Sunday, September 28, 2014

LP of the Week - "Willy and the Poorboys" (1969)

"Willy and the Poorboys" was the THIRD album released by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969.  Just wrap your head around that fact for a while.  Nowadays, artists that release an album a year (and frankly I can't think of any, off the top of my head) are called "prolific."  But Creedence wasn't like any other band, and back around that time they enjoyed one of the most artistically fruitful 24 months (or so) that a band has ever had.

The album clocks in at an economical 34 minutes, and it's really more like 29 since "Poorboy Shuffle" and "Side o' the Road" are not much more than filler.  But it makes the most of that half hour, featuring four bonafide rock classics ("Down on the Corner," "Fortunate Son," "Don't Look Now (It Ain't You or Me)," and "It Came Out of the Sky") two classic covers ("Cotton Fields" and "The Midnight Special") and two side closers that prove that Fogerty could stretch it out a bit and still stay true to the Creedence sound ("Feelin' Blue" and "Effigy").  Add it all up together, and it's an album that richly deserves its status as one of the all-time greats.

Some quick fun facts:

- I got the album for my birthday when I was in fifth grade.

- My youngest brother (who was four years old at the time) loved "Down on the Corner," and liked to listen to it on my transistor radio with the single earplug stuck in his ear.  If my parents knew how loud he liked it, I doubt they would have been very happy.

The only perfect Creedence albums are the two "Chronicle" collections, but it's a fair statement to say that they never released a bad one and came through with at least three enduring classics.  "Willy and the Poor Boys" is one of them.

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