Friday, June 15, 2007

Review #17: Bayou Country

Creedence Clearwater Revival, made up of lead guitarist John Fogerty, older brother and rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford, is just one of the many great rock bands that crept out of the latter third of the Sixties. Although they pumped out some great radio hits, like most artists, they still left some of their greater material as album tracks. Their personal hit-parade began with their second album, BAYOU COUNTRY. The seven track album includes one of their most popular songs, "Proud Mary", and another hit, "Born On The Bayou".

With one of the most interesting intros, Born On The Bayou kicks off the album as a song with lyrics that feature the singer, John Fogerty, reminiscing about a life he never lived and instrumentation that features great guitars and incredible bass. Arguably, the most distinctive feature is the reverberating guitars, that give it a unique sound. Bootleg has more of a dancing groove and is rather short. As it fades off, you kind of wish it would go on! Next is the album's longest track, Graveyard Train, which runs to eight minutes and thirty-six seconds. It's built around this slow, bluesy guitar riff. Although it might get boring at points (the riff virtually never changes), John livens it up with some incredible harmonica playing. It still doesn't save it, because it still feels three minutes to long.

Side two, if you're listening to the vinyl, opens with a raucous rendition of Good Golly Miss Molly, which is the album's shortest track. Fogerty doesn't do a Little Richard impersonation or even try for it. He does a great job, making the song his own. Penthouse Pauper follows, with some great lyrics that, along with it's instrumentation, make it feel like an old blues tune. Then is the great Proud Mary, probably one of the best songs in the CCR canon. You have an infectious guitar riff, great drums and some incredible lyrics. It all comes together and works. The concluding track, the seven minute, forty second monster that is Keep On Chooglin'. It's a lot better and interesting than the other long track, with a lively rhythm guitar riff, behind some great lead solos. Again, John brings in a harmonica for some great solos, right after he finishes the guitar solos! Doug Clifford plays the drums best on this track, but you really don't feel Stu Cook's bass as much as the other tracks. Lyrically, the song is nothing to write home about. Fogerty invents the word chooglin' which he uses as a synonym for "having a good time" I guess. Eventually the song closes, along with the album, with a rather sudden halt.

The album is housed in a sleeve with an interexting group shot cerving as the cover. The picture is taken as if the camera is in motion, running away from the group. You can hardly make out the faces of any of them. They are all holding their instruments, except Doug is sitting, looking to the sky. Interestingly, the original sleeve didn't carry the group's name or the album title.

Fantasy Records put out the group's albums in a "20 bit K2 Super Cording" series, whatever that means, in 2000. That's the edition I am using to review. The album sounds great, which is all that's important. Included is a little essay that just describes the humble beginnings and how the first album failed to do anything...just the usual stuff. It's just the music you should care about.

Now, as for the album, my final word for it is 'short'. The album goes for just under 35 minutes and it makes you want a little more. If "Graveyard Train" was a little shorter and there were, say eight songs, it wouldn't be so bad, but as it is, it feels kind of empty.

Despite that, the music you do get is great.

Music: 8/10

Packaging: 7/10

Overall: 8/10

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