SIZZLING REISSUES OF THE YEAR: Creedence Clearwater Revival – The 40th Anniversary Editions: Creedence Clearwater Revival; Bayou Country; Green River; Willy and the Poor Boys; Cosmo’s Factory; Pendulum (Fantasy) :: All six of these watershed recordings are so timeless and transcendent that they defy definition. Not only do they make hackneyed terms like "classic" and "essential" seem hopelessly inadequate, such pedestrian descriptions actually diminish the pure heartfelt music contained in these grooves — and this hoodoo half dozen is fuelled by a chooglin’ groove unlike any other.
It’s no exaggeration to say that in 1969 and 1970, Creedence Clearwater Revival owned North America with what seemed to be a never-ending string of superb, socially conscious hit singles. When I saw them in 1970 on their Cosmo’s Factory tour, John Fogerty, clad in his signature checked flannel shirt, led the band through a blistering set that lasted a scant 40 minutes from start to finish. I know because I actually timed them just to make sure that I got my five bucks’ worth and, boy, did I ever! In that short time span, the guys played all of their hits and still had enough time to spare for extended throw-downs on "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and "Suzie Q."
Now the folks who ramrodded the recent resurrection of Stax records, Concord Music Group, have given us back another national treasure trove of riches in far superior condition than they initially found it. The pristine restored sound quality stunningly surpasses every previous digital version; the dozens of bonus studio outtakes and live tracks are truly revelatory; and the insightful liner notes, by such knowledgeable veteran authors as Dave Marsh and Robert Christgau, tell you all you need to know about how CCR managed to successfully straddle the ’60s and ’70s in a way that no other travelin’ band did.
But the real reason why you have to buy these six albums is to hear the most exhilarating American music ever made — and to joyously rediscover why you love rock ’n’ roll so much.