Tag Archives: Creedence Clearwater Revival

Downstairs at Prange’s

Imagine seeing a photo of something you thought existed only in memory. As you try to process it, the whole thing takes your breath away. Then you get catch your breath and settle down to scrutinizing the tiniest details of the photo.

So it is with this photo, posted earlier this month by the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center to its Facebook page. It carried this four-word caption: “Record department. H.C. Prange.”

When I grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in the ’60s and ’70s, everyone went down by Prange’s. It was the biggest department store in that city of 50,000 along Lake Michigan.

The record department was in the basement. You went down the main escalator and there it was, over to your right as you stepped off, a dazzling world of colorful and thrilling LPs spread out before you. 45s? Sure, but those you could get at the neighborhood dime store. Prange’s was the place where you came to ponder the mighty LP.

This photo is from 1969 or later. In the row going up diagonally from the lower left corner are the Beatles’ “Revolver” and “Magical Mystery Tour” and the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar,” the latter released as an import in 1969. I’d love to see this photo at higher resolution so I could try to ID some of the other records.

I never bought a lot of LPs at Prange’s — all I had was paper route money, and not much of it — but what I did buy were among the first albums I ever owned. I still have them all.

— I gave Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Cosmo’s Factory” LP to my friend Mike for his 13th birthday. It came out in July 1970. His birthday was in October. Truth be told, I’d wanted it for myself. Instead, I got Creedence’s “Green River,” which by then was a year old. It all worked out.

Neil Diamond’s “Tap Root Manuscript,” released in November 1970. I also was 13 and had been listening to AM Top 40 radio almost non-stop all that year.

— Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft” soundtrack, released in July 1971.

Wings’ “Wild Life,” released in December 1971.

Then there’s this.

When I was 13, I was tempted by, perhaps even obsessed with, Janis Joplin’s “Pearl.” It had been released in January 1971, midway through my eighth-grade year. I liked the music. Mostly, though, I thought her pose on the cover was kind of hot — and, yes, I already had some sense of someone being a hot mess — and I really didn’t want to try to explain that to my parents.

So I never bought “Pearl” at Prange’s. Truth be told, it’s only been in the last 10 years that I finally bought “Pearl.” I’ve since bought three or four copies, always looking for a cover in a bit nicer condition than the one before.

Maybe I’ll even frame it someday. It tells quite a story about a young record digger, even if only he recognizes it.

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Filed under November 2018, Sounds

The record library is open

It had been so long since someone asked, the question damn near startled me.

“Can I borrow some of your records?”

Some of my records? These records?

And then my head cleared. Yes, of course, you can borrow some of my records, Evan. Just as my friends and I shared records back in the ’70s, when none of us had all that many LPs or 45s.

So off to college they went last week, two from Creedence Clearwater Revival, one of Evan’s faves of the moment.

This weekend, another request: “Dad, do you have any records by The Who?”

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So off to college it went, “Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy,” a compilation of early Who singles.

When I told Evan that it came out in 1971, before the release of “Baba O’Riley,” his favorite Who song, he wondered when I’d gotten it. The record sleeve told all.

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“Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy” came from Inner Sleeve Records in Wausau, Wisconsin, sometime in the mid-’70s. Back then, when you bought a record there, you got a nice sleeve to go with it.

Those Creedence records were even older. Off to college went “Willy and the Poor Boys” and “Pendulum,” from 1969 and 1970, respectively. Evan grabbed the former because it has “Fortunate Son,” one of his favorite protest songs, on it.

Hope he enjoys them as much as I did, even though he’s several years older now than I was when I spent a lot of time listening to Creedence. I was just a junior-high kid then. That said, I long ago grew tired of hearing the hit singles over and over. These days, I enjoy the Creedence tunes less often heard.

ccrwilly

“It Came Out Of The Sky,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, from “Willy and the Poor Boys,” 1969. Also available digitally. In which a UFO lands in a farm field just south of Moline and the Establishment, circa 1969, freaks out. Enjoy the ride as John Fogerty gleefully sticks it to The Man.

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Filed under January 2015, Sounds

The 6-pack: Happy anniversary to us

When the last week of February rolls around, it’s time to celebrate at AM, Then FM. It dropped into the blogosphere six years ago this week, way back in 2007.

For the six of you who have remained regular readers all this time, thank you.

There are more than six of you, of course, but the glory days of music blogs seem to have come and gone.

Oliver Wang wrote about that the other day over at Soul Sides in response to a reader’s question. “Blogs … peaked in saturation about five years ago and have been on the wane since then.” It’s a drag to go through the bookmarks and see the blogs that have gone dark, especially in the last year or so.

However, a few of us keep on keepin’ on.

So we celebrate the beginning of our sixth year with a six-pack. Six songs by six artists from their sixth studio LP. The songs had to come from my records, and they had to be vinyl rips.

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“Soolaimon,” Neil Diamond, from “Tap Root Manuscript,” 1970.

One of the first LPs I ever had. Also my introduction to world music. Also for my friend Glick, who has been digging music with me for 40 years.

ccrpendulumlp

“Molina,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, from “Pendulum,” 1970.

I once really dug the “Green River” and “Cosmo’s Factory” LPs. “Pendulum” not so much, but this is a good song. I like the sax. Creedence was one of my faves when I was in my teens and 20s, but I’ve found them almost unlistenable since John Fogerty released “Centerfield” in the mid-’80s. I didn’t like that record and it somehow soured me on Creedence.

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“Back Stabbers,” the O’Jays, from “Back Stabbers,” 1972.

Those of us of a certain age are blessed to have grown up in a time when you heard elegant soul like this on the radio.

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“I’ll Be Coming Home,” the J. Geils Band, from “Nightmares … And Other Tales From The Vinyl Jungle,” 1974.

Not long after starting this blog, I wrote a Complete Idiot’s Guide to the J. Geils Band for the blog that eventually became Popdose. I’m qualified because I have all 14 J. Geils Band LPs. Idiot completist. As I listened to all 14, this struck me as one of their best records. I almost picked “Gettin’ Out,” a keyboard-driven rave-up with a bunch of showy solos, but went instead with this slow groover. It has sort of a Latin beat and features Jay Geils on mandolin and Seth Justman on piano and that slinky organ.

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“Theme From ‘Enter The Dragon’,” Dennis Coffey, from “Instant Coffey,” 1974. (The LP out of print but the song is available digitally.)

Detroit guitar legend Dennis Coffey is one of the artists I’ve rediscovered since starting this blog. I have a bunch of his records now.

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“The Blacker The Berrie,” the Isley Brothers, from “The Brothers: Isley,” 1969. (The LP is out of print. The song isn’t available digitally that I can find.)

Likewise the Isleys, who I somehow knew almost nothing about before starting AM, Then FM. I have a bunch of their records now, too. This cut also is known as “Black Berries.”

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under February 2013, Sounds

Walking into history

We went to Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday to witness the scene on the Capitol Square, where more than 70,000 people — perhaps closer to 100,000 people — took part in a loud but peaceful demonstration of union solidarity.

It came in the wake of the state Republicans’ vote to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights. It capped almost a month of protests.

All along the way on Saturday, it seemed as if we were following in the footsteps of those who had gone before us.

The drive down took us within a couple of miles of the tiny rural cemetery where my great-great-grandparents are buried. William Burgraff arrived in Wisconsin from Germany in the early 1850s and went to work as a barrel maker. Without William’s journey, we don’t make ours.

So many people converged on Madison that we had to park a good distance away from the Square. We found a spot on the east side (not far from the Crystal Corner Bar, if you know Madison), and walked more than a mile downtown.

We walked on the Capital City Trail, an old rail corridor. During World War II and again in the early ’50s, my dad worked on those rails, handling freight on Chicago & North Western passenger trains. During the war, Dad lived in a rooming house (also not far from the Crystal Corner Bar) and walked to work at the depot. Without Dad’s journey, we don’t make ours.

When we reached the Square, we made our way through the sea of people, onto the Capitol grounds and up to the Capitol so my companions — two 16-year-old high school sophomores — could get a better view of the scene. From there, we walked down to Mifflin Street and waded back into the sea of people, walking in the march for one more block. Here is 30 seconds of that experience.

When we reached the corner, I looked down State Street. It seemingly was filled with people all the way down to the University of Wisconsin campus, which sits at its west end. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, antiwar protesters marched from the campus to the Capitol. Without their journey, we don’t make ours.

On a day of continuous rallies started in the morning by the farmers’ tractorcade, the crowd was getting revved up for the biggie, the 3 p.m. union rally.

But our day was almost done. Were it my trip alone, I would have spent a couple of hours soaking in the scene. Given that my companions’ interest didn’t match mine — which I get — we kept it to one trip down State Street and back up to the Capitol, and one lap of the Square.

From a day when the sights were so extraordinary, the sounds will linger. We heard this classic song, its reminder of a class war sadly still timely.

“Fortunate Son,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, from “Willy and the Poor Boys,” 1969.

As we walked away from the Square, we heard this song behind us. Wishful thinking, for obvious reasons.

“Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye,” Steam, from “Steam,” 1969. (The buy link is to a 2003 import CD with seven extra tracks.)

We didn’t hear this one, but for a day on which we walked into history — representing three generations of family members who have included union teachers, union social workers, union railroad workers and a union carpenter — it also seems appropriate.

Both of my grandfathers were union activists who in the 1920s pushed for a 40-hour work week instead of a 48-hour week. They wanted workers to have two days off. Without their journey, we don’t make ours.

“Walk A Mile In My Shoes,” Joe South, from “Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home,” 1969. (The buy link is to a two-fer import CD that includes the “Introspect” LP from 1968. Also available on “Classic Masters: Joe South,” a remastered best-of CD from 2002.)

I also will long remember the sound of the tens of thousands of people at that late-afternoon rally.

We were more than a half-mile from the Square, headed back to the car.

We still could hear the roars.

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Filed under March 2011, Sounds

That ’70s song, Vol. 7

Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the first bands I really dug. Today, I rarely listen to them.

Part of it is having heard it all so many times. I know every note, every line of the good tunes.

Part of it was the realization one day that although Creedence introduced me to swamp rock and roots rock — and I am grateful for that introduction — there are more authentic sources for those kinds of music. Creedence was, after all, four guys from northern California. They weren’t born on the bayou. They just sounded like it.

Few bands were hotter than Creedence in the third week of February 1970. They managed a rare feat, putting both sides of the same single in the Top 10 — the downbeat “Who’ll Stop the Rain” backed with “Travelin’ Band,” a wild rave-up reminiscent of Little Richard.

Apparently a little too reminiscent of Little Richard, whose music publishing company sued Creedence in 1971 for cribbing it from “Good Golly Miss Molly,” which Creedence had covered on its “Bayou Country” LP in 1969. (They settled out of court.)

I was reminded of this not too long ago when Deadspin excerpted Greil Marcus’ story about a memorable episode of “The Dick Cavett Show” during which Little Richard interrupts a bitter sparring match between “Love Story” author Erich Segal and New York critic John Simon.

“WHY, YES, IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF AAAART! THAT’S RIGHT! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! WHAT DO YOU KNOW, MR. CRITIC? WHY, WHEN THE CREEDENCE CLEARWATER PUT OUT WITH THEIR ‘TRAVELIN’ BAND’ EVERYBODY SAY WHEEE-OOO BUT I KNOW IT CAUSE THEY ONLY DOING ‘LONG TALL SALLY’ JUST LIKE THE BEATLES ANDTHESTONESANDTOMJONESANDELVIS!”

From “Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Greil Marcus, 1975.

WHEEE-OOO, indeed. So, did “Travelin’ Band” borrow from “Good Golly Miss Molly”? As always, you be the judge.

“Travelin’ Band,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, from “Cosmo’s Factory,” 1970.

“Good Golly Miss Molly,” Little Richard, 1958, from “Little Richard’s Grooviest 17 Original Hits,” 1968. It’s out of print, but the tune is available digitally or on just about any greatest-hits compilation.

Also worth noting: If you are somehow new to Creedence, or simply wishing to fill the gaps in your collection, you may wish to check out “The Singles Collection,” which was released last November. It has 30 singles from 1968 to 1972. It’s a two-CD box set with a DVD. The set also is available as 15 vinyl singles — reproductions of the original 45s. Either way, they’re the original single mixes, many of them mono.

5 Comments

Filed under February 2010, Sounds

Prodded to post

Confined to quarters after a minor medical procedure (I’m fine, thanks), I decided to spend the afternoon ripping some old albums.

The top shelf was easiest to search for goodies, so — for no apparent reason — I started with my old Creedence Clearwater Revival records.

Creedence was one of my earliest faves, but I long ago grew tired of hearing all their hit singles over and over. These days, I listen to the Creedence tunes less often heard.

Even though I pulled out those old Creedence albums, I had no intention of writing about them today. Until later, that is, after I got caught up on my blog reading. There, on LiveDaily.com, was news that two repackaged Creedence releases go on sale next week. I had no idea.

What Fantasy Records has done on “Creedence Covers the Classics” is pretty much what I did this afternoon: Mined the first five Creedence albums for songs you might dig.

They’ve grabbed all 12 covers from those albums. Well, sort of. You get edited takes on two songs that were long jams on the albums: “Suzie Q” (4:35 vs. 8:00-plus) and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (3:54 vs. almost 11 minutes). Which is a little curious, considering the 12 covers on the new CD run only 40 minutes.

Some of those covers are pretty good. Turns out I ripped seven of them this afternoon. Knowing they’re being re-released in this manner has sapped my enthusiasm for writing anything further about them.

Instead, here are a couple of less-often-heard goodies from Creedence. Both are written by John Fogerty and show his sly sense of humor.

ccrwilly

“It Came Out Of The Sky,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, from “Willy and the Poor Boys,” 1969. In which a UFO lands south of Moline and the Establishment freaks out. Fogerty gleefully sticks it to The Man.

ccrpendulumlp

“Molina,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, from “Pendulum,” 1970. In which the mayor’s daughter is a wild child. That’s Fogerty on electric piano and sax. Don’t be fooled by the false ending, either.

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Filed under May 2009, Sounds