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CCR Mardi Gras Album

 

Seventh and final Creedence Clearwater Revival LP,  released 1972 by Fantasy Records on the Fantasy Label [Fantasy Stereo 9404.]. Was CCR album as a trio -minus Tom Fogerty, former rhythm guitar. Released in between major world tours. Two Singles, 'Sweet Hitch-Hicker/Door to Door' released in July 1971, eleventh single; and last single released 'Someday Never Comes/Tearin' Up The Country' in March 1972.

Creedence disbanded shortly thereafter.

 

Mardi Gras Front
Mardi Gras,
Front

 

 

 

Produced and Arranged by Creedence: John Fogerty, Stu Cook, Doug Clifford.
Engineer - Russ Gary
Art Direction & Design - Tony Lane
Back  Photo - Bob Fogerty

 

Mardi Gras Songlist
SONGLIST

Mardi Gras Front

SIDE ONE

1- Lookin' For A Reason [John Fogerty] (3:25)
2- Take It Like a Friend [Stu Cook] (2:58)
3- Need Someone To Hold [Clifford-Cook] (2:59)
4- Tearin' Up The Country [Doug Clifford] (2:13)
5- Someday Never Comes [John Fogerty] (3:59)

SIDE TWO

1- What Are You Gonna Do [Doug Clifford] (2:51)
2- Sail Away [Stu Cook] (2:25)
3- Hello Mary Lou [Pitney-Mangiaracina] (2:11)
4- Door to Door [Stu Cook] (2:07)
5- Sweet Hitch-Hiker [John Fogerty] (2:56)

Mardi Gras Front


THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT THIS ALBUM
[and Creedence Break-Up]

by Javier Diaz (a personal point of view)

Never hidden but perhaps not always in sight, not everyone necessarily knows the real facts behind the production and release of Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1972 last album Mardi Gras and the ensuing blow-up of the band.

The common knowledge has it that after rhythm guitar Tom Fogerty left the group in 1971 allegedly because his brother John wasn't ready to allot him more musical responsibilities nor would he let the band perform Tom's songs, bass player Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford had staged a palace coup and forced John Fogerty to split songwriting and singing duties with them in Creedence next LP 'Mardi Gras'. Further, Cook and Clifford haved been accused since of provoking the following break-up of the band because of the poor results yielded by the new formula. This doesn't s seem to have been the case.

No latter than in 1978 the much respected "THE ILLUSTRATED NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ROCK" compiled by Nick Logan and Bob Woffinden (1) wrote:

"Following successful single, Sweet Hitch-Hiker, came the group's final album, Mardi Gras, maliciously referred to as Fogerty's Revenge, because he did evenly distribute creative functions between three group members, and result was perhaps worst album ever recorded by a top-league band."

But not everybody reads music encyclopedias, so the bad legend and the ill-feeling of most fans against Cook-Clifford for what has been longtime perceived as their undue imposition on the natural CCR leader has endured.

Stu Cook aknowledges that John Fogerty "wrote all the melodies and lyrics to the CCR originals", but it's no less true that "the actual parts played on the [CCR] records are the result of all members contributions in varying degrees on each song." (2)

To John Fogerty the seed for the band's destruction was present since the beginning. In early 1993 he told Rolling Stone Magazine: "in making the second album, Bayou Country, we had a real confrontation. Everybody wanted to sing, arrange, write, make up their own arrangements, whatever. I basically said, 'this band is going to make the best record it can make, and that means I'm going to do things the way I want to do them'. That sounds very egotistical, but that's what happened, and the other three guys had to swallow and go. For the next two years it worked great, and then at some point they didn't want to swallow and say, 'That's nice' anymore."(3)

Fogerty has hinted that the other guys in Creedence forced his hand in Mardi Gras:
"Rolling Stone: Why did you ultimately give in?
"John Fogerty: I gave in' cause I got tired, and that's what they wanted. Even though I thought I was wrong."
(4)

Bass player Stu Cook sees things differently. It is true that Tom Fogerty wanted a more straightaway involvement in the band's music and couldn't get it from frontman John Fogerty -something he clearly proved when he quit for a solo career. "Tom wanted artistic input. He was the original lead singer, and the band had reached a level of success where it certainly would have been possible for John to let Tom present material for consideration, either as singer or writer. John refused."(6)- And it is true too, that the remaining members wanted more involvement in the band too. But "we didn't want to sing lead vocals or write the songs" says Stu Cook. "We were already making uncredited contributions to the actual arrangements, and continued to do so." Finally, the guys looked for an increased part in the management of the band, something understandable enough in the light of what was to be the Castle Bank in Nassau fiasco (5): "I told John I wanted the band's business run like a business." Stu Cook has a degree in Business Management. "Doug backed me".

  After Pendulum release and Tom's exit, John Fogerty laid the new rules to his band mates: from then on, all three should contribute equal parts to the upcoming album, meaning songwriting and singing. This one sided decision didn't go down easily with Cook and Clifford. The two made clear that they thought it bad for the band and opposed the move. Fogerty stated that his was a take-it or leave-it thing and that if the others didn't go along he was quitting. Feeling devoid of a clear-cut alternative, the drummer and the bass player complied.

The result was Mardi Gras, surely an album not quite to Creedence's standards. It features ten songs, three by John Fogerty -Lookin' for a Reason; Someday Never Comes; and Sweet Hitch-Hiker-, three by Stu Cook -Take it Like a Friend; Sail Away; and Door to Door-, and two by Doug Clifford -Tearin'Up The Country; What are you Gonna Do-, his third being co-written with Stu Cook. The tenth song in the album is a cover of Hello Mary Lou, a country tune heralding the direction John Fogerty would take in his 1973 solo production THE BLUE RIDGE RANGERS.

 

And was there sharing of duties in Mardi Gras indeed! John Fogerty, who refused to sing on the other songs claiming his voice was his unique talent for his tunes only, sang just on his three compositions plus Hello Mary Lou, while Stu Cook did the same on his three and Doug Clifford on his own plus "Take it Like a Friend". Rumor has it that much of the guitar and keyboard work on Cook and Clifford songs were done by Stu Cook.

After all that the band's demise was a matter of months. While on their 1972 Australia Tour it was reported that "John [Fogerty] was seen while practicing the Pedal Steel guitar in his hotel room or singing the vocals of California Blues" or "Working on a Building."(7)- Those same two songs showed up in the The Blue Ridge Rangers, John Fogerty's first solo album released the year after Creedence officially disbanded.

In the end, John Fogerty has let it be understood that he had to bow to the other guys pressure while Cook and Clifford have taken the blame for the dire consequences. Stu Cook has said that he and Doug Clifford chose over the years to remain silent on this issue since addressing it " would damage the memory of CCR if we ended up in a public pissing contest (Lennon/McCartney feud)."(8) - What remains open for speculation is what would have happened if Cook and Clifford had just rejected flat Fogerty's proposal. And what about John Fogerty's real assesment of the situation and his real intentions if any?Did he realize that with his new policy he was in fact giving CCR a first class burial? Did he really want it?

For sure we'll never know.

[The full John Fogerty's version of the Creedence breakup is detailed at his Website.]

 

Notes

  1. Salamander Books, London, 1976-1977 [1978 Edition] pg. 61.-
  2. Stu Cook - The River-Rising Mail List, 1997
  3. John Fogerty Rolling Stone Interview, Rolling Stone Magazine Issue 649 Feb. 4to, 1993, pg. 77.- The full Interview is at this River-Rising Web.
  4. John Fogerty Rolling Stone Interview, Rolling Stone Magazine Issue 649 Feb. 4th, 1993, pg. 77.- The full Interview is at this River-Rising Web.
  5. The members of Creedence lost their money following a bad financial deal recommended by Fantasy's attorneys. The full story is chronicled at this River Web. By Graham Niven.
  6. Stu Cook - The River-Rising Mail List, 1997.-
  7. Creedence Clearwater Revival Fan Club Magazine, published by Peter Koers, Issue Nš 44, pg. 6.-
  8. Stu Cook - The River-Rising Mail List, 1997.-

 

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