Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Classic Summer Album

I found some notes I had sketched out on the classic LP from Creedence Clearwater Revival, COSMO'S FACTORY (1970). So, I'll type 'em out here and get an actual post in today after all.

This album was released in July of 1970, their 5th album in less than two years. I repeat, their 5th album in less than two years. I repeat...

All songs written by John Fogerty, unless otherwise noted.

"Ramble Tamble" (7:09) - This opening song starts with a relatively bluesy feel, albeit fast-paced. Then, it evolves into a heavier-than-usual tune for CCR, before returning to its original sound. Good driving music!

"Before You Accuse Me" (3:24) - GREAT cover of a Bo Diddley classic. It bears repeating by the Haahnster that this version has more than its fair share of the requisite fire and passion, as opposed to the limp, spineless, crying-at-his-own-misfortune version propagated by Eric "Slowhand" Crapton.

"Travelin' Band" (2:07) - Classic CCR: quick-hitting fun, and as catchy a tune as you'd ever want to hear.

"Ooby Dooby" (2:05) - Written by Wade Moore and Richard Penner, this is a quick-paced rockabilly tune, highlighted by John Fogerty absolutely shredding his guitar.

"Lookin' Out My Back Door" (2:31) - OK, this one is even catchier than "Travelin' Band"! And, I must paranthetically insert (sans parentheses) that hearing this song will forever remind me of the "Dude" pounding the roof of his car to the beat in The Big Lebowski. Classic.

"Run Through The Jungle" (3:09) - Another of CCR's greatest hits, this one hits on some anti-Viet Nam War sentiment.

"Up Around The Bend" (2:40) - Wait a minute, now. It certainly can't get any catchier than this, right? Absolutely one of the greatest guitar hooks ever written/recorded/released for public consumption anywhere EVER!

"My Baby Left Me" (2:17) - Written by Arthur Crudup, this is a bluesy remake, fast-paced and funky.

"Who'll Stop The Rain" (2:28) - This fantastic acoustic-based tune was written as an allegory for the war, with Fogerty pleading for someone to stop the insanity ("rain").

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (11:05) - Written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield, this song was popularized by Marvin Gaye. Here, Fogerty arranges an AMAZING cover version in the form of a phenomenal guitar workout. This is probably my 2nd favorite remake of any song ever, behind only the Hendrix version of "All Along The Watchtower". Damn, could Fogerty play that electric guitar!

"Long As I Can See The Light" (3:33) - This closing tune has a great bluesy/soul feel. It's organ-based, with a little horn thrown in the mix. There's a sign on the album cover that says "LEAN CLEAN and BLUESY"...I think that hits the nail on the head for this entire album. A true american classic.

Here's a quote from Wikipedia that I found interesting: "The peak of a prolific streak, Cosmo's Factory was Creedence's fifth disc in less than two years. It was a major commercial success, reaching #1 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart, and spawning no less than six top 5 singles. More amazingly, it also reached #11 on what was then the Billboard Soul Albums chart, a crossover feat nearly unheard of for a white pop/rock band. In 2003, the album was ranked number 265 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The name of the album comes from the warehouse in Berkeley where the band rehearsed. Bandleader John Fogerty was so insistent on practicing (nearly every day) that drummer Doug 'Cosmo' Clifford began referring to the place as 'the factory'."

According to Wikipedia, those six Top 5 singles were "Long As I Can See The Light" (#2), "Lookin' Out My Back Door" (#2), "Run Through The Jungle" (#4), "Travelin' Band" (#2), "Up Around The Bend" (#4), and "Who'll Stop The Rain" (#2). These numbers are a bit confusing to me, as I have read that CCR had five #2 singles in total, which (I'm pretty sure) included "Proud Mary" and "Bad Moon Rising". So, I'm not sure how there could've been four #2's on this album alone. In any event, I know CCR never had a #1 single, which is amazing. I also know that Cosmo's Factory is my favorite CCR album, and #265 of all-time is a gross underrating.


Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

This album rocks. My vinyl has many grooves on it.

If you get a chance to see John in concert - please go. It's worth the trip. I caught him last year at the House of Blues in New Orleans and he just rock-rock-rocked.

2:31 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Excellent post! We, too, got it on vinyl from the month it came out. You're dead-on about "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"; it's nearly impossible to cover a perfect original ... but CCR nailed it and made their version their own. And thank you for the Clapton slam. Doesn't he just bore, bore, bore you these days? I was a fan way back when ... and I find there are very few of his tunes that have stood the test of my time.

3:24 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Keith: I played my vinyl about 1,000,000 times. There's a particularly deep groove where I used to drop the needle when replaying and re-replaying "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" on my crappy old turntable. Replacing this one on CD was a necessity as well as a convenience!

Beth: I've heard enough '60s Clapton stuff to know he could play. My argument *was* that he wasn't better than several others who received far less attention/hype. Now, taking into account his catalog since about '75 through present day, I'm tempted to switch my argument to "most of his music sucks"!!! Harsh, I know, but what can I say?!

4:59 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Ugh. Don't you hate crap like "Wonderful Tonight"? And he jumped the shark with "Tears in Heaven."

7:04 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Two of the sappiest pieces of crap ever perpetrated on the public. And, no, I'm not without sympathy over the loss of his son. But, that doesn't mean I have to accept a turd like "Tears In Heaven". Understanding why he wrote it and being able to listen to it without gagging are two distinctly different things.

9:03 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Marni said...

I was three when this album was released, but I know just about every song on it -- thanks to my Dad. I do have to say though, that when I hear CCR it reminds me of eating in a Waffle House. I swear everytime we went there I would hear Up Around the Bend.

LOVE me some CCR!

1:09 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Thanks for stopping in, Marni. I was 3 months old when this album was released, and I too can trace my affection for CCR directly to my dad's old records/8-track tapes.

My Waffle House experience is very limited (less than 5 visits?), as I have not spent enough time in the South. In my home state of Illinois, the only two Waffle Houses are down in the St. Louis suburbs. My trips to/from Florida, New Orleans, and Texas have taken me past many a Waffle House, but I've made precious few stops.

2:54 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Marni said...

Ooooh - you must stop by! I live in a small, small town and we have THREE all within spittin' distance! Next time try your hashbrowns scattered and smothered... YUMMMMM!

3:57 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

She's right, Haahnster. In Atlanta, we often have Waffle Houses across the street from each other ... so that you don't have to turn against traffic. We respect our cholesterol-cloggin' food down here.

And you children please shut up about your tender CCR ages. There's an adult in the room.

9:08 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Oh, that's right!!! I remember that now (from my drives through Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida). It's been several years, and I'd forgotten that both-sides-of-the-exit thing. That's classic.

9:33 PM, July 06, 2006  

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