When the author of the liner notes for Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics asserts CCR was the American answer to the Beatles, that's hyperbole. To call this three-disc collection "ultimate" is equally overstated. After all, it's the fourth anthology to have that title including 1989's 21st Anniversary: The Ultimate Collection (24 Classic Hits) , 1998's The Ultimate Collection, and 2000's The Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival.
In fact, the music of CCR has been reissued, remastered, and repackaged on 14 collections to date on Fantasy Records or labels that licensed their lucrative and evergreen catalogue. While expanding beyond the usual "greatest hits" format, Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics is a rather strange assembly. Yes, all the hits are here. Yes, many of the lesser known album tracks are here. But they are presented with no obvious rhyme or reason.
Disc one, for example, begins with a run of 14 CCR hits and better known tracks like "Proud Mary," "Born on the Bayou," "Fortunate Son," and "Who'll Stop the Rain." Then, the final six choices are album tracks like "Wrote a Song for Everyone," "Before You Accuse Me," and "My Baby Left Me." The set ends with the group's cover of "Cotton Fields" which, for the record, is far superior to the more famous Beach Boys rendition of that tune.
How Fantasy Records came up with that organization is anyone's guess. It wasn't chronological or thematic. Disc two makes a bit more sense, as its flow is to alternate hits with album tracks. "Travelin' Band" is followed by "Don't Look Now"; "Down on the Corner" is followed by "It Came Out of the Sky." Again, the structure isn't chronological, but the attempt seems to be to mix favorites with songs many listeners have likely forgotten or never heard. So why were the two discs of studio material put together so differently? Perhaps it was just a means to avoid being so obviously a reworking of the songs previously collected on the Chronicle volumes and other such packages.