material anymore; I’m happy enough to just take some recommendations at the end of the year. That means I can spend the rest of the time listening to Credence and Steely Dan.

As much as I like this album, I don’t really know what they’re going to do next. Another album of this could get very tired very soon. Either they’ll fill their sound out on album number two alongside a hotshot producer, like the Black Keys’ work with Danger Mouse, or they’ll do something else entirely. Who knows? The music press need to stop labelling them as the saviours of British rock though – nobody needs that kind of pressure.

Hit: Figure It Out

Hidden Gem: Careless