Creedence Clearwater Revival [Box Set]
It was stripped down, it rocked and rolled, and amazingly, in an era when pop music grew more complex and seemingly more sophisticated with each passing month, the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival was also enormously popular. The underdogs of rock during the late '60s and early '70s, CCR had a series of consecutive hit singles and albums that may have been out of step with the era's AM radio blandness and pretentious prog-rock but nonetheless spoke directly to fans across the board. With guitarist, vocalist, composer, producer, and resident genius John Fogerty at the helm, the band combined the lean funk of R&B with the grit of the blues and the sweet soul of country, tying it all up with a tough-as-nails rock 'n' roll sound that had a direct lineage from Sun Studio rockabilly and Specialty Records-era Little Richard rave-ups. Creedence cut tunes that got to the point fast and then wrapped them up before they wore out their welcome. In the process they made classic music: "Born on the Bayou," "Proud Mary," "Green River" "Going up Around the Bend," "Fortunate Son," and plenty of others will live as long as rock 'n' roll does. And it all can be found on this comprehensive six-CD box set collecting the band's seven official studio albums (and one live recording) as well as a disc full of fascinating pre-Creedence material that will be an immediate draw to collectors and others already pulled into the CCR universe. But even casual listeners will appreciate the remastered sound, a remarkable sonic improvement over the previously available CDs that puts the band's righteous rockin' right in your face. The roots of the quartet's no-nonsense sound can be heard in the early, previously unreleased material: Within the Motown and British Invasion grooves pulse the economic, ultra-tight rhythm section and Northern California garage rock ethic that would define the band's mature style. The formula that Fogerty later conceived, and that CCR thankfully stuck with through its glory years -- 1968 through 1970, covering the albums Creedence Clearwater Revival through Cosmo's Factory (the two final, problematic albums Pendulum and Mardi Gras, can also be examined for revisionist opinions) -- still holds it own three decades after the band's dissolution. Creedence's influence may be even more strongly felt today: Try to imagine Americana rock without their grassroots kick as an example. A case can even be made that Creedence may be the most elemental of all American bands. The evidence is right here on this must-have set. The accompanying 72-page booklet features essays from noted music crits Ben Fong-Torres, Dave Marsh, Robert Christgau, and others. Each box is individually numbered, adding to the collectors' value.