Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (1970): Review

Produced by John Fogerty
Label – Fantasy

“Cosmo’s Factory” introduced the hardest working rock group to the new decade with more chart success, increased critical admiration and a genuine claim that the four piece had taken the baton from the recently split Beatles as the world’s biggest band. An incredible five original albums in less than two years, countless successful singles and a continuous road trip conquering towns and cities (particularly in their homeland); there seemed no stopping John Fogerty and his three cohorts from yet another chart smash with an album titled in mock celebration of the smoke filled industrial unit converted to a rehearsal room they had used to bang out demo’s and pre tour practice.

Many regard the album as the quintessential Creedence Clearwater Revival recording, and given that six of the eleven songs would feature as top five A and B side Billboard hits it’s difficult to argue against its value. The creative backdrop is largely familiar, with the band thumping out their trusted mix of murky swamp rock with a careful detail to pop melodies all filtered through tight musicianship and Fogerty’s rasping vocal. There are less original compositions than any previous release and the choice of covers vary significantly in quality, leaving Fogerty’s self penned songs as the highlights. These include the superb, distinctive anti war numbers. “Run through the Jungle” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain” which remind the listener of the home grown animosity towards the U.S. for its participation in the Vietnam conflict. The former musically highlights the lurking gloom that CCR so frequently conveyed with unerring precision whilst the latter is a folksy pop song that bears a resemblance to Neil Young material from the same period.

The opener, “Ramble Tamble” is a rip roaring jam with an outstanding middle section instrumental. “Up Around The Bend” is a classic radio hit, filled with Fogerty’s signature guitar licks and clever multi tracked vocals on the chorus. Many cite the 11 minute cover of the classic Tamla Motown hit “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” as the definitive recording. It is an honest and authentic rework that quite frankly should have been cut by at least five minutes to create the lasting resonance the band obviously intended. “Before You Accuse Me” is a very average re-interpretation of the Bo Diddley original classic blues number, whilst Roy Orbison’s “Ooby Dooby” is a rare moment of throwaway nonsense that shouldn’t have been considered for inclusion with this collection.

Whilst “Cosmo’s Factory” is still a fine addition to previous recordings, one gets the distinct impression that the exhaustive rise of CCR to be one of rock’s elite recording groups over an incredibly short period was beginning to unravel, and the noticeable absence of original material and the well documented tensions that were growing between John Fogerty and his fellow musicians make this far from the magnificent performance most rock critics will have you believe.

7/10

1 – Ramble Tamble 8
2 – Before You Accuse Me 6
3 – Travelin’ Band 7
4 – Ooby Dooby 5
5 – Lookin’ Out My Back Door 7
6 – Run Through The Jungle 8
7 – Up Around The Bend 8
8 – My Baby Left Me 7
9 – Who’ll Stop The Rain 8
10 – I Heard It Through The Grapevine 7
11 – Long As I Can See The Light 7

Travellin’ Band

Run Through The Jungle

Looking Out My Back Door

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