Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Country

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It could be argued that Creedence Clearwater Revival were the greatest American rock & roll band, and one convincing argument would be that no other of their peers had such a commanding grasp on a variety of American music and could synthesize them in such a bracingly original fashion. It's that synthesis that makes a genre-specific compilation like Creedence Country so difficult to pull off -- it's hard to single out one strand from that mix, particularly since CCR didn't so much perform country as absorb its influence. In fact, only a handful of songs could be appropriately classified as "country" -- the slow-crawling opener "Lookin' for a Reason," the peerless lament "Lodi," the similarly heartbroken "Wrote a Song for Everyone," maybe the bouncy "Lookin' Out My Back Door," which can sound like the streets of Bakersfield, and perhaps their driving cover of Leadbelly's "Cotton Fields," which winds up as rock & roll. The rest of it is either flat-out rockabilly, whether it's a cover of "My Baby Left Me" or John Fogerty's "Don't Look Now," or flat-out rock & roll like "Cross-Tie Walker" -- and it's hard to believe that anybody could call the elongated, menacing jam of "Ramble Tamble" country. That said, it's a thoroughly enjoyable listen, since nearly all the music is excellent, but it doesn't really present any insight into the band -- it's just a good mixtape.

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