Creedence Clearwater Revival
Live at Woodstock
So the story goes, CCR was the first band to sign on the line to deliver a set at Woodstock. They were paid $10k for it (around $70,000 today, apparently) and then John Fogerty would not allow the band’s image to be represented in the documentary-film or album-soundtrack.
Creedence Clearwater Revival at Woodstock was all but forgotten. A bit of video of it appeared and in the 90s when the quarter-century anniversary was up, Fogerty allowed a few cuts to slip out into the world. But never the full gig.
What’s – also – worth mentioning, since this is the year of famous 50th Anniversaries in rock (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds et al) is that Creedence released three brand new studio albums in 1969. Two thirds of the way through that golden run – their debut was released in ’68, they went from just-getting-going to living-legends in the space of about 10 months – they delivered this pretty-fucking-knockout set of chooglin’-good grooves at Woodstock.
No idea why the footage and audio was stomped-on for so long – but certainly the set opener, Born On The Bayou, is botched. It’s loose and murky in the intro, but they recover. Surely that was not reason enough for John to say no to any of this being outed?
Because, man, they fucking slay here on a few of the tracks. And it’s not just the obvious cuts. I mean, frankly, I’ve never cared for Bad Moon Risin’, but here the band plays it, just a couple of weeks after its album-version would have been released to the world, with all the passion and grit and guts that I have never heard on the studio rendition.
Same, too, of Proud Mary. A better song, obviously, but an over-played staple of 60s-era docos and films and Classic Rock Radio, but here it’s just a sweet-sweet song. A groover.
The audio here is top-notch. Fogerty’s rasp-voice is fine-as-fuck, that impeccable rhythm section choogles along and Tom Fogerty’s great, great rhythm guitar is the secret, special sauce in some ways.
But let’s not ever put anything above John’s songs. The man is a jukebox. And here he was, 24 years old or some shit like that, and just lining up future-classic after future-classic. And he has guitar-lines to burn too.
Green River, Bootleg, Bayou, Commotion. And those wonderful covers – here we get a version of I Put A Spell On You that’s even more ominous than it’s recorded version. We get The Night Time Is The Right Time, sounding raw-af and beautiful. And the set and encore is rounded off with 20 minutes of Keep On Chooglin’ then Suzie Q. Fuck me, but I could listen to that ride cymbal pulse its way through Suzie on a 10-hour loop.
My god. My god. This band. This man. These fucking songs.
This is everything. And if you don’t agree you are dead to me. Dead. Do you hear me? No you don’t. Cos you’re dead! Fucker!
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