John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival wrote some of the most memorable songs in rock history. Tunes such as “Proud Mary,” “Bad Man Rising,” “Down On The Corner,” “Fortunate Son,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” and many others all came from his fertile mind and sold millions of copies. None of those songs are contained on this CD.
Covers The Classics is the title of the latest Creedence Clearwater compilation album to be released by The Fantasy label. The title explains it all. This is a CD of non-original compositions that graced a number of their studio releases.
My first reaction to this concept was skepticism. A Creedence album without any John Fogerty penned songs did not sound like a good idea. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised as the quality of the material is first rate, plus it is nice to have most of the group’s cover tracks on one album. Creedence had such a unique sound that their take on these songs makes them interesting to say the least.
Their most famous covers begin with Jay Hawkins. CCR’s first successful single was “Susie Q.” “I Put A Spell On You” was the first cut from their debut album. Both feature a raw vocal from John Fogerty and retain the ominous sound of the originals.
“Cotton Fields” and “The Midnight Special” go in a different direction. They are typical slick rock ‘n’ roll by Creedence. What sets them apart are the harmonies which are on a par with anything the group would create.
Several songs travel in a rockabilly direction. “Ooby Dooby” was an early Roy Orbison song recorded for the Sun label in 1956. “My Baby Left Me” comes from the same era and label except it was recorded by Elvis Presley. While the Creedence versions have a fuller sound, the vocals remain loyal to the originals. “Hello Mary Lou,” which was a number one hit for Ricky Nelson, is given a smooth rendition that is easy on the ear.
The other track of note is their cover of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” It contains great bass lines by Stu Cook. My only complaint is that I would have preferred the long version rather than the single edit.
Covers The Classics is not of the caliber of their studio albums or any of their greatest hits albums for that matter. It is, however, an interesting release as it collects many of their forgotten tracks into one place. It clearly shows that Creedence Clearwater had the ability to interpret a wide variety of songs and make them their own.