For the longest time that I can remember, I’ve been a CCR fan. I love the swamp rock vibe that they exude in most of their songs. However, the song that indelibly sealed the deal for me was 1970’s “Up Around the Bend”. A raw, naturally sounding and upbeat song, “Bend” exemplified everything that I enjoyed about CCR. Besides the “Chronicle” compilation, I had never listened to a CCR album in full. How sad.
Fortunately, that changed earlier last week. I decided to give 1969’s “Willy and the Poor Boys” a listen. That listen gave rise to many (on the order of ten) listens. Simply put, I was blown away by the beauty inherent in this album.
This is a cathartic, earthy masterpiece. From the very beginning of “Down on the Corner” to the very end of “Effigy”, we know we were just treated to something special, that’s for damn sure.
In all candor, this is one of the best rock albums I’ve ever heard. This is chiefly due to the band’s style and Fogerty’s grizzled and commanding vocal deliveries. Forget heavy metal– this is heavy stuff right here.
It was undoubtedly difficult to choose my favorite song on this album. However, I was able to choose the bluesy and hopeful “Midnight Special”. Now, I’ve heard this song once before: Van Morrison’s version off of 1968’s “Blowin’ Your Mind”. CCR’s version is so much better. Fully lived-in and complex, “Midnight Special” is intense and intoxicating. Very few songs can make me groove to it and intoxicate me. Hence, this song is indeed special.
Fogerty starts off the song sounding like a time traveler; that is, like a saddened vagabond teeming with grizzled wisdom and a slight modicum of euphoria. As the song progresses, this element of euphoria translates into ell-encompassing hope. This song has a clear message: despite life’s ongoing downs, seek the ups and let the earth’s light shine abundantly on you. Such an uplifting song, and a song that, simply put, kicks a whole lot of ass. It’s an intense thrill ride.
Ahh, that’s a great way to sum up the entirety of this album. From start to finish, “Willy” kicks some serious ass: it grooves, rocks, but never falters.
Out of all the CCR albums I’ve listened to (on the order of 3-4), this is my favorite. I love this album, and, as such, it’s a desert island masterpiece!
My Grade: A+