Creedence Clearwater Revival
[40th Anniversary Edition]
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2009, Volume 16, #8
Written by John Metzger
Tue August 4, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT
Sooner or later, all good things simply must come to an end. For Creedence Clearwater Revival, everything began to fall apart during the recording of Pendulum, the sixth and final album to feature the groupís original line-up. Without a doubt, the outing has its moments, some of which ó including the hit single Have You Ever Seen the Rain ó rank among the many highlights of Creedence Clearwater Revivalís storied career. Yet, Pendulum also is plagued by its share of problems, stemming from the pressures that increasingly were weighing upon the band.
Since issuing its debut in the summer of 1968, Creedence Clearwater Revival had become so consistent that its popularity as well as its commercial success rivaled The Beatles. Yet, in spite of the magnificence of Cosmoís Factory, there also was no doubt that front man John Fogerty was beginning to fall into a routine with his writing style. Recognizing that he needed to move Creedence Clearwater Revivalís signature sound forward, he began searching for new ways to frame his compositions.
A recording session with Booker T. Jones ó several outtakes from which were featured as bonus tracks on the reissued rendition of Cosmoís Factory ó likely provided the impetus for the way in which Fogerty approached Pendulum. In effect, he jettisoned his whip-smart electric leads in favor of the heady swirl of a Hammond B-3 organ. This didnít necessarily mean that he had altered his approach to writing songs, but it did lend fresh textures to the Creedence Clearwater Revivalís arrangements. As a result, Fogerty was able to push against the boundaries that had defined the bandís style without crafting material that felt so unfamiliar that it alienated the groupís longstanding fans.
Only Pagan Baby, the opening track on Pendulum, was a complete throwback. Its chugging momentum and serrated edges, which exploded forcefully over the tuneís funky groove, mirrored many of Creedence Clearwater Revivalís previous singles, thus providing an easy point of access to the endeavor. Everything else, however, was designed to reconstruct the foundation of the groupís sound in order to lay the groundwork for its future. With the utmost level of confidence, Fogerty switched from a guitar-driven attack to a keyboard-heavy approach. Nevertheless, although Pendulum was a solidly constructed affair, it also boasted a few songs that have never left much of a lasting impression.
There is little doubt that the changes that Fogerty had instituted likely would have born fruit for Creedence Clearwater Revival somewhere down the road, if only the outfitís inner turmoil had not become too much to bear. Fogertyís authoritative grip increasingly was being challenged not just by his older brother Tom, but also by Stu Cook and Doug Clifford. While the tracks for Pendulum were being written and recorded, this conflict upset the quartetís carefully balanced chemistry. Not surprisingly, the elder Fogerty split shortly after the effort was released, and although both Cook and Clifford were allowed to have more input during the making of Creedence Clearwater Revivalís next endeavor, it quickly became clear that the groupís demise was imminent. Even as it looked toward the future, Pendulum effectively marked the end of a journey. Ĺ
Of Further Interest...
Pendulum is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
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