Tuesday, August 12, 2014

green river

Creedence Clearwater Revival found success overflowin' with the sinister smould'rin' shadows of these syrupy bad moon barefoot blues.  Following on the commercial breakthrough of their second album 'Bayou Country' and the classic single 'Proud Mary', the band went back into the studio to crank out their next album.  

John Fogerty remembers:  "After Bayou Country, I began to feel I had the freedom or power to do what I wanted. And where I went, starting with “Bad Moon Rising”, was right to my emotional, musical core, which was very resonant of Sun Records. “Green River” was my favourite song from the Creedence era, because it really had the whole Sun Records vibe to me – and the album, too. The barefoot boy with a cane pole down by the river – it seemed to have that feel all over that album. My own personality really came to the fore. When I was 7, 8 years old, I started collecting titles, and “Green River” came from sitting at the counter at the drugstore a block-and-a-half from my house in El Cerrito. They served soft drinks, and behind the counter was a big bottle of Green River, which was a syrup. On the label there was this artist’s rendering of a sunset behind a little creek. I said, “‘Green River’… that’d be a cool song. Someday I should grow up and write it.      “Green River” was a true place. It just seemed very Southern in nature, although it happened to be a place in Northern California. It was where my parents took the family on summer vacation, a two-room cabin. The creek, Putah Creek, was no more than 15 or 20 feet from the back door, and there was a rope hangin’ from the tree. I discovered pollywogs the first time I went underwater. It was quite a strong memory. Here, nearly 60 years later, it’s still quite a strong memory of… I don’t know… discovery, independence."

'Green River' was produced by John Fogerty at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco, California and features Doug Clifford on drums;  Stu Cook on bass guitar;  John Fogerty on lead guitar, lead vocals, and arrangements;  and Tom Fogerty on rhythm guitar and backing vocals. 

'Green River'  became an even bigger hit than 'Bayou Country', going to number forty-six in Japan, twenty in the UK, nineteen in Finland, eleven in Germany, five in Norway, two in Canada, and taking them for the first time to the top of the charts in the US. 

John Fogerty considers:  "Oh yeah, [there have been all sorts of people convinced I was born and raised in Louisiana] even in the old days. I had guys my age that I've met in the Eighties or Nineties who are musicians and folks from there. They go, "Yeah he's up by Lake Charles. No he's down by Thibodaux." And so the myth carried on through the years just because I mentioned so many local or colloquial places in the songs. What really happened is that I used a setting like New Orleans, but I would actually be talking about thing from my own life. Certainly a song like "Green River" – which you may think would fit seamlessly into the Bayou vibe, but it's actually about the Green River, as I named it – it was actually called Putah Creek by Winters, California. It wasn't called Green River, but in my mind I always sort of called it Green River. All those little anecdotes are part of my childhood, those are things that happened to me actually, I just wrote about them and the audience shifted at the time and place."



'Bad Moon Rising' duplicated the success of 'Proud Mary', going platinum and charting at number ten in the Netherlands; eight in Austria and Germany; five in Canada; four in Belgium; three in Australia, Norway, and Sweden; two in the US; and their only number one single in the UK.  John says:  “Proud Mary” and Bayou Country were in the US Top 10 by February [of 1969], so I knew we needed another single. It was in my mind, at least, to compete with The Beatles.  I had the phrase “Bad Moon Rising” written down in my song-title book. I thought back from that to an old movie I’d seen called The Devil And Daniel Webster. It’s about this man who sells his soul to the devil to have greater rewards here in this life, and one night there was this terrible hurricane, and the man is cowering in his barn. In the morning, he looks over at his neighbour’s yard, and all the corn is just squashed down, and everything’s totally destroyed. And, right at the fence line, where his property is, the corn is standing straight up, peaceful and untouched. That just seemed so spooky, the idea of an epochal force –nature, or the devil, or whatever – that’s gonna get you.   Later, people began to point out, “Hey, John, you’ve got this song about death and doom, but it’s this bouncy little thing.” And I’d go, “I just didn’t worry about that part.” The scariness of the words seemed to be telling enough; the cool music was gonna put it across. When you’re a very tuned-in young person, you’re tied to everything that affects your generation. So I think [that some social commentary] was in there..."


I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see those bad times today.

Don't go around tonight,
Well it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes a blowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

Well don't go around tonight,
Well it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we're in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye.

Well don't go around tonight,
Well it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

Don't come around tonight,
Well it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.


The single for 'Green River' was certified gold, charting its way to number nineteen in the UK; ten in Sweden,;eight in Germany; six in Australia; five in Austria, Belgium, and Canada; and number two in the US.  

Well, take me back down where cool water flows, yeah
Let me remember things I love
Stoppin' at the log where catfish bite
Walkin' along the river road at night
Barefoot girls dancin' in the moonlight

I can hear the bullfrog callin' me
Wonder if my rope's still hangin' to the tree
Love to kick my feet way down the shallow water
Shoefly, dragonfly, get back to your mother
Pick up a flat rock, skip it across Green River

Up at Cody's camp I spent my days, oh
With flat car riders and cross-tie walkers
Old Cody, Junior took me over
Said, "You're gonna find the world is smould'rin'
And if you get lost come on home to Green River"

Come on home

'Green River' 
full album:

Side one
1. "Green River"   2:36
2. "Commotion"   2:44
3. "Tombstone Shadow"   3:39
4. "Wrote a Song for Everyone"   4:57
Side two
1. "Bad Moon Rising"   2:21
2. "Lodi"   3:13
3. "Cross-Tie Walker"   3:20
4. "Sinister Purpose"   3:23
5. "The Night Time Is the Right Time" (Napoleon "Nappy" Brown, Ozzie Cadena, Lew Herman) 3:09

interview on American Bandstand


Broken Spoke Shuffle from test sessions

Glory Be from test sessions

No comments:

Post a Comment