Things have not been well in Asbo Towers. The capitulation of my turntable’s left channel a metaphor for a communication disconnect so apt as to seem calculated. And yet, it’s true. With increasing self-flagellation the only sensible option in the face of irrelevance, hopelessness and crushed dreams, I sit down, drink(s) in hand, to cue up Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fifth long-player. A warm sense of ease (and relief) washes over me. What a fantastic record: people creating something worthwhile. Would that we were all so lucky. This is why, say, “Hi Ho Silver Lining” is such an abomination: You get to make records and come up with something like that? You should be ashamed. But Cosmo’s Factory is another matter.
The other day some slavering BBC radio music critic ventured, on the death of R. Manzarek, that the Doors were the best American band of the 60s. Now I really like the Doors, but really. As if. At the time, my mind immediately sprung to the Byrds and the Velvet Underground, both of whom exude more elegance than Morrison’s group. After listening to CCR, so generous of spirit and dynamically balanced, I am tempted to revise my list. True, the drummer can be a little stiff backed at times (particularly on the 2/4 sections), but when they’re in the groove, there’s no-one on AM radio to touch them.
In an article about Otis Redding, Jon Landau wrote: “Musicians see themselves in different ways. Some, the rarest, are artists prepared to make any sacrifice to preserve the integrity of their art. Others are poseurs who adopt the artist’s stance without the art, who therefore appeal to the segment of the audience that likes to think of itself as being serious but isn’t. And then there are those performers who see themselves as entertainers: they make no pretense of aiming at any particular artistic standard, but are openly and honestly concerned with pleasing crowds and being successful.” While Landau suggested Redding belonged in the latter camp, I would argue Creedence (at least at their peak) should join him; and, incidentally, without being particularly pejorative, VU and the Doors fitting snugly in the first and second groups respectively.
In conclusion, I recommend all Thrifty Vinyl readers* buy Cosmo’s Factory immediately. And isn’t that cover image perfectly banal?
*Disappointingly and inexplicably, readership is less than half of what it was in January of this year, if WordPress stats are to be believed. Indeed, following a precipitous drop in February, despite best efforts to regain ground, at least initially, you’d have to go back to December 2010 to see such low numbers. All of which, along with the summary abandon-ship of one of the founder writers, has left your correspondent a trifle deflated.