From a cover of “Proud Mary” to the original creator, we come back to Creedence Clearwater Revival today for their album “Cosmo’s Factory”. This album, which is rated #413 by Rolling Stone on their Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, is a hit factory, and despite what I said earlier about the #193 rated “Willy and the Poor Boys” album, this is probably their finest hour as a band. And sadly, not unlike Simon and Garfunkel and the Beatles, this triumph comes just a few months ahead of the pending initial dissolution of CCR. John Fogerty’s strong personality and demanding ways became too much for all involved, to the point even his own brother Tom left the band before the end of 1970.
That small fact aside, this album is fantastic. Like most, it has a few items I could nitpick about. I think the opener, “Ramble Tamble” rambles just a bit too much, and I could say the same about the extended run out of their version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, most of the rest of this album is stellar. Starting off with the Little Richard-esque “Travelin’ Band”, we hit one familiar song after another, each a CCR classic. “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”, “Run Through The Jungle”, “Up Around The Bend”, “Who’ll Stop The Rain”, and the above-mentioned “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, this almost sounds like a greatest hits compilation. It is no surprise this album was a massive and enduring success for the band. They even do an altered take on the Elvis Presley song “That’s Alright, Mama”, reworking the title and lyrics (while still assigning proper songwriting credit to Arthur Crudup) into “My Baby Left Me”. They also pay proper tribute to the blues with Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me”.
There is just so much to like here. We could debate the relative merits of this album versus “Willy and the Poor Boys”… or we could just listen to both and make it a CCR kind of day. It is unfortunate they have never found a way to properly reconcile professionally or personally, but sadly that is how some great relationships and partnerships end. No matter, this band left a permanent impact on the American rock and roll world, and the world at large.