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Creedence Clearwater Revival

Get this man some DRUGS!!!

Introduction
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Bayou Country
Green River
Willie And The Poor Boys
Cosmo's Factory
Pendulum
Mardi Gras
Live in Europe
 

The Lineup Card 1968-1972:

John Fogerty (vocals, lead guitar)
Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitar) until 1971 or so
Stu Cook (bass)
Doug Clifford (drums)

Lotsa listeners find themselves on one side or another when it comes to John Fogerty's Creedence Clearwater Revival, one of the most successful American bands ever. They released a Beatle-esque string of Top 10 hits from 1968-1970 (though, as one of those freaks of history that make you doubt the existence of God, they never once reached number 1 in the US), releasing 6 records and filling two greatest hits albums in the time it takes most bands to crank out one or two albums. Creedence was funky, rocking, catchy, and could even be meaningful when they wanted to be.

That's where the problem lies. People (especially your jealous American-types, envious of all the hype and respect the 60's Brit bands were always grabbing) wanted CCR to be the equal of your Beatles and Stones, when CCR was really nothing more than a pretty great little basic rock band. I think, even to this day, critics tend to overrate CCR and say things like 'this is the American response to Sgt. Pepper's (or Beggar's Banquet, or Disraeli Gears, or fill-in-the-blank-with-your-own-huge-late-60's-British-rock-album)' or 'this is the real American psychedelia' or something equally stupid. I think the most tired statement regarding CCR is how, even though they hailed from the same Bay area as the Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead and what-have-you, they were just poor boys from the wrong side of town who just wanted to play basic rock as well as they could instead of getting all freaky and jamming all night long and taking acid or whatever. Bullshit. Just because John and the others never dropped acid or sang about fairyland daydreams doesn't automatically let them off the hook. There's an 8 minute blues cover song on their first album, as meandering and self indulgent as you wish. There are two 8 minute jams on their second. Doesn't that poke just a little pinprick in that whole 'they were the saviors of real rock 'n' roll' balloon?

Okay, let's expand a little more on that. In 1968, the same time as their debut record, the Rolling Stones released Beggar's Banquet, as strong a return to original rootsy rock as could be imagined (so the whole idea of this basic rock thing had already been covered. And anyway...wasn't psychedelia in general already passe by 1968?). CCR released their debut record that year, a fine release in its own right, but nothing more than a rehash of the 1963-1965 Rolling Stones sound, including the lame reliance on cover versions of old blues songs. By the time of their second record Fogerty was now recording mostly just his own songs (great ones), but their sound remained identical to their first record. Third and fourth records? More of the same. Good Fogerty songs, same Rolling Stones Now! sound. Only by 1970 were they beginning to break out a bit, but by that time they'd already begun the end. CCR was just never able to do more than that 'basic' rock thing. They weren't sticking by their guns, they were shooting the only bullet they had. And the reason they aren't remembered for their jams is that they weren't ever any good at them. John Fogerty was no Jerry Garcia, no Carlos Santana, and also no Keith Richard. He was just an adequate guitar player who found himself a great tone, that's all.

But Fogerty was one hell of a great songwriter, and that is something to tell the neighborhood watch volunteers about. He'd absorbed enough of those old blues and R&B influences to be dangerous when he started penning his own tunes. Not just anyone could've written 'Proud Mary', 'Run Through the Jungle', 'Willy And The Poor Boys' and on down the line. These are simply classics of the American lexicon. But, again, here's the reviewer playing devil's advocate...if you don't like that basic 'swamp rock' 2 guitars, bass, drums, rough negro vocals sound, you'll find this stuff wearing thin real fast.  They were always out of date, their idea of progression was either adding organ and saxophone (omigod! Stepping into 1959 with a vengeance!) or slathering on as many psychedelic gimmick-mistakes as they can.  Often, they just sound OLD, even in their best of times. And even if you do love the sound (as I do), a 35 minute dose of this is usually just enough. It's like, everything with CCR is right there on the surface.  I'm not going to tell you anything in these reviews you won't be able to figure out for yourself anyway just by listening to the albums.

Fuck...I really like this band, I really do, no matter how I made it sound in this introduction. The world needs more basic, competent rock/soul bands with great songwriters. But they've got limitations a mile wide. Crippling ones. You won't find any A+'s here for that reason. They sure as hell weren't the Beatles or the Stones (or Booker T and the MG's, either) Eh, all you can do is just pick up some of their records and try them out and see how they fit in the shoulders. There's only 6 of the dang things you really need, and most of them are like 30 minutes long, so its not like I'm asking you to check out the entire Frank Zappa collection or anything.


Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fantasy 1968.

Even though John Fogerty isn't writing too much yet, CCR already fits in its groove nice and snug on their first record. Their collection of more-or-less straight blues covers and less-than-interesting originals introduces the band's mainstays: Fogerty's voice, a raspy field-slave cry that either pumps your pulse or your stomach, and Fogerty's lead guitar tone, a sharp not-quite-clean Gibson tone that sounds like he's playing out of a pocket radio or something. And then there's the rhythm section, including a drummer (Doug Clifford) that doesn't seem to know what a fill is supposed to be (leading to lots and lots of 'hypnotic' and intermittently boring grooves). Luckily they're also great fans of woodblocks, cowbells, tambourines, and all those other pieces of auxiliary percussion that make the good world go round.

It's just that that's mostly all you get here. John sure isn't hitting rockets on his songwriting yet, and the covers get old. Like 'I Put A Spell On You' is good times N'Awlins fun, but both parts of the 8 minute 'Suzie Q' is too much of an okay thing. I'll take the single edit (or the Stones cover on 12 X 5) any day over the blah soloing on the second part. Lemme state this right now: John Fogerty was NOT a good soloist. He was a good lead player, but his solos lack both the wild hangin' on by the skin of your scrote power of his dirtier influences (Chuck Berry, Keith Richard, Muddy Waters, etc.) and the studied perfection of his betters (Steve Cropper, to name one, and Eric Clapton, to name another, albeit a total ringer). He just doesn't have the imagination to improvise, the balls to impress, and his lack of guitar pallette keeps him hemmed in on what seems like the same scale, the same licks, and the same tone (no matter how good that tone is, it gets old) for every song on the record. And as a singer, he's great and authentic and all, but lacks the main attribute of all his R&B vocal forebears. John Fogerty is about as sexy as a stick in the mud. Even the old, wrinkly blues guys like Howlin' Wolf got it all over this flannel-wearing wallflower. That, my friends, is why Mick Jagger still sells out 70,000 seat stadiums and John Fogerty finds it barely in his reach to release a new record every 8-10 years.

Besides, if John ain't writing, who cares? Oh he's trying to write, what with misfires like 'Porterville' and 'Walk On The Water', but he's not doin' real good. His best effort, 'Workin' Man', is clunky and ungroovy. The worst thing about the whole record is their tendency to rely on bald gimmickry when it ain't working on its own. The song ain't so hot? Throw a totally out-of-character backwards guitar solo on there, man ('Gloomy'). It's 1968, iddn't it? Or just stretch the damned thing out and solo a bit more! Eh. It's not really a bad listen, and all the parts are really there but one, but man...that one part is the good songs.

Capn's Final Word: Not psychedelic? Psha. Not able to be psychedelic is more like it. Oh well, at least John's learning to write we'll thank him for 'Spell' and parts of 'Suzie Q' and wait for the next one.

Tony Souza  Your Rating: B

Any Short Comments?: Not a bad debut, but they would hit their stride later. I would say that although they do use some gimmickry on this, the overiding musical feel on here is blues, R & B and roots rock. Compared to other Bay Area bands at that time, CCR was positively organic. "Walk on the Water" was a re-write of an earlier tune called "Walking on the Water" when they were known as the Golliwogs. It's also the one and only tune in CCR where the songwriting is credited to both John and Tom Fogerty. As for Fogerty's solos -- he certainly was limited to what he could do, but he knew his limitations which is why most of his solos were kept fairly simple. His style is one of my favorites. I'm not saying it's the best style, that would be ridiculous, but it is one of the styles that I enjoy (as opposed to the shredders of the '80 variety). He couldn't hold a candle to the great guitarists of the day, but CCR's music is about what fits the song and most of those solos are memorable, not disposable. Not a wasted note anywhere. Anyway, a good start for the band.

David Elliott   beavis78@optushome.com.au    Your Rating: B+

Any Short Comments?: Not a bad start. "99 And A Half" tears the top off of my head and prods my brain with a cattle prod every time I hear it, for it is righteous and Good. "Gloomy" also does special things to me, as does "Suzie Q". A classic debut from a mighty fine band.

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Bayou Country - Fantasy 1969

Folger's Tea gets his songwriting tip workin' on this, the second and darn near excellent CCR album. The whole thing's so steeped in this sticky, stanky glop rightfully called 'swamp rock'...a concoction with all kinds of distorted harmonicas, warm honey guitars, and steady and ready drumming...nothing we didn't hear on the first record, but this time John's writing most of the tunes instead of learning them off his Stax/Chess singles collection. Gander on this: 'Proud Mary' is here, as is 'Bootleg', the 'Bootleg' rewrite jam 'Chooglin', and mah second favorite CCR song evah (raht after 'Fortunit Sun', sho nuff!) 'Born On The Bayou'. These guys are in love with the 'vamp' on here, and if you don't know what the flying frig a 'vamp' is, just put on 'Keep On Chooglin' and you'll figure it out. Play a rhythm boogie ('Choom chicka choom chicka...') and repeat ad nauseum. They were in love with the sound of their band! I understand! They sounded good...like the soundtrack to Sunday afternoon slapping 'skeeters out on the back porch. I mean, I dream about that thick, creamy vibratoe'd Gibson intro to 'Born On The Bayou'...I dream about it. Last time that was all they had goin' for 'em, but now they gots the grooves, and groove they will. What a great tone, and when Johnny gets his nigra voice all a cookin' about chasin' down hoodoos and such the whole idea that this was just another sixties Bay Area band melts around me. There's no way. These guys were Mississippi Cajuns if I am a day old. 'Bootleg' doesn't change my mind much either...a little bit of Southern rebel kick about Prohibition set to an extra thumpy backbeat is some kinda smarts, you know.

But then it all comes crashing back to earth on the long, dreary jam 'Graveyard Train', a 3 minute change of pace stretched out to nearly 9 minutes of counting the grains of sand in my life fall away. A bunch of horror-movie 'stun' guitar fills is not my idea of a good blues jam, thanks. Like George sed, these guys made three albums in the year of 1969, and there ain't no way a man can make 3 records honey lovin' from bow to stern, even if he's as talented a songwriter as Fogerty was. So, thus, the time-stretching filler. I mean, the album's only 30 minutes long, and 16 of those minutes are jams? And them covers ain't all gone yet, despite the advertising to the contrary. Like, while 'Good Golly Miss Molly' is good and groovy, it's also a bit too stylized and mannered for my taste. This song is meant to be ass-to-the-breeze fast and about ready to fall apart, not to be used as a vehicle for some pedestrian soloing (and godawful repetitive fill parts...try something new every minute or so, dammit!) 'Penthouse Pauper' is back in gear, though, and nicely funky. The rest of the record from this point on is pretty fantastic, even if 'Chooglin' is too long and repetitive yet again (and too much like 'Bootleg'...aren't they the same song, just minus the acoustic guitars on 'Chooglin'?) but...wheeese! It's SWAMPY! And what else bad am I going to say about an album with 'Bayou' and 'Proud Mary' on it?

Capn's Final Word: Makes me want to wash my hair after listening its so muddy. In a good way, though. But who ever said these guys didn't jam? It's just that they don't jam very well. Keep the songs under 4 minutes and you're money, baby.

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dave     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: What is up with you and your words like nigra? Man you are out of touch with what is right with people. I like your music reviews but suggest that you get out more and mix with people of different backgrounds - and corny as this may sound, it is black history month, and you might want to do some reading of history to understand why your terminology is not quaint or humorous. p.s. a) - Born on the Bayou is the best track CCR ever recorded for sure. b) re: Between Buttons - Complicated is a cool song no?

 

David Hutchinson hutch1448@yahoo.com Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: The "intro" to Born on the Bayou was played on a Rickenbacker 325 and not a Gibson as stated.... John played the 325 but did use a Gibson Les Paul on Proud Mary...............

 


Green River - Fantasy 1969.

We get what we was achin' for. More short Fogerty classics and none of that silly bad jamming. 'Green River', 'Bad Moon Rising', and 'Commotion' are all winners in the usual CCR rockin' style (swamp, country hop, and boogie respectively), and John even widens the focus a bit with the ballad 'Lodi', a sincere ballad about road weariness that's only whiny in passages (the part about having a dollar for every time he played for drunks clangs mighty hard on my 'Stop bitching, you coddled rock star!' nerve). It also ain't got a single song over 5 minutes in length, and the longest one (the Lynyrd Skynyrd-ish country weeper 'Wrote A Song For Everyone') is also one of the worst. The other bummers are 'Tombstone Shadow', which sounds like another 'Graveyard Train', but thankfully halved in length. These sorts of run-of-the-mill filler tunes just roll right out of John's pen, I guess, and though there's nothing bad about it, I always feel like I've heard this kind of tune a million times. Oh, and can I just rag on John's lead playing once more? On 'Tombstone Shadow' it sounds like he's trying to sound like a dentist drill...I mean, play some other strings, lazy man! And the part with the doubled 'tension' note played over and over is just torturous. Fucking 'Is it safe?' again.

Oh, and the only cover (I think) is the ol' repeat-line-until-you-puke standard 'The Night Time Is The Right Time', which would be useless if it weren't for the spirited background and lead vocal performance by Johnny B. Goode. Another one-note solo on one string (I don't think John can play one on two strings) and we're sent off to ponder our existence before another 4 months pass and another 30 minute CCR record pops out.

Capn's Final Word: John's writing better, and they're sounding more and more authentic, but the filler bug bites 'em a few times. No matter...more than half of this album is a damn classic.

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Willie and the Poor Boys - Fantasy 1969..

This one has somehow been tapped as CCR's big 'conceptual' piece about Americana, as if Creedence were the Band or some such crap. Oh, there's the title of the record and the title track which all point to a sort of Southern Lonely Hearts Club Band gathering under the gazebo in town square and playin' some of that good ol' country music on a July evening, but that's about as far into the concept as I get. What fucking concept? A title track and a couple of obliquely political tunes and suddenly we're fucking Pink Floyd? Whatever. What I do see is that John is trying to push his boundaries some, as much as he possibly can, which in short means he also writes a bunch of country music tunes in addition to the blues/R&B/50's rock he was already doing. I dunno, I feel like he's still aces as long as he gets to get his groove goin' on, and this time his groove is only reliable in spurts.

Man, I'll be the first to tell you I think 'Fortunate Son' is one motherfucker of a punk rock song. It's two minutes and twenty one seconds, and not a single one of them is wasted. No stupid soloing, it's fast, and the vocals rip. Only the subject matter may cause you hives, and only if you're somehow unable to grasp the anger of a poor person who sees his neighbors and brothers get 'dragged off to war' while the rich hippie kids get to go and cavort in the mud at Woodstock. Or, even worse, get cushy positions in the local Air National Guard (*Poke Poke* Dubyah!) while less fortunate boys get their legs blown off.

Oh well, not all the songs are that angry, but there's lotsa feeling here nonetheless. Then again, the only feeling on 'Poorboy Shuffle' is wanting to drink some more, because only then do I think I'd see the point of this threadbare guitar and harmonica toodle (too basic even to be called a 'jam'). And 'Feelin Blue' is about feelin' happy, as far as I can gleam from the words. Oh well, not all this stuff is any good, hence the lesser rating upstairs. The final two tracks are shit, for instance...long, aimless, wanky, ugly snotcakes. But then again, all this following stuff rules: 'Midnight Special' and 'Cotton Fields' are simply outrageously good covers, each in its own way. The first one by recreating the sound of a lonely midnight highway drive as closely as possible and the second by emulating the South-as-it-is-mistakenly-revered style. 'Down On The Corner' is fun and small town and makes me thing of 90 year old guys grinning at the parade down Main Street. And, call me a loser, but I think 'It Came Out Of The Sky' is primo. Keith Primeau!

Capn's Final Word: Hoo...got the 'concept album' label and the 'real American' label but they forgot to give it the 'Filler Material Blows' label. I'm taking it upon myself to affix it right NOW. The stuff they cared about is just fine, though.

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Cosmo's Factory - Fantasy 1970.

They jettisoned the country rootsiness and decided to concentrate on their bread and butter, rock 'n' soul rootsiness. And I'll be goshdurned but they come up with probably the most focused records of their career. Listen, I like this album so much I even dig the two jams on it! The coda to the opening 'Ramble Tamble' is masterful. That time the soaring legato guitar flies in is the closest these guys ever came to a truly 'transcendent' moment, when they were tapping more than just the River Of Radio Hits and started channeling the Chilling Music that only usually shows up for much more serious and arty bands than Credence. And all in the middle of a 'jump' tune, spirited and jolly and all, but man...they'll show up anywhere. Like on 'Run Through The Jungle' (which was a hit)...that pick slide chills me to the bone, baby, and the prescient Vietnamese atmosphere sure haunts me...you say the crossroads been transferred somewhere between Da Nang and Hue? Better run through the jungle, man.

But that wasn't the point. The point was that CCR started making all these fantastic radio hit-type songs again. 'Travelling Band' is good ol' rockin' boob fun. And horns! Whee! Honk honk honk! Or the grating lead guitar howl on 'Up Around The Bend', a sound later to be copied on 'Hey Tonight', background harmonies and all. It ain't my favorite CCR moment, but it's still mighty good. Neither is their cover of 'Heard It Through the Grapevine' a favorite either, but it's much more digestible than the other jams CCR decided to grace us with over their career. I give credit where credit is due, to Marvin Gaye for writing the song, and to the rhythm section for holding it together over 11 minutes. Oh, Fogerty gets off a few choice licks here and there, and he never lets his reach exceed his grasp, so let's be thankful for that too. Still, though, isn't 11 minutes plus pushing it just a tad? Fah. I'm too picky. It never gets boring either. Fine work.

Man, this is one album where it's hard to even pick the highlights. Gosh. They've just put out the best bunch of tunes in their field of play marked out on Bayou Country and Green River, but just a bit more commercial. Catch how the electric piano and saxophones add so much to 'Long As I See The Light'...with just a bunch of guitars this song would be weak, but somehow it gets interesting with a bit of imaginative arranging. Catch how the Willy hick style is preserved so nicely on 'Looking Out My Back Door', and encapsulation of all their country pretentions. Even the filler tunes 'Ooby Dooby' and 'My Baby Left Me' are good.

Capn's Final Word: Look for it, or just buy a greatest hits album, because it'll have most of the songs on here anyway. CCR is doing what CCR does best.

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Steve Knowlton     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: Technical note: Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong wrote "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."  I think the short version on "Chronicle" is OK, but the long version does nothing to justify its lenght.

 

Matthew Byrd  matthewbyrd@hotmail.com  Your Rating: A+
Any Short Comments?: I'm sorry, this isn't actually a review of this album because I don't have it.... but I do have about 20 CCR songs and I would have to say that I find John Fogerty to be insanely talented.  I am eager to get some of this band's albums, from songs like "Who'll Stop The Rain?" "Proud Mary" "Fortunate Son" and "Run Through The Jungle" it seems like this group is a bit underrated, but I can't really say that because I haven't heard any non-compilation cuts yet.


 


Pendulum - Fantasy 1970.

Ugh. This album makes me tired. Not like CCR's falling off the horse but good or anything, I mean they're not releasing their 'dance hall' record or any other such gag-inducing bullcrap, but pleeeze. This album is like, I dunno, a whole bunch of trying really hard to sound effortless. And it ends up plodding. It's the party that goes on an hour too long. The conversation that turns into a slightly irritated and spiritless argument. The Jolly Rancher that takes too long to melt in your mouth. And since I'm about as predictable as a snotty nose, I'm gonna open my Winamp window and checkout the running times for these tracks. 'Pagan Baby' is alright but is almost 6 1/2 minutes . 'Born To Move' sounds like it should be submitted for the theme song to a training video about molasses handling and runs on for over 5 (and sounds like 11). The ending 'Rude Awakening' seriously makes me believe these guys never left 1968 in their minds...didn't they learn their lesson that all this backwards tape gimmicky shit doesn't do a damn thing for their music? Freaky, psychedelic, and trippy are three words that Fogerty ought to spend his time wiping his ass with, not trying to finally 'master', no matter what the prevailing winds are. And by 1970 they were not the prevailing winds. Maybe this was John's idea of prog? Wotta cad! And then, as if to mock me, the two best songs on the record, 'Have You Ever Seen The Light' and 'Hey Tonight' both finish up in a tidy 2:40. 'Molina' is okay for an over-simple 50's throwback (fine, but rock 'n' roll wouldn't have been born if it was this passionless) and its also only 2:45. There's no way a CCR song (other than maybe 'Born On The Bayou' or 'Heard It Through The Grapevine' if I'm having a good day, and I'm not) should EVER run longer than 4, MAX. Its. Fucking. Creedence! And NO psychedelia, fool! I've already talked about your guitar playing!

Oh well, 'Hey Tonight' has this really snappy truck-drivin' groove and piano/guitar 'bong' passing fun, 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain' is a nice Fogerty ballad sung with lotsa good ol' fashioned feeling about rain when songs about rain were still cool. Fun and feeling are both missing from 'Sailor's Lament', a dreary and near-melodyless moan that belies lots of boredom. See, there's a bit of a new sound on here, in case you hadn't caught on (and since I haven't mentioned anything about it, I don't blame you) but dig it: they likem keyboards and horns on this one. Lotsa honky saxes and stuff that you'd think would be alright but, well, I miss the old rednecky Creedence that wasn't afraid to play straight blues and country. Not that these guys are suddenly Yes or something, but there's a noticeable updating of sound (to what? 1965?) that don't sit quite right to me. Add in the fact that the songwriting is now hitting more singles than homers and...

Capn's Final Word: I don't recommend this album very highly. Its a tiresome and draining listen, though I'll never go so far as to say it blows. Try Green River or Bayou Country (you should already own Cosmo's Factory) instead.

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 Tony Souza   Your Rating: B-

Any Short Comments?: The other albums were recorded on 4-track, while this was the first one recorded on 16-track, I believe. This was also the start of the dreaded "democracy" where JF gave up some of the reigns and let the other guys have more of a say so. They also wanted to stretch out a bit musically by adding organs, saxophones, etc. Most of it works, some doesn't (Rude Awakening #2, obviously). Fortunatly, JF still wrote and sang all the songs and this is why this album is still good and doesn't suck like Mardi Gras. I pretty much agree with the review except that I like "Sailor's Lament" and don't like "Molina". The lyrics in "Have you ever seen the Rain" are about the impending breakup of the band.

 


Mardi Gras - Fantasy 1972.

Alarm bells ought to be clanging when your own brother quits your band. John Boy's brother Tom got outta this place before Mardi Gras, so we're left a threesome with no women. Trouble brewing? Yup. Well, anyway, by this late date Creedence were no longer much of a commercial proposition, and it follows that this album and its singles tanked it upon release. But even if it had been released in the heat of 1969-70 it would have found a tough time finding an audience because it BLOWS. Give you a guess as to why, and no, it's not because Tom left (I wouldn't say he was a truly integral part of the success of the old group anyway). It's because they decided to do it the American way and let everyone get a piece of the songwriting pie. Yup! Stu Cook compositions! Doug Clifford compositions! Oooh and I could just hear the screams for 'Tearing Up The Country' during the live shows right now. 'Forget 'Proud Mary'!!!! Play 'SAIL AWAYYYY!!!!' 'SAIIIIIIILLLL AWWWWAAAYYY!!!' If there was any good reason why this album was so staunchly C&W, I can't really find it. I mean, did CCR really look at their catalogue and say 'boy, our country songs are the best of the lot! Let's do some more! Cosmo, pull out that steel guitar already!' It sure sounds like what they did, tho.

Ugh...anyway, the John Fogerty songs on here aren't awful, but they sure aren't red hot by any means neither. He must've been getting tired of being behind the times for so long. 'Sweet Hitch Hiker' is dumb and fast, much better than dumb and slow, which is 'Lookin' For A Reason' in a nutshell. 'Someday Never Comes' isn't so grand at all either...John obviously spent all his ballad chips on his two 'rain' songs. Oh, why go on...this is just the disaster that that underachieving Pendulum was pointing to (swinging at?) Oh yeah, after this the other three broke up, Stu and Cosmo didn't do much until reforming as Creedence Clearwater Revisited (all misreadings will be appreciated!) and touring Europe a few years back, and John fought a long and embittering (at least one that embittered him) fight against Fantasy records over his song rights, who somehow knew would never get another band like CCR on the label. Can you think of another Fantasy Records band? I sure can't! He also pooped out some solo records which deviated somewhat from his usual formula.

Capn's Final Word: Oh, please. Don't even bother. I'm sure John's solo career kicks the living pisswad outta this album. They shoulda broken up when Tom left.

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Mark Larson     Your Rating: F
Any Short Comments?: I think the Rolling Stone review at the time got it right when it said Mardi Gras was the worst album by an American rock band - though compared with anything Grand Funk Railroad it fares slightly better.   This was the first CCR album I ever bought contemporaneously with its release, having caught up with CCR in the preceding year and immersing myself in every one of their previous records.   I remember thinking: "shit, just when I catch up to them they come out with this crap."   It always sounded to me like John was trying to punish his bandmates for wanting a greater piece of the glory.  It does that and more.   How Stu and Doug can show their faces as CCRevisited is beyond me, after producing junk like "Tearing Up the Country."


Live in Europe - Fantasy 1974.

Here's the part of each band review that I dread, forcing myself to come up with words describing some stupid cash in live release by some band that probably should leave the whole live album concept alone. I mean, The Rolling Stones and Spiritualized are one thing, but frigging CCR is something else. To be good live performers, at least on record, you need to give us something extra...new tunes, reworkings of old ones, big old shining slabs of rockin' energy, some masterful soloing, SOMETHING. These guys were NOT very good live (in fact, they did not a one of those preceding things), and this one, a document from their post Tom period as a three-piece, is NOT a very good live album. In fact, I can say this stuff isn't good for much of anyone. First off, it sounds like the tape recorder was stored squarely in the toilet tank of Women's Restroom Stall Number 3 for the length of the show. Why exactly is it SO FRIGGING HARD to get YOUR OWN BAND's live sound on tape DECENTLY when people can fucking sneak POCKET CASSETTE recorders into a gig, clip a 2 cm mic to their hat and beat this shit to a million fucking pieces? AND IT SURE AS FUCK WOULDN'T RELEASE IT FOR SALE! Or REMASTER IT FOR CD! I mean, Goddamn! Doesn't anyone else feel this way?

Add on top of that grin-inducing fog the fact that there's now only one guitar holding down Fort Clearwater, and that guitarst isn't Jimi or Eric or Pete or Pagey and that he's also not Otis or Freddie or even Ozzy on that live mic and you're getting the point. I've never been a great big fan of Fogey's guitar style, but a whole lot of overfuzzed Wank For Beginners is too much for me to take.  But to even further discourage you from ever coming near this ripoff turdball is the fact that I think most of the audience sound is grafted on...whathafak? What is this, 1964? Come on! No one cares about audience screams! Fantasy Records deserved to never ever have another decent band, I say.

Capn's Final Word: Eh, the songs and song selection are still good, but puh-lease pee-pohl! Don't encourage this sort of thing! There's children involved!

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Tony Souza Your Rating: C-

Any Short Comments?: Couldn't agree more. I also beleive that in concert, something extra should be added (my wife is just the opposite, she likes 'em played exactly the same as on the record). At that time, CCR concerts usually lasted less than an hour with no encore and believe it or not, the critics used to rave about how CCR could duplicate their songs in concert. The technology was a lot more primitive in those days. The only reason for getting this is to hear CCR as a three-piece. I do like the extended version of "Keep on Chooglin'" that has parts of "Pagan Baby" inserted in the middle. I also like "It came out of the Sky". Other than these though, unless you are a hard-core fan, there's no point in getting this.


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