Creedence Clearwater Revival – Creedence Clearwater Revival: Boxed Set (2013)

Share this:

Creedence Clearwater Revival was a canny name, considering the way the band nudged rock — in a moment when their San Francisco brethren were pushing it further out in the space — back toward its R&B roots.

And much like his contemporary in the Band, Canadian-born Robbie Robertson, CCR leader John Fogerty was doing it from a vantage point that couldn’t have been further away.

Growing up in El Cerrito, California, Fogerty had soaked up R&B sounds from nearby Oakland that might have escaped his Top 40-loving brethren on the other side of the Bay Bridge — and clearly paid close attention to the nervy soul emanating from the Mississippi River communities between Memphis and New Orleans. By the time he was leading older brother Tom, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford through “Susie Q” — the Dale Hawkins hit that served as the opening cut during sessions for CCR’s 1968 eponymous debut — it was clear that Creedence was scouting out of funky piece of landscape far removed from the burgeoning late-1960s San Francisco scene.

With a hound-dog yawl that combined Little Richard and Chester Burnett, Fogerty soon began unleashing a series of original narratives that seemed to bubble up out of some murky bayou. Time in the Army had helped his ideas coalesce away from the swiped sounds and gimmicky imitations of the earliest pre-CCR recordings.

The titles that followed are as evocative as they are timeless: “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River” (which, like “Cross-Tie Walker,” served as a loving tribute to Memphis’ Sun Records), “Down on the Corner” and “Up Around the Bend.” Along the way, Creedence took on the on-going Vietnam conflict — notably on “Fortunate Son,” which questioned why the poor are so often left to die in unjust wars; “Run Through the Jungle”; and on the eviscerating “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” And, in a sign of their enduring reverence for the great soul music happening around them, CCR uncorked an epic jam inside their own version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

But by 1970, and the album Pendulum, things has swung the other way — and, as the hit “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” makes so very clear, the band was being torn apart by conflicting ideas about where to go next. After a year away, the group returned — minus John’s older brother Tom — for 1972’s Mardi Gras, which featured more input from Cook and Clifford, but ultimately signalled CCR’s demise.

They’d traveled across all of that rugged territory with the pedal all the way down. Creedence Clearwater Revival scored 11 Top 40 singles over their first three years alone — issuing six albums (including three in 1969) over that same span. All of that finds a home on this new 6-CD, 121-track set, due on November 11, 2013 via the Concord Music Group’s Fantasy Records. Every song CCR cut for the label between 1967-72 is included, along with a disc and a half of live music from 1970 and ’71.

The initial disc, covering early recordings from 1961-67, provides telling insights into their nearly decade-long journey toward fame as CCR. Over 25 rarities, a band then known as the Blue Velvets and then the Golliwogs works through their early influences on the way to a new synthesis. “Porterville,” a track decrying racism written when the group had yet to become CCR, serves as the connective moment between the two eras.

If the music itself isn’t enough to provide new perspective on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s paradigm-shifting roots rock, this comprehensive set includes new perspective from writers Ben Fong-Torres, Robert Christgau and Dave Marsh, among others. The deluxe accompanying booklet is also overstuffed with vintage photographs and memorabilia.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B00005OM4K” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001AKTZPA” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000000XCM” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001AKTZOQ” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001AKTZPK” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
Share this: