Creedence Clearwater Revival
After exploding on the scene with their debut album Creedence Clearwater Revival, the band quickly followed up with Bayou Country, an equally strong set of swampy blues. Opening the disc is “Born on the Bayou,” an anthem that cover bands love to this day. Beginning with the electrified blues sound that filled the heyday of hippie culture, they unashamedly dive into an extended jam immediately after the opening verse. The topic concerns fond memories of sweaty sex in the heat and humidity of New Orleans. While it’s a chestnut, it’s a really great chestnut, and leads right in to another jamming number, “Bootleg.” The chorus “Bootleg, bootleg, bootleg, howl” sounds more like a French come-on, and reading the actual lyrics sheet will only disappoint you. Next we drop into the darker mood of “Graveyard Train,” a subtle yet telling story of death and loss in the classic form of a large wreck on the highway.
The CD doesn’t give us the pause for swapping sides that vinyl did, so soon we find ourselves in the upbeat “Good Golly Miss Molly” and then “Penthouse Pauper.” Both rock, even if they were never big CCR hits, but they beautifully set up the crown jewel of CCR’s repertoire — “Proud Mary.” This one song along would get them into the rock and roll hall of fame, even if half the kids today associate it with Tina Turner. And I still wonder about that one line in verse two: “Pumped a lot of ‘tane down in New Orleans.” What is ‘tane anyway — Octane? Propane? Window Pane? We may never know.
Wrapping up the original album is “Keep on Chooglin’,” another song with a mystery word, although the meaning is pretty clear if you listen carefully. This CD release from Concord Music adds four bonus cuts: an alternate take on “Bootleg,” and live cuts of “Born on the Bayou,” “Proud Mary,” and “Crazy Otto.” These sound good for live music, with only “Proud Mary” suffering from some audio distortion that roughens the edges. Bayou Country sets the standard for the Country Rock landslide that gave us Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. It’s every bit as engaging today as it was 40 years ago, and a great addition to your Old Guy Hipster record collection.
Concord Music Group: www.concordmusicgroup.com