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"LEAN, CLEAN AND BLUESY"

 

Time Magazine article on Creedence Clearwater Revival
Published in July 1969, at the ROCK section

 

Lean, Clean and Bluesy

Unlike many rock groups today, the Creedence Clearwater Revival is not much interested in talking up a revolution.Its four clean-cut, plaid-shirted members prefer to sing songs about where they came from and about problems among people, not social movements. As performers, they come on with a simple, bluesy, rhythmic, straight- ahead sound. That's not bad. San Francisco-based Creedence is riding the crest of today's strongest pop wave -blues-oriented rock. The group's first single, Susie Q., rose to No. 11 on the Billboard charts last fall. Proud Mary was hit No. 2 in March, and the group's latest single, Bad Moon Rising, rose this week from No.3 to No.2. At recent concert dates, Creedence has been packing the crowds in with its lean, masculine sound, impeccable instrumental style and express-track delivery.

How the boys chose the name for their group tells much about them. Lead Singer John Fogerty, who writes most of their material, got his musical inspiration from Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley records. He learned chords from a Burl Ives songbook. Doug Clifford didn't even know how to play drums when John invited him to join. He converted a pair of old pool cues into drumsticks on a school lathe, bought a snare drum and began practicing. That was a decade ago, when they were 13 and schoolboys in suburban El Cerrito, Calif. With Stu Cook on piano and John's brother Tom on bass guitar, they began as the Blue Velvets, complete with greasy hair, ducktails and matching outfits. Their stuff, as John admits now, was "pure drivel." Then they became The Golliwogs because their manager at the time thought they needed a Beatle-ish name.

 

Always Ashamed

When John came out of the Army in June 1967, they practiced together for six months and pooled their resources. Early last year they were ready for a new career and a new name: Creedence (a blend of creed and credence, indicating their belief in themselves) Clearwater ("Something deep, true and pure, through which the light always shines," says John), and Revival (symbolizing their new direction).

That they play the blues is no accident. John grew up in an atmosphere of constant family fights; when he was nine, his father left home for good. "I was always ashamed," John recalls. "I never brought my friends home. My room was in the basement - cement floor, cement walls. I just grabbed music and withdrew." Some of that anguish comes out in John's song Porterville, which he belts out with a soulful Negroid delivery:

They came and took my dad away,
to serve some time,
But it was me that paid the debt
He left behind.
Folks said I was full of sin
Because 1 was the next of kin.

 

The inspiration for The Working Man came from outside jobs the boys had to take while The band was floundering:

I was born on a Sunday
By Thursday I had me a job
Don't take me On Friday
'Cause that's when I get paid
Let me die on Saturday night
Before Sunday gets my head.

A year ago, they were making only $30 a night from occasional club dates in the Bay Area. These days they get as much as $30,000 a night; all of it goes into a communal kitty. Now and then one of them buys a color TV set, but mostly they are socking away their new wealth and trying not to think too much about it least it give them high-flown ideas. "'I see things through lower-class eyes," says John. "If you sit around and think about all that money, you can never write a song about where you came from."

The photo caption reads

"CREEDENCE AT MANHATTAN'S FILLMORE EAST
The name tells the story"

 

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