- CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: GREEN RIVER: 1969: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: IPOD: Here are the dates of CCR’s album releases in 1969- Bayou Country on January 5, Green River on August 3 and Willy And The Poor Boys on November 2. It wasn’t like they were holed away in the studio all year either-they were touring. Green River- features- the title track which opens the album -it reached #2 as a single. Commotion which reached #30, on side 2- the opener was one of their most famous songs “Bad Moon Rising” #2 followed by “Lodi” which as a b-side only made #52. Other outstanding tracks- Wrote A Song For Everyone, Tombstone Shadow. All the songs were written by John Fogerty except for the closing cover-The Night Time Is The Right Time. This to me is the first of three outstanding 5 star albums. Hard to choose which is best- Green River/ Willy And The Poor Boys or Cosmos Factory.
- CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: WILLY AND THE POOR BOYS: 1969: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: IPOD: I was in a CCR mood today so I thought I”d listen to the entire catalog. This album featured two great singles- Down On The Corner and Fortunate Son- which were the side A and side B openers. Fortunate Son ranks as my #1 CCR song ever. Other highlights- It Came Out Of The Sky, Effigy, a cover of Leadbelly’s Cotton Fields [which was a number one hit in Mexico} Don’t Look Now. Not a bad song on it.
- CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: COSMOS FACTORY: 1970. John Fogerty was clearly slacking off- after releasing three albums in 1969- the last one “Willy And The Poorboys” on November 2, 1969- they didn’t release another one until July 16, 1970- over eight months! This is probably the best and most famous CCR album. It went to #1 across the globe- this one was full of hits-Travelin’ Band/ Who’ll Stop The Rain #2, Up Around The Bend/ Run Through The Jungle #4 and Looking Out My Back Door/ Long As I Can See The Light #2. The album sold 4 million copies in the US. Four covers also on this album the most notable an eleven minute “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”- which doesn’t top Marvin Gaye’s version. Every CCR album seems to have at least one long song. Their strength was the 2-3 minute songs.
- DOLLY PARTON: THE ESSENTIAL DOLLY PARTON: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: IPOD: When you hear the name Dolly Parton the first thing you think of- of course is her great voice. the best songs on this 20 song disc is in my opinion her early country songs. I thought she jumped the shark when she went pop in the late 70’s. So the older country songs on this I like- the later ones- not so much. Favorites include-Mule Skinner Blues, The Bargain Store, Coat Of Many Colors, My Tennessee Mountain Home [which has been stuck in my head since I heard it} Joshua, Jolene, and the original and best version of I Will Always Love You.
- GRAHAM PARKER: THE UP ESCALATOR: 1980: 1 STAR OUT OF 5 STARS: VINYL: On the blog yesterday MusiCommentator mentioned to me that most of the albums I listen to I like. That thought had crossed my mind before but it is a good point. Most of what I listen to I like. I have albums of course that I don’t care much for- and I tend to avoid them. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe just maybe something I had dismissed years ago will sound better to an older me. Maybe not. I reached into my vinyl collection and pulled out this one from Graham Parker. In the late 1970’s when I got into Elvis Costello- I read in some music mag- a comparison between Elvis and Graham Parker- an artist I had never heard. Blindly I bought the two Graham Parker albums that were out at the time’ Howlin’ Wind and Heat Treatment- and loved them both. Stick To Me his third album came out and it was a production mess. Then in 1979 Squeezing Out Sparks was released and it is considered to be Graham’s greatest album- and my favorite. A masterpiece. So in 1980 the new Graham Parker album comes out and I am excited about it. It proved to be a great disappointment. I didn’t just listen to it once and discard it I bought it so I gave it a chance listening to it often over a few months. It never grew on me and I put it away. I haven’t listened to this in thirty years or so. My original appraisal was correct in this case. It is a mess. Some of these songs may be good, if I heard Graham sitting with a guitar playing them I might like some of them but the production on this is meddled and muddy. Graham has never been compared to Sinatra- but I could always understand what he was singing. On this his vocals sound slurred and too much in the mix. Instruments are buried in the production. It is an awful album. The Boss himself Bruce Springsteen appeared on one song ” Endless Night.” Who was the producer? Jimmy Iovine – who is now one of the richest men in the music industry due to his BEATS. This album would sound awful even listening to it with the most expensive pair of BEATS. Note- ugly album cover too. I do now intend to listen to more of these kind of albums in the future- ones I disliked and haven’t listened to. No matter how bad an album was I have never gotten rid of one.
- THE BEACH BOYS: PET SOUNDS: 1966. 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: VINYL: After suffering through the Graham Parker disaster I had to treat myself to a great one- and Pet Sounds is one of my all time favorite albums. Perfection. A game changing album.
- CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: PENDULUM: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: IPOD: After three albums in 1969, CCR released two in 1970- Cosmos Factory in July and Pendulum in December. I was only nine- ten years old when these albums were released so I didn’t hear them until years later but in listening to the catalog you can sense a little loss of steam here with this album. A fine album but not quite up to par with the past three. This was the first album in which John Fogerty wrote all the songs- no covers on this. Only one hit here- Have You Ever Seen The Rain?/ Hey Tonight #8. The album peaked at #5 on the US chart. There are not many well known CCR songs on this. It took them a month to record which was a long time for them. The band members learned the songs in the studio. Of course as we know things were not going well between Fogerty and the rest of the band. An odd song on here is the closer- Rude Awakening #2 which goes where Fogerty hadn’t gone before- psychedelia. It wasn’t a good idea.
- CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: MARDI GRAS: 1972: 1 1/2 STARS: This is my second bad album of the day. Not as bad as the Graham Parker due to a couple good John Fogerty songs. CCR’s seventh and final album. Tom Fogerty had departed after a dispute with his brother. Fogerty insisted this be a band effort. Out of the ten songs- John Fogerty only wrote three and sang on a fourth a cover of “Hello Mary Lou.” The other six songs were written and sung by Doug Clifford and Stu Cook. In later years Fogerty would say that in his mind Creedence Clearwater Revival put out six album and the rest is horse manure. That is a good way to sum up this album. The only thing that saves it a little- the singles “Sweet Hitch-Hiker and Someday Never Comes. After the release of this album CCR called it quits.