Despite their rock blues, roots and rock sound, Creedence Clearwater Revival are actually from the San Francisco Bay Area. That’s hard to believe the first time you put on one of their records. Not only are you hit with a wave of down and dirty blues mixed together with the best rock imaginable, you’re hit with it in spades. The last thing on your mind is the hippie culture of 1967, a moment in time that will always be associated with the city of San Francisco.
This show, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, is arguably one of the greatest shows they ever played. The band open with a roaring rendition of Born On The Bayou from their second album, Bayou Country, which features the tremolo effect that Fogerty would use throughout the bands short yet productive career. Green River comes next which is a fantastic blues style song in the key of E and features some wonderful blues fills from Fogerty. The song is definitely a highlight from their studio career and it’s great to hear such a fantastic live version which is almost note for note the same as the studio version. Usually I’m not one for songs being played live in the same they were recorded in the studio (hence my love for bands like The Allman Brothers Band, Derek and the Dominos & Cream) but Creedence Clearwater Revival are an exception for me. The songs are perfect on the albums and sound just as good when played live. Green River is followed by Tombstone Shadow, a 12 bar number which features some great bass playing from Stu Cook which along with Fogerty’s lead guitar work really make the song.
That’s followed by Travelin’ Band, a song from their 1970 album Cosmo’s Factory. This is in fact the first and only song from that album they would perform at this show which is criminal because that album has some fantastic moments. Fortunate Son comes next, one of the most well known anti-war songs of the 1960’s. From the moment the drums and bass come in you know that amazing riff is only seconds away from blowing your head off. Fogerty’s guitar tone on this particular rendition is wonderful, thicker than honey. You don’t get much better than this! Commotion, a song from their 1969 Green River album follows and clocks in at just over two and a half minutes in length. For such a great song this is too short! In fact a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs are pretty short in length, I only wish the band could have extended this (and others) when playing live.
- Born On The Bayou
- Green River
- Tombstone Shadow
- Travelin’ Band
- Fortunate Son
- Midnight Special
- Bad Moon Rising
- Proud Mary
- Night Time Is The Right Time
- Good Golly Miss Molly
- Keep On Chooglin’
The album Willy And The Poor Boys contained some of their most interesting songs and one of them, Midnight Special, is played beautifully hear. John Fogerty starts the song on vocals with some fantastic guitar playing featuring a tremolo effect again. It’s a great song, I only wish they played more songs from that album apart from the two they played at this show, the other being Fortunate Son. Following Midnight Special is a cracking version of what is probably their most known song, Bad Moon Rising. It’s one of those songs that you know instantly from hearing the first chord.
Proud Mary is a song which is probably most associated with Tina Turner, in fact it’s one of her signature songs. But like most songs you just can’t beat the original version. Fogerty takes a great solo at around a minute and a half in and this song actually features backing vocals from the rest of the band. It was revealed in 1997 that Fogerty hated his band mates backing vocals on this song, saying “They went as far as adding background vocals to ‘Proud Mary,’ and it sounded awful. They used tambourines, and it sounded no better.” This is an attitude of Fogerty’s that would cause the band to break up eventually a few years later. After Proud Mary comes Night Time Is The Right Time, the second cover to be played in the evening after Midnight Special. It’s a song by Nappy Brown which was originally recorded 13 years earlier in 1957 and the Creedence version is one of the highlights of the Albert Hall show.
The band finish with two songs from their Bayou Country album, the first a song originally recorded by Little Richard in 1958 called Good Golly Miss Molly. The band (Fogerty in particular) really had a knack for re-working 50’s classics and this is no exception. Keep On Chooglin’ is the final track and is more of a loose jam song compared to most other songs Creedence played and wrote and remains on the same chord from start to finish. It features some great harmonica playing and Doug Clifford is an absolute beast on the drums! The crowd must have been pleased considering they gave the band a non-stop four and a half minute standing ovation at the end. What a show!
A lot of stick has been given to John Fogerty over the years but you can’t take anything away from his songwriting abilities. Later on in the bands career (later in 1970 in fact) Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitarist and brother of band leader John Fogerty) quit during the recording of their Pendulum album which then transformed the band from a quartet to a trio. This would be the beginning of the end for the band with the lack of a second guitar becoming evident in their live shows and the disaster of an album Mardi Gras in 1972 when Fogerty only provided three songs for the album, with Stu Cook (bassist) and Doug Clifford (drummer) providing six between them. There’s no doubt that the magic of Creedence Clearwater Revival resided within John Fogerty.
But going back to this bootleg, it’s certainly one of the best you’ll ever hear in terms of music and quality. Sure there’s a slight dull hiss through some of the songs but for a recording that is now 44 years old you can’t really complain. There are a lot worse recordings out there. This show really did capture the band at the height of their powers. It’s hard to believe that they released three albums in 1969 alone, going on to release another two in 1970. One of the greatest bands of all time, no doubt. And this is one of the greatest shows they played.