Creedence Clearwater Revival

Born on the Bayou

Composed by John Fogerty

Song Review by

For a guy who was born and raised in Northern California, John Fogerty has long had a potent infatuation with the sounds and images of the deep South, and if the Louisiana swamp water that dominated so many of his songs was mostly a product of his imagination, that doesn't make it seem any less vivid, or any less powerful, within the context of his work. "Born on the Bayou" was the first song on Creedence Clearwater Revival's second album, Bayou Country, and as the opening wash of feedback, buzzing like a cicada, gave way to the slow throb of Fogerty's reverb-soaked guitar, the music seemed to immediately carry the listener to a place most rock & roll of the period didn't dare to go. At a time when most rock musicians (and the youth culture in general) were becoming increasingly uneasy with many traditional aspects of American culture, Fogerty embraced a mythic version of the American South that was both troubling and compelling, and "Born on the Bayou" offered a taste of life in Cajun country which was dark and forbidding, but also fascinating and not without its rewards. In a world where many young people felt like outsiders in their own country, Fogerty painted a picture of a place in America where father and son stood in opposition to "the man," determined to make what they could of their lives along the waterline with its attendant dangers and beauties, and if our narrator sometimes wished he could hop a train to New Orleans, he was just as likely to daydream of making his way back home and "rollin' with some Cajun queen." The steady, insistent pulse of "Born on the Bayou" is as unstoppable as the flow of the river, with Doug Clifford's percussion lending a simple but demanding rhythm that meshed perfectly with the casual resonance of John Fogerty and Tom Fogerty's guitars, and the raspy growl of John's voice marries the strength of a young man with the hard-won wisdom of his father. "Born on the Bayou was an ambitious start to an ambitious album and it set the stage almost perfectly for John Fogerty's rich journey into the heart of the American Southern myth.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bayou Country 1969 Fantasy 5:13
Max Weinberg Presents: Let There Be Drums, Vol. 2 - The 60's 196?
Various Artists
Rhino 5:13
Creedence Gold 1972 Universal 5:14
Live in Europe 1973 Concord / Fantasy 5:10
Hot Stuff 1977 Universal 5:15
The Concert 1980 Universal Music 5:14
No Image 1981 Fantasy
No Image 1982 Fantasy
Chronicle, Vol. 2 1986 Fantasy 5:15
The  Complete Hit-Album, Vol. 2 1987 Arcade Music
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Time Life] 198? Fantasy 5:14
Bad Moon Rising 1990 Fantasy
Creedence Clearwater Revival: 1968/1969 1991 Fantasy
The Legends Collection 1993 Eastwest 5:15
The Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival [Fantasy Canada] 1998 Fantasy 5:10
Ultimate Collection 1998 Mushroom Records 5:19
The Waterboy 1998
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 5:15
No Image 1998 JVC Compact Discs
Collection 1999 Fantasy 5:03
Keep on Chooglin' [Festival] 1999 Festival Records 5:17
At the Movies 1999 Fantasy 5:15
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Box Set] 2001 Fantasy 5:15
Platinum 2004 BMG International 5:17
Really the Best 2005 ZYX Music
Greatest Hits [2005] 2005 Rock 5:15
No Image 2005 ZYX Music 5:16
Absolute Originals 2006 APO (Analogue Production Originals) 5:16
Rock Legends 2008 Concord Neu 5:16
Best Of 2008 Concord 5:15
Collected 2008 Universal Distribution 5:15
No Image 2008 Universal 5:14
40th Anniversary Editions Box Set 2009 Universal Distribution / Concord/Universal / Fantasy 5:58
The Singles Collection 2009 Concord 3:50
Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics 2012 Concord 4:44
No Image 2013 Spectrum Music
No Image Fantasy 5:16
No Image Phantom
La Légende de Creedence Fantasy 5:14
blue highlight denotes editor's pick