Creedence Clearwater Revival | Cosmo’s Factory – Classic Commentary


Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fifth album, Cosmo’s Factory, was arguably the peak of the Bay Area band’s commercial run. It dented the number one spot on the charts for an amazing nine consecutive weeks. Although it boasted three hit singles, it was, as a whole, much more AOR than most CCR fans would want to believe. When you do a smokin’ 11-minute version of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” you’re not worrying about feeding the hit parade. On that cue, CCR’s next and final album as a foursome — Pendulum — would go on to be their first commercial flop. Go figure.

No doubt, John Fogerty went the distance with Cosmo’s Factory. By this time, his songwriting skills had risen from the swamp and were at their sharpest on songs like “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” a debatable political statement that still sends shivers down my spine. The album is aplenty with three minute-and-under J.C. Fogerty compositions — the frantic “Travelin’ Band,” the cosmic country-laced “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor,” the driving “Up And Around The Bend.”

There are also four cover tunes that bring out the best in this tight knit combo with Fogerty’s high-charged vocals leading the way. The band glides through the blues (“Before You Accuse Me”), rockabilly (“Ooby Dooby” and “My Baby Left Me”) and R & B (“…Grapevine”) with all the grace and style of a first-class rock and roll unit — which, by 1970, they most certainly were. A stand-out is the seven-minute “Ramble Tamble,” which showcases a psychedelic side CCR hid in order to elude the Haight-Asbury scene taking place across the bay from the band’s home base.

Although Fogerty has managed to sustain a career since his days with CCR, it’s a shame he has never been able to patch up his differences with bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford. At one point, record company difficulties and the death of his brother Tom strained the relationship or any chance of reconciliation. These days, there’s a business cooperative, but Fogerty, Cook and Clifford don’t engage with each other. At least they can go back and listen to Cosmo’s Factory. Surely, they would all agree on how well it’s held up.

~ Shawn Perry

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