Review Summary: They put a spell on Suzie Q, the working man and of the whole Porterville.
During the year when Paul Rodger's Free were (amongst others) defining the rock style and Morisson's Doors were making psychedelia famous, there was a band that was drifting away from the experimentations of the era and focused its attention towards the origins of rock music. John Fogerty's Creedence Clearwater Revival -or CCR- were one of the bands that blended country with southern and blues rock to further develop the sub-genre called swamp rock.
CCR's self-titled debut record can be cited for many things, but originality is not one of these. Opening your debut album with a cover song cannot be thought as a good idea. However, the passionate way that Fogerty and co. deliver ''I Put a Spell on You'', surely has made the soul/R&B legend Screamin' Jay Hawkins feel proud for composing it. Similar feelings would have also surrounded the Louisiana-born Dale Hawkins when he listened his ''Suzie Q'' being extended to 8 minutes to become a top ten hit. The band became even more 'audacious' by taking Wilson Pickett's ''NInety Nine and a Half'' just two years after its release, garnished it with some cowbell hits and some simplistic guitar chords to deliver a southern blues anthem.
But the true magic of this album lies in its simplistic riffs, its captivating melodies and the descriptive lyrical content of working-class heroics of the late 1960s. ''The Working Man'' is a fine example of a song that contains all these elements and indeed introduces you to the world of Fogerty brothers and their music companions at that point in time. A song that regularly gets credit in this record is ''Porterville''. It's groovy rhythm along with the obvious characteristics of psychedelia, match perfectly to the album's southern boogie-style sounds. In contrast, the song that should get the applause -but instead is relatively overlooked- is ''Walk on the Water'', the remake of a recording the band released as a single some time in 1966 while they were known as The Golliwogs. It is so simple and has such a mesmerizing effect in its sound that becomes a favourable amongst the band's catalogue instantly. ''Get Down Woman'' and ''Gloomy'' may not be the most popular songs in the record, however they do not deviate much from the aforementioned picture.
It is such the temptation to refer to this record as a 'classic', but then you think that 3 out 8 tracks are covers. Hell, the Zeppelin did it and yet almost their entire catalogue is ‘classic’. Why not CCR’s debut?