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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Puff It Up with Pendulum by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:15 PM

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Listen to this while high: Pendulum by Creedence Clearwater Revival

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Behind the buzz: This clutch of untelegenic megabuck hippies was supposedly outselling the Beatles as the '60s crumbled into the '70s. This second CCR album of 1970 is typically regarded as psychedelic as these country boys ever got, but that's only because of the horns and general conceptual disjointedness. There's little evident desire to frame a West Coast Sgt. Pepper, as Spirit did with the epochal Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, released the month before; and it was Jim Morrison, not John Fogerty, who wailed of blood in the streets that year. So, in advance of plunking down bookoo bux this Saturday for Creedence Clearwater Revisited at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga (one hell of a long drive from the Mission), wallow awhile in the glories of the original band's weirdest record.

Today's dope: A fierce indica named Dollatella, house strain of a west L.A. dispensary of like name. Like firing a three-stage bomb in your brain.


Fogerty's fog machine: "Pagan Baby" is a bent-sideways swamp rocker not dissimilar to what MC5, Flamin' Groovies, and the rest of the rock underground were doing at the same time. What makes it Creedence is the meticulous tightness of playing and John Fogerty's carny-bark vocals guiding the way through the gorgeous second-growth murk. "Sailor's Lament" is a fumbled stylistic quick-change of the kind the Monkees could do on a dime, but "Chameleon" is one of CCR's great underrated tunes, a bluesy imprecation at hypocrites to put alongside "Fortunate Son." The chewy Stax-esque horns Fogerty insisted upon really pay off here, but "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" doesn't need it. "(Wish I Could) Hideaway" is almost as iconic; a dead-man-walking blues to shiver the flesh. "Born to Move" is forgettable boogie, but "Hey Tonight" will likely be remembered for as long humanity decides it's party time. One reflexively reaches for the Dollatella for a celebratory toke, and that's when things go sideways. "It's Just a Thought" slips by like a zephyr, but "Molina" is a gale-force blast of the band in its finest retro form, throwing down like a redneck version of the Dovells or Jerry Lee. The fakeroo ending comes as a gentle reminder of what year this came out. The freeform freakout of "Rude Awakening No. 2" starts off harmlessly enough before an aural chasm opens beneath your chair, and it's a long drop through shoals and shards of musique concrete before a series of Lennonesque discords fade out to general blinking and WTF sounds.

Psychoactive verdict: Don't let rock crit consensus steer you amiss -- this is one of the great classic rock albums and a stoner wonderamaland.

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Ron Garmon

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