Posts Tagged ‘Creedence Clearwater Revival’

Creedence in concert: (left to right): Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook, Doug Clifford, John Fogerty


89 minutes | No MPAA rating

For weeks at a time in the late 1960’s  and early ‘70s Creedence Clearwater Revival was the biggest band in the world.

Talk about a seemingly unending stream of hits…the pen of singer/guitarist John Fogerty churned out memorable tunes with startling regularity (“Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,””Fortunate Son,” “Green River,” “Down on the Corner,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain“…and that’s only brushing the surface),

But the thing about Creedence was that they were damn near image free.  The musicians (Fogarty, bassist Stu Cook, guitarist Tom Fogerty, drummer Doug Clifford) did not exude big personalities. Moreover they were squeaky clean by Summer of Love standards — no issues with drugs, violence, offstage misadventure. 

Guys like Jim Morrison and John Lennon got all the press.  CCR was content to play good music and cash the check.

As a result relatively little mythology has grown up around the group. Aside, of course, from the number of excellent songs/recordings they left behind.

That’s rectified in rock documentarian Bob Smeaton’s “Travelin’ Band.” 

The last hour of this 90-minute effort is the full concert Creedence gave in 1970 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.  For decades the footage was rumored to exist, but this is its first public exposure.

The doc’s first 30 minutes give a crash course in CCR history.  Jeff Bridges narrates.

 I learned that far from being an overnight success the band had been around for a decade before scoring (they guys were high school pals from suburban San Francisco).

All four were enamored of black r&b (Ray Charles and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins were big influences), and John Fogerty began writing songs reflecting his fascination with Cajun culture and New Orleans rock.  Amazingly, the guy who gave us “Born on the Bayou” and “Bad Moon Rising” never ventured south of the Mason-Dixon line until after those songs were hits.  It’s a testament to his imagination.

Another reason for the band’s relatively low profile was the simplicity of their style.  No studio magic.  No overdubs.  Just four instruments.

Interestinly enough, that simplicity affected Creedence as a stage band, since they were able to almost perfectly reproduce their recordings in a live setting. Yes, Fogerty occasionally gets to cut loose on an unexpected guitar solo (see the show’s finale, “Keep On Chooglin’ “), but mostly they stuck to the sound fans expected.  

But while the live show was light on surprises, the tightness of the band was hard to beat.  I was especially impressed by Clifford’s drumming…it never struck me as all that special on the records but, dang, watching that guy pound out an inexhaustible beatreedence Clearwater Revival is hypnotic.

| Robert W. Butler

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