It should be obvious by now that Creedence Clearwater Revival is one great rock and roll band. Cosmo’s Factory, the group’s fifth album, is another good reason why.
Four of the eleven cuts have been on previous hit singles; John Fogerty wrote three of the remaining seven, only one of which, “Ramble Tamble,” is unsatisfying. Apart from prolific writing, Fogerty’s ability to consistently churn out good stuff is largely due to his penchant for rehearsing the band five days a week in a converted warehouse in Berkeley’s industrial section. It’s doubtless because of this that drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford refers to the group’s studio as the factory.
The emphasis is not on modern derivatives but on authentic reproductions of, for example, Roy Orbison’s vintage “Ooby Dooby.” On “My Baby Left Me” the early-Elvis echo-chamber effect and the old Scotty Moore riffs on lead guitar reveal a considerable amount of careful study of the original. Both cuts hold up very well as straight rockabilly.
“Travelin’ Band” qualifies for historical authenticity, even though Fogerty grafts new lyrics onto a modified “Reddy Teddy” melody. He lays down a very credible Little Richard vocal and arrangement, substituting a good tenor shriek for a trademark upper register vibrato. In the absence of machinegun triads on keyboard, he dubs in saxophone—which he now plays.
Besides saxophone, Fogerty is now learning all the other instruments he’s always wanted to play. In addition to lead guitar and vocal on Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” he drops in some fine blues piano riffs but apparently out of modesty keeps them pretty well buried in an easy-going, traditional arrangement. Elsewhere he picks dobro on “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.” Though not geared for a gut-level Creedence treatment, the song is good car music, great for summer and will probably be commercially successful.
“Who’ll Stop the Rain” has the same commercial feel, and amounts to Fogerty’s version of a sizable production number with a somber message delivered at a ballad’s pace.
Fogerty shows equal facility on “Long As I Can See the Light,” a fine composition with more saxophone work and a strong Otis Redding flavor. Released as a single, it could easily end up on soul station play lists, as did “Run Through the Jungle” before it.
It’s another damn good album by a group which is going to be around for a long time.