CCR – Bayou Country (1969) & Cosmo’s Factory (1970)
Welcome to 2 for 1 / 2Pac / theme name is still a work in progress but something to indicate 2 albums per artist per post in October!
Nearly two years later, I’ve realized there are three things that CCR does as well or better than anybody else. To explain, an ill-advised attempt at an acrostic poem.
C – Consistent Sound
As I get older and wiser, I see that CCR has succeeded at a difficult task: developing a distinctive ‘sound’ without sounding formulaic.
I’d argue they’re a bit like John Grisham. Grisham manages to churn out books at an astonishing pace, with titles seemingly plucked from a legal glossary (The Firm, The Client, The Summons, The Litigators…) yet the books never feel repetitive. He might not be critically acclaimed but he’s doing something right.
If the band sound is quickly identifiable, there is absolutely no mistaking the John Fogerty growl. That being said, his pronunciation is sometimes curious. On the big hit from Bayou Country, Proud Mary, he announces that a “big wheel keep on tuy-ning, Proud Mary keep on buy-ning.” If that wasn’t distracting enough, he claims to have repeatedly “huyd it through the grapevine” on Cosmo’s Factory. Perhaps few others will notice, but the only other person I know that pronounces those words in that way is my three-year old daughter, so it’s safe to say it took me out of the moment!
C – Continuing Influence
How do you know your band has ‘made it’ in 2013? I’d suggest one of three ways:
– Your song is covered on Glee (though Jeff Winger summarizes my feelings on that show here)
– Your band plays on SNL
– You appear, as in the Dr. Hook song, on the Cover of the Rolling Stone.
Well, Alabama Shakes played SNL and The Sheepdogs graced the Rolling Stone cover and if their sounds are any indication, between them, the groups probably have several copies (in multiple formats) of Bayou Country & Cosmo’s Factory. Swamp rock, roots rock, whatever the name, a new generation of CCR fans are keeping the sound alive and well.
R – Repertoire for Rick McGhie-esque singalongs
If you attended the University of Western Ontario, Rick McGhie needs no introduction. Every Wednesday, he’d play singalongs at the campus pub and people (myself included) would flock back to see him week after week. Similar set list every time, but that was part of the charm.
It’s unlikely I’ll keep going back to either of these records (Cosmo’s was the stronger of the two) too frequently for independent listening. It’s highly probable however that I’ll try to learn the lyrics to songs like Lookin’ out My Back Door as in the singalong context, there’s plenty of solid material here.
I was thinking while listening to these two records that a CCR Greatest Hits would be quite potent. A quick Wikipedia search revealed although they released seven studio albums, a whopping fourteen compilations have been assembled. So it appears others have had the same idea – but considering there have been fourteen attempts, perhaps the definitive mix has yet to be made.
Suggestions for ‘Best of CCR’ tracklist attempt #15 are welcomed!