45 Years Ago: Creedence Clearwater Revival Release ‘Bayou Country’
January 1969 announced the big-time arrival of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the unassuming, denim-and-flannel-clad quartet comprised of brothers John and Tom Fogerty and pals Stu Cook and Doug Clifford.
They unveiled their iconic sophomore album, ‘Bayou Country,’ during the early part of 1969, and nothing was ever the same for them. Nobody could have guessed that this was only the first of three historic studio albums the group released that year.
‘Bayou Country’ found CCR shedding much of their 1968 debut album’s remnant psychedelia (salvaged on the distortion-packed closer ‘Keep on Chooglin’’) in order to become an unlikely cornerstone of the southern-rock movement. Not bad for a bunch of northern Californians.
But the South was the spiritual home of frontman John Fogerty’s heart, so there was little doubt that his swampy muse flowered so fully in the deep blues, Americana and other roots-music hallmarks spread over ‘Bayou Country.’
The album’s timeless opening cut, ‘Born on the Bayou,’ sets the tone, floating down lazy, murky waters that eventually wind past the moonshine boogie of ‘Bootleg’ and funeral blues of ‘Graveyard Train’ before arriving at the watershed ‘Proud Mary,’ which reached No. 2.
The song not only broke CCR, it became one of the most covered songs of the era, including a rousing interpretation by R&B great Solomon Burke and Ike & Tina Turner’s epic “nice and rough” recording, which borders on definitive. In a way, ‘Bayou Country’ may be the definitive CCR album from a career, and year, that offered plenty of candidates.
Listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Bayou Country’