Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory – Fantasy Records (1970)/ Craft Recordings [Vinyl Me Please] 180-gram stereo translucent blue vinyl limited pressing 42:28 *****:
(John Fogerty – guitar, piano, electric piano, organ, harmonica, saxophone vocals; Tom Fogerty – rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Stu Cook – bass, backing vocals; Doug Clifford – drums, cowbell)
For any other rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1970 Cosmo’s Factory would be a greatest hits compilation. With a staggering six bona fide “hits”, no other band of this era created a legacy of this proportion. But for John Fogerty and his band mates, it was another typical Creedence album. As a Bay-area group that rose to prominence in the 1960’s, they charted a different course. While others pursued the loose, extended psychedelic jams, Creedence Clearwater Revival pioneered their unique amalgam of blues, soul and rockabilly, soon to be labelled swamp rock. Their mostly concise radio-format songs became staples of AM and FM. Additionally, double “A” sided singles (‘Bad Moon Rising”/“Lodi”; “Proud Mary”/“Born On The Bayou”) were commonplace. Fogerty’s gritty vocals and jagged guitar licks combined with a tight rhythm section (Tom Fogerty/rhythm guitar; Stu Cook/bass; Doug Clifford/drums), launching the band to iconic status. In the span from 1968-1972, they released seven albums, including a staggering five in two years. Unfortunately, acrimony defined Creedence, even in their induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993.
Craft Recordings has released a stunning (translucent blue) limited 180-gram re-mastered vinyl pressing of Cosmo’s Factory. As good as the prior albums were, these 11 tracks represent a career zenith for Fogerty and CCR. Side One opens with a decidedly “non-single”, “Ramble Tamble”. The first part of this seven-minute-plus number is hard-charging rockabilly jamming with Fogerty’s growling vocals. After a tempo slow down, the quartet transitions to steady hypnotic rock opus with guitar power chords fueled by crisp solo licks. The rhythm guitar (Tom Fogerty), bass (Stu Cook) and drums (Doug Clifford) intermingle seamlessly, as the tempo increases to a frenetic crescendo. Then, they revert to the initial musical structure. “Before You Accuse Me” is a fitting tribute to Bo Diddley”. It is electrified blues with explosive guitar chords, tinkling piano and a subtle country touch. The first “hit” is “Travelin’ Band”. Fogerty channels 1950’s rock and roll, specifically Little Richard (a favorite of rock musicians). There is saxophone, vocal screams and a piercing guitar solo furiously packed into a concise 2:07. In an homage to another rock pioneer, Roy Orbison, “Ooby Dooby” features scintillating guitar and excellent interplay between Jon Fogerty and Doug Clifford. Fogerty’s diverse musical palette is at the core of his songwriting. On “Looking Out My Back Door”, he offers a glowing nod to the groove-filled swing of Bakersfield (with a very specific name check of Buck Owens). The refrain (“ooh, ooh ooh, lookin’ out my back door) is synonymous with Creedence. The side concludes with the trademark swamp rocker, “Run Through The Jungle”. The eerie spiritual references are framed by a funky, hypnotic tempo that is unrelenting. He performs the song like a fevered shaman and Delta-inspired harmonica accents add raw, authentic texture.
Side Two doesn’t let up at all. “Up Around The Bend” blasts off with classic rocking chords and Fogerty’s snarling vocal delivery. All of the signature CCR precision is there, tight harmony vocals, hard claps and a nimble lead solo with a narrative of …”risin’ wind, up around the bend…”. Of course, this is accomplished in a tidy 2:40 length. On “My Baby Left Me”, Creedence approximates Chicago blues with a swinging country vibe. Perhaps the most lyrical song by Fogerty is “Who’ll Stop The Rain”. A philosophical rumination is expressed with a buoyant cadence. Compositions like this (and “Fortunate Son”) reflect the angst of the 60’s generation. There are tempo breaks and the arrangement is outstanding. Simply, it stands the test of time. For those who characterize CCR as a ‘singles” group, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” is a resounding counter (all eleven minutes). This was a huge success for both Gladys Knight And The Pips and Marvin Gaye for Motown. CCR answers the challenge. Fogerty delves into the famous vamp. His vocals are stirring, including some falsetto. It remains a “get up and dance” tune, but Fogerty injects rock aesthetics with expanded guitar solos. Like its predecessor “Suzie Q”, it showcases a group with “live” performance skills. The finale, “Long As I Can See The Light” is pure gospel. In this testimony, Fogerty gives voice to the aspirational, world-weary resonance that feels universal. The addition of electric piano and saxophone present a multi-layered aural landscape.
Craft Recordings/Vinyl me Please has done an outstanding job in re-mastering Cosmo’s Factory to 180-gram vinyl. The quality of the pressing is flawless, with no detectable surface noise. The dense mix of the original recording is captured, but with pristine clarity. The blue vinyl will thrill collectors.
Side One: Ramble Tamble; Before You Accuse Me; Travelin’ Band; Lookin’ Out My Back Door; Run Through The Jungle
Side Two: Up Around The Bend; My Baby Left Me; Who’ll Stop The Rain; I Heard It Through The Grapevine; Long As I Can See The Light
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