Album: Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fantasy/Ace
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Where the Grateful Dead were willing to try their hand at anything, their Bay Area contemporaries Creedence Clearwater Revival did one thing better than anyone else, and stuck firmly to their forte. They grew out of the same mulch of folk, blues and R&B as the Dead, but instead of using them as the basis for extended improvisations, condensed those influences into three-minute bursts of swamp-rock pop that proved globally irresistible throughout their 1969-70 heyday. The group possessed, in John Fogerty, asongwriting geniuswhose songs sounded familiar the first time you heard them. "Proud Mary", "Bad Moon Rising", "Down On The Corner", "Travelin' Band" and "Up Around The Bend" seemed to tap straight into the rock'n'roll motherlode; to a generation confused by rock's "progressive" imperative, they were a welcome reminder of the virtues of classic rock'n'roll forms. Though Fogerty leaned heavily on bayou-country voodoo imagery, he was keenly aware of contemporary concerns: "Fortunate Son", his criticism of class-based draft-deferment anomalies, is one of the most lucid (and, at just over two minutes, surely the shortest) protest songs written about the Vietnam War. This six-disc set follows the band's progress from pre-Creedence outfits such as The Golliwogs, through their seven studio albums and two live albums – an enjoyable assessment, if a flabbier one than that offered by their Creedence Chronicle hits compilation.