This one is a no-brainer for me to recommend. As a little Debbi living in Northern California in the late 60’s, CCR was THE band that was played every hour on the Top 40 San Fran AM radio station that I tuned into religiously. I was hooked by the approach of Creedence at a time when most of the songs on the radio were silly little ditties (remember Tommy Roe and “Dizzy? Jam Up and Jelly Tight?” Ray Stevens and “Gitarzan?”) If it wasn’t silly, it was all goopy lovey dovey. It’s embarrasing to even have to write “Yummy Yummy Yummy I Got Love in My Tummy” but there you go. That’s what we heard on the AM radio.
And then all of a sudden there was this band that didn’t sing love songs. They sang about rain. And about pain. And about sinister purposes. And effigies. Back then, I had to look up that word in the dictionary. But I didn’t have to research the way the music made me feel. The pulsating “Susie Q” didn’t even need the words. Ditto “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”. (both songs covers that Creedence put an indelible stamp on). The poignancy of “Lodi” and “Wrote a Song for Everyone” made this little 12 year old aware that something bigger than she understood was going on. Yet, there was no preaching. There was no hidden underlying “try to decipher me” lyrics. It was all right there. Whether it clocked in less than three minutes (most of the songs) or stretched out to 11 minutes (Susie Q and Grapevine), the lyrics were succint and worn on the plaid sleeve of John Fogerty. Because, yes, John Fogerty was the heart and soul of this band. His guitar style so distinctive as much as his grainy voice.(Creedence Clearwater Revisited with another lead singer??????PUH-LEEZE! but that’s a topic for another day)
The cool thing about this collection is that it’s every single single release from CCR. A AND B sides. (dunno what that means? You see, records used to be made of this stuff called vinyl and these little records called 45’s because they played at 45rpm were put out with a song on each side. The A side was the side the record company thought was the best and most commercial side and that’s the side they expected radio stations to play so it would be a big hit and then maybe people would also buy the album. A lot of times the B side was way cooler). And for a few short years in the late 60’s and early 70’s Creedence just kept on chooglin’ and had an amazing musical output. 17 hits on the charts in four years! This collection brings them to you in their original mixes and mono glory. There is also a four song DVD set and it is absolutely a delight to watch the fresh faced, gap toothed John Fogerty playing away on “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”. Also included in the set is a poster with all the picture sleeves from all the singles and talk about tripping back in time. For the geekiest of vinyl collectors out there, there is also a limited edition collectors 45 RPM Vinyl Box Set so you can own all the singles with their rare picture sleeves in a deluxe collectible box.
John Fogerty and Creedence brought something to the radio that had been missing. There was an air of danger in that swampy hoodoo sound. There was infectious joy in the poppy little singles like “Bad Moon Rising” even though he was singing of death and destruction. There was a raucous Little Richard side literally on “Good Golly Miss Molly” and also on”Travelin’ Band”. There’s a reason these songs are still played on the radio after all these years. And this collection is chock full of them.