A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
It’s unlikely you will be demonstrating your system with this record, but you may find yourself enjoying the hell out of it for what it is — an early example of Roots Rock that still holds up today.
I Put a Spell on You
The Working Man
Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)
Get Down Woman
Walk on the Water
Released in the summer of 1968 — a year after the summer of love, but still in the thick of the Age of Aquarius – Creedence Clearwater Revival’s self-titled debut album was gloriously out-of-step with the times, teeming with John Fogerty’s Americana fascinations. While many of Fogerty’s obsessions and CCR’s signatures are in place — weird blues (“I Put a Spell on You”), Stax R&B (Wilson Pickett’s “Ninety-Nine and a Half”), rockabilly (“Susie Q”), winding instrumental interplay, the swamp sound, and songs for “The Working Man” — the band was still finding their way. Out of all their records (discounting Mardi Gras), this is the one that sounds the most like its era, thanks to the wordless vocal harmonies toward the end of “Susie Q,” the backward guitars on “Gloomy,” and the directionless, awkward jamming that concludes “Walking on the Water.” Still, the band’s sound is vibrant, with gutsy arrangements that borrow equally from Sun, Stax, and the swamp.
We Shootout Cosmo’s Factory
[Note that we have not played the Heavy Vinyl pressing of CCR’s first album. Having heard AP’s Cosmo’s Factory we have no intention of playing any CCR title on that label. We’re assuming, rightfully or otherwise, that the AP versions will not be to our liking. Ultimately we guarantee that our Hot Stampers will beat any pressing you may have, including, perhaps especially, any of those by Analogue Productions.]
Our story begins: Years ago a customer sent me his copy of the Analogue Productions LP (mastered by Hoffman and Gray) in order to carry out a little shootout I had planned among the five copies I could pull together: two MoFi’s, the Fantasy ORC reissue, a blue label original, the AP, and another reissue.
Let’s just say there were no real winners, but there sure were some losers.
My take on the Hoffman version is simply this: it has virtually no trace of TUBEY ANALOG MAGIC. None to speak of anyway. It sounds like a clean, tonally correct but fairly bass-shy CD. No pressing I played managed to be so tonally correct and so boring at the same time. The MoFi has some funny EQ colorations, the kind that bug the hell out of me on 98% of their crappy catalog, but at least it sounds like analog. It’s warm, rich and sweet. The AP copy has none of those qualities.
This is simply more pointless 180g sound, to my ear anyway. I couldn’t sit through it with a gun to my head.
It’s an all-but-IMPOSSIBLE record to find with good sound. It’s shocking how bad most of the original blue label pressings are. No top, no bass and hard mids — not exactly a recipe for audiophile happiness. The ORC (Original Rock Classics) Fantasy reissues we’ve played are usually a joke as well; there’s not a whole lot above 6k on most of those pressings and the bass is hollow.
Bottom line: You would need a LOT of vintage tubes in your system to get the AP record to sound right, and then everything else in your collection would sound wrong.