The second incarnation of my blog
Based on the top 100 albums in Rolling Stone magazine’s top 500, I have set myself the challenge of hearing and appraising each album. I hope to be surprised and educated along the way.
At number 59 is another greatest hits collection, this time Chronicle by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Released in 1976, it features 13 singles and 7 of the b-sides. With only three exceptions, all songs are written by John Fogerty.
The album starts with a couple of cover versions: Susie Q – a chugging blues country twangy song and the blues soul classic, I Put a Spell on You. Covering this is risky considering the quality of the original and other covers. They just about get away with it. Later in the album there is a cover of Heard it through the grapevine, and the question is why bother?!
We get into the meat of the album with Proud Mary, a song which sounds almost too slow, but is memorable and the lumbering guitar lifts it from being just a country song.
The next track just makes me think of one of my favourite films, An American Werewolf in London. The song Bad Moon Rising features in one scene (all of the songs had Moon in the title). Despite featuring lyrics warning of death, it’s an upbeat sounding song!
There are a few songs on the album, such as Lodi that sound like sons of Proud Mary in many ways and a bit middle of road for me. But Down on the corner is a story song that you will probably know and also Up around the bend, an infectious song with cool guitar licks and melodic hooks. Have you ever seen the rain? has been covered many times and the chorus will get into your brain on a single hearing – it’s a perfect example of “country rock”.
I like the performance of the songs as they are not too perfect, something modern groups get wrong. You want to hear (even sub-consciously) the tiny human errors and the auto-tune generation have somewhat sterile recordings it seems to me.
Much of the instrumentation and production are similar, but there are some impressive tunes here to enjoy, but I don’t think the b-sides were needed to flesh out this compilation.
My rating: 6/10 (7/10 without the b-sides)
Standout tracks: Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising, Down by the corner, Up around the best, Have you ever seen the rain?
Listen to the album here.
See the Top 100 here.