Chronicle, Vol. 1 contains every one of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s original 19 hit singles — including “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River,” “Down on the Corner,” “Travelin’ Band,” “Up Around the Band,” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” — plus “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which became a hit at the same time this double-record compilation was released.
The critics despised this live recording (poor sound, flat, etc). Since I am not critical (thank God), but a simple listener and -of course- I have another perspective.
Popular but not hip, basic but not shallow, rooted but not retro, Creedence Clearwater Revival distinguished themselves in the late 1960s and early 1970s through these contradictions. This six-disc set is the definitive Creedence collection, offering superbly remastered versions of all of their studio and live albums and adding a disc's worth of pre-Creedence material. The ultimate blue-collar rock band, John Fogerty and CCR found success by wholly giving in to their fascination with the American South (despite hailing from Northern California) and exploring the turf that connected R&B and country–the same turf that their heroes at Sun studios tilled at rock's birth. As the songs on the first disc prove, they hadn't always taken this approach though perhaps they should have: The first four songs from 1961 (by Tommy Fogerty and the Blue Velvets), original compositions in the classic '50s rock & roll style they loved, hold up better than subsequent Golliwogs tracks that attempt to replicate the British Invasion sound in vogue at the time. Still, the Golliwogs tracks offer hints of John Fogerty's menacing growl and biting guitar that would fully blossom later on.
When diving into CCR's entire body of work, many myths dissipate and a more well-rounded view comes into focus: the quintessential singles band that dominated AM radio was also quite an album band, releasing solid records from top to bottom even though half of the songs were saturating radio long before the LP would hit. Also, they weren't quite as far removed from their Bay Area brethren (who were reared on the same roots music) as is often stated, offering a number of long and loose jams that, while not overtly psychedelic, gave them and their fans a chance to stretch out. Without question, though, CCR were the kings of the three-minute rock single, and it's these now-ubiquitous gems–the consummate AM band now dominates FM radio–that will always define them. –Marc Greilsamer
It was stripped down, it rocked and rolled, and amazingly, in an era when pop music grew more complex and seemingly more sophisticated with each passing month, the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival was also enormously popular. The underdogs of rock during the late '60s and early '70s, CCR had a series of consecutive hit singles and albums that may have been out of step with the era's AM radio blandness and pretentious prog-rock but nonetheless spoke directly to fans across the board. With guitarist, vocalist, composer, producer, and resident genius John Fogerty at the helm, the band combined the lean funk of R&B with the grit of the blues and the sweet soul of country, tying it all up with a tough-as-nails rock 'n' roll sound that had a direct lineage from Sun Studio rockabilly and Specialty Records-era Little Richard rave-ups. Creedence cut tunes that got to the point fast and then wrapped them up before they wore out their welcome. In the process they made classic music: "Born on the Bayou," "Proud Mary," "Green River" "Going up Around the Bend," "Fortunate Son," and plenty of others will live as long as rock 'n' roll does. And it all can be found on this comprehensive six-CD box set collecting the band's seven official studio albums (and one live recording) as well as a disc full of fascinating pre-Creedence material that will be an immediate draw to collectors and others already pulled into the CCR universe. But even casual listeners will appreciate the remastered sound, a remarkable sonic improvement over the previously available CDs that puts the band's righteous rockin' right in your face. The roots of the quartet's no-nonsense sound can be heard in the early, previously unreleased material: Within the Motown and British Invasion grooves pulse the economic, ultra-tight rhythm section and Northern California garage rock ethic that would define the band's mature style. The formula that Fogerty later conceived, and that CCR thankfully stuck with through its glory years – 1968 through 1970, covering the albums Creedence Clearwater Revival through Cosmo's Factory (the two final, problematic albums Pendulum and Mardi Gras, can also be examined for revisionist opinions) – still holds it own three decades after the band's dissolution. Creedence's influence may be even more strongly felt today: Try to imagine Americana rock without their grassroots kick as an example. A case can even be made that Creedence may be the most elemental of all American bands. The evidence is right here on this must-have set. The accompanying 72-page booklet features essays from noted music crits Ben Fong-Torres, Dave Marsh, Robert Christgau, and others. Each box is individually numbered, adding to the collectors' value. –Steve Futterman