One of my earliest recollections of Creedence Clearwater Revival was seeing them perform, lip-syncing I'm pretty sure, Down on the Corner at Disney Land on television. Another was going over to my older half brother's house and listening to their albums on a single speaker mono phonograph. CCR was his favorite group. But he was also a forward thinker, he later bought a copy of Aerosmith's first album as well.
Now Cleopatra Records, lately famous for their tribute albums, offers A Blues Tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival. The disc features 13 recordings of CCR's greatest hits, performed by contemporary and, if you're not a hardcore blues fan, likely obscure, blues and folk blues players. These include, among others, Mike Zito and Sonny Landreth, The Mynabirds, Leroux, British blues harmonicist Will Wilde, and Kirk Fletcher. A complete list appears at the right.
Not unlike The Classic Rock Tribute to the Doors, each artist gives an accurate treatment of the fundamental melody and arrangement of the song, while adding their own personal nuances, which is a good thing. You will recognize every CCR song here. Whether you like the artist's interpretation, those nuances, will likely vary from person to person. While there's definitely nothing weird here, some songs really didn't grab me. One was Blitzen Trapper's treatment of Proud Mary. It seemed to have the energy stripped from it and, though not listed in the credits, seemed to have some banjo in it. Probably just my ears. My go-to cover will always be the Tina Turner live version.
Alternatively, there are many other songs that are entertaining interpretations. One is Duke Robillard's Who'll Stop The Rain, giving it some smooth soul to the vocals. Another is Kirk Fletcher giving a real blues guitar spirit to Green River. Louisiana's Leroux, no stranger's to CCR's swamp rock, deliver the vocal melody of Looking Out My Back Door with enthusiasm. Actually, their arrangement, especially with the piano and guitars, reminds of something Little Feat might attempt. Between the guitar lines and vocal arrangement, The Mynabirds give Bad Moon Rising something of an electric spookiness to the song's original lyrical ominous. Finally, the real kicker comes at the start from vocalist Mike Zito and guitarist Sonny Landreth covering the classic Fortunate Son. Wrapped in slide guitar, Zito and Landreth get the power and the protest of the original. It's a great cover, and would make CCR proud. As for a tribute and covers album, A Blues Tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival is smart, creative, and entertaining. Recommended.
As for a tribute and covers album, A Blues Tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival is smart, creative, and entertaining. Recommended.
1. Fortunate Son - Mike Zito & Sonny Landreth
2. Bad Moon Rising - The Mynabirds
3. Proud Mary - Blitzen Trapper
4. Down On The Corner - Spirit Family Reunion
5. Have You Ever Seen The Rain - Dead Man Winter
6. Looking Out My Back Door - LeRoux
7. Who’ll Stop The Rain - Duke Robillard
8. Up Around The Bend - South Memphis String Band
9. Susie Q - Will Wilde
10. Run Through The Jungle - Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King
11. Green River - Kirk Fletcher
12. Born On The Bayou - Trampled Under Foot
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