Creedence Clearwater Revival
Willy and the Poor Boys


5.0
classic

Review

by Jimmy USER (5 Reviews)
April 19th, 2006 | 14 replies | 9,356 views


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willy and the Poor Boys
(1969 - #392 on the Rolling Stone 500 greatest albums)

John Fogerty - lead guitar, vocals
Tom Fogerty - rhythm guitar, vocals
Stu Cook - Bass
Doug Clifford - Drums

Creedence Clearwater Revival was a churning out hit song after hit song during the late sixties to the early seventies. Singer and lead guitarist John Fogerty himself said "We try to fill our albums with as many hits as possible," and he wasn't kidding. Willy and the Poor Boys can be seen as an argument FOR filler tracks on albums. Every single one of the ten tracks is strong enough to be a hit single, but obviously some of them ended up being overlooked. The album as a whole is very consistent from track to track. It has a very good flow and is one of CCR's strongest efforts.

Willy and the Poor Boys can be seen as a semi-concept album. The cover of the record shows the members of Creedence playing on a street corner as a jug band. This is the band referred to in the hit single "Down on the Corner." Creedence Clearwater Revival "becomes" Willy and the Poor Boys in a way similar to The Beatles becoming Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The concept is only carried out on two tracks however. On the instrumental track "Poorboy Shuffle," the group proves that they can play the instruments they brandish on the cover. In fact, while they were doing the cover shoot fooling around with their instruments they came up with the song, walked two blocks back to the studio and put it on tape. I'm always impressed when I hear it, especially since I know the washtub bass is not an easy instrument to play.

Creedence Clearwater Revival is probably best known as being a protest band. While they never embraced this label they also never shied away from it. "Fortunate Son" is another hit single off this album and it is also the strongest political song they ever recorded. Many people misinterpret the song as a strong patriotic anthem (a problem exacerbated by a Wrangler Jeans commercial in which the only lyrics played are "Some folks were born, made to raise the flag/Ooh they're red, white and blue," conveniently leaving out the rest of the verse which says "And when the band plays hail to the chief/They point the cannon right at you!") The song is as powerful today as it was then due to the fact that Fogerty did not hold back any punches. Even without a strong political statement Fortunate Son is one of the finest rock and roll songs ever.

"Effigy" is the other politically charged song on the album. It is more downcast and haunting than Fortunate Son is. The main guitar riff has a wonderful surprise that makes me smile every time I hear it. It seems to be a normal chord progression until out of nowhere a louder note gives the riff dissonance. It makes the riff more memorable and fits the mood of the song melodically and lyrically.

Creedence also has a sense of humor which is shown on the track "It Came Out of the Sky." This hilarious song is about a farmer named Jody who witnesses an unidentified flying object crash landing. The event first triggers fear and later greed. The last verse contains the classic lyrics:

"The White House said put the thing in the blue room
The Vatican said no it belongs in Rome
But Jody said it's mine and you can have it for seventeen million"

The album has two covers that were both originally written by Leadbelly. Both "Cotton Fields" and "The Midnight Special" have been transformed into CCR songs but still retain what made the originals strong. John Fogerty overdubbed his vocals several times in both songs to create a chorus sound that greatly adds to the tracks. The songs have a distinct soul sound to them which differentiates them from the other songs on the album.

Also worth noting is the second instrumental on the album, "Side O' the Road." This instrumental showcases John Fogerty on lead guitar. Instead of playing a shred style of guitar that was more popular at the time (think Jimi Hendrix or Alvin Lee), Fogerty plays a no bull shit lead that harkens back to 50's rock and roll. It's a perfect example of CCR's style: not going out of their way to impress you, just writing kick ass songs.

Creedence Clearwater Revival is legendary for the sheer amount of hit songs they produced in their relatively short major label career of four years. Their skill for putting together strong records is usually overlooked. Don't make that mistake. If you love "Fortunate Son" or "Down on the Corner" I guarantee you will love this album. All of CCR's albums are very strong and this one can be singled out as one of their best. That is why it can be recognized as one of the greatest albums of all time with a 5/5 rating.


user ratings (212)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lunch
April 19th 2006



29 Comments


Great review for a great album. CCR play some of the best straight up and simple rock music I've ever heard.

Jimmy
April 19th 2006



717 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I was shocked to see only one CCR album reviewed for this site so far, it was my duty to fix that ;)

robo2448
April 19th 2006



132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a really good album. Fortunate Son is one of the greatest anti-war songs ever written and is just amazing. I could on and on about how amazing it is, but I'll just stop there. The rest of the album is very good but has some filler. None of the songs are bad, but 1 or 2 just seem like the kind of song CCR could have made in their sleep. But the fact that they're "filler" songs are still very good songs shows how talented they were.

Nice review. Your review made me listen to Fortunate Son while I was reading it. It's so short too. The song is so short and direct and just has such a strong statement. Okay I'll stop rambling about Fortunate Son now.

And Effigy is awesome too. I think I'll have to change my rating of this album from 4 to 4.5.This Message Edited On 04.19.06

pattern_recognition
April 20th 2006



950 Comments


Hands down great rock and roll.
Interestingly, Fogarty always tuned his guitar down one whole step, while the rhythm guitarist played in standard E.

Reywas
April 20th 2006



148 Comments


CCR are amazing. I was first introduced to them through Lunch. Now they are one of my favorite late 60's early 70's bands alongside The Mamas And The Papas.

John Paul Harrison
May 5th 2006



1014 Comments


What a fantasitc band. And a good review to match.

Classicrockerman
July 15th 2006



69 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

CCR...IS...BRILLIANT!!!!!

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 11th 2010



14884 Comments


first song is really awesome and fortunate son is great. rest is ok

FearThyEvil9
December 1st 2010



11356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Some folks are born made to wave the flag.

ITsHxCTOASTER
January 14th 2012



2431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So does anyone else really fucking love Cotton Fields?

johnnyblaze
January 14th 2012



2572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

WHEN I WAS A LITTLE BITY BABY MY MOMMA WOULD ROCK ME IN THE CRAAADLE! IN THEM OLD COTTON FIELDS BACK
HOME!!

bro, me and a couple buddies karaokee'd that song a couple months ago. fuckin love that shit.

Digging: The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams

ITsHxCTOASTER
January 14th 2012



2431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album kicks ass. Midnight Special rules too, and of course Down on the Corner and mothafuckin' Fortunate Son

russellgod
July 28th 2012



7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love the whole album, but their version of cotton fields is so amazing. Might like it more than Leadbelly's.

johnnyblaze
July 30th 2012



2572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yeah. fogerty had one of the best voices in classic rock. rules



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