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Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bayou Country, Green River, Willie and the Poor Boys, Cosmo's Factory, Pendulum

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bayou Country, Green River, Willie and the Poor Boys, Cosmo's Factory, and Pendulum (Fantasy)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Dec. 19, 2008

Reissues

Creedence Clearwater Revival

(Fantasy)

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Bayou Country (Fantasy)

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Green River (Fantasy)

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Willy and the Poor Boys (Fantasy)

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Cosmo's Factory (Fantasy)

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Pendulum (Fantasy)

While perceived as less seminal than other Northern California groups of the late 1960s thanks to an astounding string of Top 40 radio hits, Creedence Clearwater Revival remains vital in that the band's songs still ring true as distinctively American. Celebrating CCR's 40th anniversary, the group's original label, Fantasy, has reissued the quartet's first six albums with all sorts of B-sides, unreleased studio and live tracks, and even a studio summit with Booker T. & the MGs. Hard to fathom that this output occurred in a three-year period, 1968 to 1970. The nearly psychedelic "Susie Q" on CCR's debut pointed the way toward the swampy Americana of Bayou Country and "Proud Mary." The hits continued with Green River's "Bad Moon Rising," Willy and the Poor Boys' "Fortunate Son," and Cosmo's Factory's "Who'll Stop the Rain," among a long list of others. Even final stumble Pendulum provided "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," one of leader John Fogerty's best lyrics. Of the bonus tracks, those on the debut glimpse a garage/punk side to the band that was lost over time; "Crazy Otto," a lengthy blues jam from San Francisco's Fillmore on Bayou Country exposes CCR's often-dismissed adventurous side; an alternate take of "Down on the Corner" from Willy and the Poor Boys, recorded with Stax's house band the MGs, makes up for the other weak bonus tracks. Just plain silly is Pendulum's ultrarare "45 Revolutions per Minute" Parts 1 & 2, CCR's counter to the Beatles' sound montage "Revolution 9." If you already have the Creedence box set released in 2000, these are probably superfluous. Recommended to the newcomers: Bayou Country or Cosmo's Factory. After that, you'll want them all.

(Bayou Country; Cosmo's Factory) *****

(Green River; Willy and the Poor Boys) ****

(Creedence Clearwater Revival) ***

(Pendulum) **

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