Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Back when I was about twelve, my record collection consisted of one 45, Dave Clark Five's "At the Scene." Having played it over and over, I was ready for the next big purchase, a record album. I had stashed away my lawn mowing funds, so it was just a matter of deciding what record to buy. I didn't want to make an arbitrary choice, so I decided to consult someone who was as close to an expert as was available to a snot nosed twelve year old. One of my friends had an older brother, and one of his friends was a reviewer for a local semi-underground magazine called The Door. One day I was over at their house messin' around. The older brother's friend was there, so I summoned the courage to ask him, knowing that there was a possibility that I'd be seen as naive as I was. "Cameron, what record should I get?." His compact answer was something along the lines of "Get Creedence's Cosmo's Factory" and, though I don't remember him being curt, I don't remember him going into any amount of detail about why I should get that particular album, not that it would have mattered. Regardless, I had my shopping list. Within a few days I'd make the trek to Welch's Music, the closest record store. It was actually a music store, in the old school sense. The kind of music store that sold musical instruments, sheet music and records. It had a couple soundproof rooms for lessons, and 45s behind the counter in pegboard mounted racks. They had the record, for good reason. Cosmo's Factory was Creedence's latest album, they'd had hit after hit with the previous four, and "Up Around the Bend," was riding the charts. So, I bought the record and began a Creedence obsession that would last for most of my teens, still ahead of me.

In the ensuing couple of years, I devoured anything and everything Creedence. There was a TV special, with a lot of live footage. I taped the audio from that, with a hand held microphone and my families new portable cassette recorder. (The special also had the concert opener, Booker T and the MGs, performing "Time Is Tight," my first exposure to another future favorite.) By the time I reached 8th grade and was given the opportunity to give an oral report to my history class on any subject, Creedence it was. I'd studied all I could find on the band, including reviews and a paperback bio, Inside Creedence. When the day came, I rolled out my butcher paper Creedence timeline, with hand drawn illustrations, and spoke as authoritatively as I ever have on any subject.

Ahh, the good ol' days. Before I started finding the flaws in my favorite bands. That was not to last. Two albums later, after the departure of John Fogerty's brother Tom, Creedence became a three piece. Though the rhythm guitar played by Tom Fogerty could be duplicated in the studio, the big change on their seventh and final LP, Mardi Gras, was that drummer Doug Clifford and bassist Stu Cook were given bigger roles. A guess would be that they seized the opportunity of Fogerty's exit to present an ultimatum. It has been said that it was John Fogerty who gave them the ultimatum. Whatever the real story is, when your lead guitarist and vocalist, chief songwriter, and undeniable face of the band starts letting go of the reins, what you have on your hands is recipe for disaster. Was it just easier to do that, rather then disband? Was it John Fogetrty's way of saying "See here? This is what happens."? Who the hell knows, but it was my first taste, as a fan, of finding a favorite band fallible. And it was my first favorite band. A flawless band has not materialized since. Just give me a band, and I'll find a wart. Maybe that's why I like music so much. Everyone screws up, no matter how good they sing, write, or play, rock the flannel with leather pants, or choose covers. You're going to suck at some point.

(That guy Cameron that recommended Cosmo's Factory was the young Cameron Crowe, pre-Rolling Stone, pre-Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and pre-Jerry Mcguire, when he was just the friend of Mark Gallagher's brother Jim. He was about the same age as he's portrayed in his autobiographical film Almost Famous.)

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Penthouse Pauper mp3
at The Adios Lounge
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Ramble Tamble mp3 at The Adios Lounge
Creedence Clearwater Revival - My Baby Left Me mp3 at The Adios Lounge
The Great(est) American Rock 'n'Roll Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival
at The Adios Lounge More deepish cuts and an excellent profile.

1 comment:

LD said...

Very cool and thanks for the linkage. Creedence, the gift that keeps on giving. God bless em.