Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (Craft Recordings)
CCR’s best album celebrates 50
1969 had been a whirlwind year for Creedence Clearwater Revival. The band issued an amazing three studio albums in just twelve months, yielding four Top Five singles, all the while touring the country (including a historic performance at the Woodstock Festival in August of that year). No one would’ve faulted them for taking some time off. Yet, the best was yet to come.
Cosmo’s Factory, the band’s fifth album, is also their best-selling, being certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA. Craft Recordings has just issued a half speed mastered version of the original LP on vinyl, as well as providing a remastered digital version to streaming services.
By the time this album came out in July of 1970, four of the eleven tracks had already been issued as double-sided singles: the furious but brief “Travelin’ Band” backed with the ode to soggy Woodstock “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” and one of their best rockers “Up Around the Bend” backed with the spooky, Vietnam anthem “Run Through the Jungle.” The album would go onto yield another big hit in the good timey “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” backed with the soulfully twangy ballad “Long as I Can See the Light.”
On the surface, Cosmo’s Factory looks like an album filled with…er, filler. Four of the eleven tracks were covers – one being the longest studio track the band ever put to tape, an acid rock swamp romp through Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which clocked in at just over eleven minutes! Add in the album’s psychedelic but sprawling opener, “Ramble Tamble,” and you might think they were just stalling.
Yet, all the cover songs work – Roy Orbison’s “Ooby Dooby,” Elvis’ “My Baby Left Me,” and Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” are all faithful, yet spirited covers, while “Grapevine,” although certainly too long, is still an interesting reworking of the song. While the band attempted long jams on many of their albums, “Ramble Tamble” builds in a way to keep things interesting throughout.
You could say Cosmo’s Factory showed off the versatility of the group. Two minute hits rubbing shoulders with 11-minute freakouts, hard rockers, country sing a longs, acid-induced eerie tracks, all present in this fantastic album which featured arguably the finest collection of John Fogerty originals on one album. CCR would never again soar to these heights. —Tony Peters