Creedence Clearwater Revival is safely ensconced in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame and its leader, writer, and lead guitarist, John Fogerty, is recognized as a living musical genius. Today the group is mainly remembered for their string of single releases that dominated the American airwaves in the late 1960s and early 70s. Such songs as “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Run Through The Jungle,” “Travelin’ Man,” “Fortunate Son” and a host of others have proven to have eternal appeal as new generations have embraced them.
The Concord Music Group purchased the Fantasy Label catalogue and has reissued the first six Creedence Clearwater albums complete with bonus tracks. Only the group’s last studio release, Mardi Gras, is missing. The packaging is true to the original releases. It is the sound, however, that makes the difference as it has a clearness that was not present on the originals. While Creedence Clearwater may best be remembered for the aforementioned singles, their albums sold in the millions and any or all of these reissues are worth acquiring as they helped define American rock ‘n’ roll at a critical period in United States history.
Pendulum was the sixth Creedence Clearwater studio album and the last to feature all four members of the group as Tom Fogerty would depart shortly after its release.
This album is different from the five that preceded it as John Fogerty decided to take the group in new directions. He may have over reached at times but the sound remains an interesting glimpse into what they may have been moving toward had they not disbanded.
There are three classic sounding Creedence songs for traditionalists. In a way Fogerty may have been hedging his bets. The two sided hit single, “Have You Ever Seen The Rain/Hey Tonight,” contain the tight song structures and harmonies that had made the group famous. “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” was issued at the height of the Vietnam War and is still a reminder of those times. “Molina” could have been another hit single as it is up-tempo, catchy, and stays in the mind for days.
The rest of the songs take the group in a different direction. “Pagan Baby” has an ominous feel and features some of John Fogerty’s best guitar work. “Chameleon” presents a unique use of a horn section. “Born To Move” has a jam feel to it; rather than the precise structures that had dominated their previous work. The guitar plus organ and accompanying brass drive the song along. “Sailor’s Lament” is up-tempo but with an odd structure.
“Rude Awakening #2” can be classified as a progressive rock. It contains an organ foundation around which the other instruments revolve. It is a track that treads the line between madness and brilliance.
Pendulum, in the final analysis, is not as smooth a listen as the other Creedence Clearwater albums but in some ways is more interesting because of the chances it takes and new musical directions it explores.