This arrived just in time for me to program “Graveyard Train” to play over and over on Halloween, scaring (or at least bewildering) unsuspecting trick-or-treaters, wondering, “What’s with that old coot handing out the Twix bars?” Which illustrates one of the beauties of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Sure, everyone’s familiar with (and probably tired of) bouncy hits like “Proud Mary” and “Down on the Corner,” but few rock groups before or since could sound as spooky as CCR.
Fantasy Records has finally played all the cards in their Creedence deck and released what fans have been clamoring for: a six-CD box of every cut on every album the band released during its five-year reign, as well as a disc chronicling the quartet’s evolution from a hard-working but derivative cover band to a truly original force to be reckoned with.
It’s the 24 pre-Creedence tracks that are of most interest to diehard fans, since everything else is, no doubt, committed to memory. Beginning their recording life as Tommy Fogerty & The Blue Velvets – older brother Tom fronting John Fogerty’s instrumental trio – the band sounds already dated in 1961. With Doug Clifford on drums and Stu Cook on piano, John serves up a straight-forward double-stop teen-lead solo in the manner of Johnny & The Hurricanes’ Dave Yorko on “Come On Baby.” This and the group’s follow-up single – John’s Ricky Nelson/Buddy Holly-esque “Have You Ever Been Lonely” and the brothers Fogerty’s Ritchie Valens-mode “Bonita”