Wily Bo Walker and Danny Flam AIN’T NO MAN A GOOD MAN (Deluxe Edition)

Wily Bo Walker and Danny Flam
AIN’T NO MAN A GOOD MAN (Deluxe Edition)

Taking British R&B to a Whole New Swampy and Rapscallion Level.

I can’t keep up date with Wily Bo Walker’s musical releases. Sometimes they are brand new songs and others remixes and AIN’T NO MAN A GOOD MAN (Deluxe Edition) is a wonderful hybrid of the two; with album #1 being all new songs featuring Wily Bo and the Danny Flam Big Band while album #2 is full of yet more re-mixes of Mr Walkers recent songs put through the veritable musical mixer.
So, let’s start with the new stuff; which is why you will be parting with your hard earned pocket money.
The title track Ain’t No Man a Good Man storms out of the speakers and not just grabs you by the throat; but shakes you to the core and hardly leaving you able to breathe.
Walker’s expressive and rasping vocals are marched perfectly by Danny Flam’s Big Band and perhaps it takes such a big sound to bring out the best in not just his words, but Walker’s vocal enthusings too ……. as he ain’t sounded much better than this!
The themes here are not just very cinematic but timeless and full of raw energy, none more so than the swinging R&B of Velvet Windows (Treme Trippin’) which fair rattled the office window when turned up to 9.
When you hear songs like Fool For You (2020 Hindsight) and Ain’t Hungry No More you will wonder why the grave voiced Wily Bo and the majestic Danny Flam Big Band don’t have their own Saturday night TV Show; but sometimes we like to keep some things a secret, don’t we?
It’s far too obvious to compare this album to Dr. John’s output; but there certainly is plenty of Gris Gris in Did I Forget (to tell you I love you?) and Time to Forget You; but to these ears, there’s more than a smidgen of Georgie Fame and Zoot Money in their too; making this British R&B on steroids!
If you even vaguely like Van Morrison’s Big Band excursions, you will simply love Wily Bo’s sultry and storming version of St. James’ Infirmary Blues to death!
Album #1 closes with an amazing reinvention of Build My Gallows (Ain’t No Return) and on any other album this dark and brooding five minutes would easily be my Favourite Track, but …….. there’s the enigmatic Night of The Hunter which is most obviously thematically linked to the film of the same name; and certainly lives up to its Film Noir credentials too.
Historically I’m not re-disposed to re-mixes of songs; but here I can’t urge you strongly enough to buy the Deluxe Version or else you will miss out on hearing I Want To Know (NY Funk Mix) and When the Angels Call Your Name (Bourbon Street Mix) as both sizzle like a bloody steak on a red hot BBQ.
Drive (Two Lane Blacktop Mix) and Walk In Chinese Footsteps both deserve a courteous mention too; with the latter making me hunt out my old Was Not Was 12″ singles for the first time in years.
I’ve always loved Bo Diddley; but never imagined someone could re-imagine Who Do You Love? in the way Wily Bo does with his NYC Chiller Mix; but it’s truly amazing ……… think of it as a Michael Jackson/Tom Waits mash-up featuring Miles Davis and the Meters then mixed by Aaron Neville!
Then; last but not least there is the majestic For The Children which I don’t believe I’ve heard before in any guise; but have fallen head over heals in love with.
There you have it, Wily Bo Walker (and friends) have come right out of left field to deliver not just one; but two stunning new albums that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Released 31st July 2020

Waylon Thibodeaux HERE WE GO AGAIN

Waylon Thibodeaux
Rabadash Records

South Louisiana Swamp Rock With Some Bodacious Fiddle Playing.

I don’t know if this is going to be ‘thing’ in 2020 but this album is the second one of the year claiming to be ‘the sound of South Louisiana’ and while both are as disparate as is possible; both have the same ‘Musical Gumbo’ at their hearts,
The title track Here We Go Again opens proceedings, and the hirsute Louisiana fiddle player extraordinaire and singer throws down a marker that shows he means business. For the uninitiated (like me) this song; and the rest that follow is a veritable musical hybrid that sounds a bit Charlie Daniels Band, a bit ZZ Top and a big bit Bob Wills all with a sprinkling of Dr John and eventually filtered through the Meters!
While the lyrics can be a bit edgy and topical; Thibodeaux certainly knows how to show us a good time on Fail, Fail, Fail and Way Down South; both of which will have you swiggin’ your beer down so you can get on the dancefloor.
While I can sense that there is a Bluesy core to I’m Stuck With The Blues Again and Our Life’s another Blues Song; it would have to be the type of Blues you hear; or ‘dream of hearing’ on Beale Street or Bourbon Street when the covers bands have gone home.
It appears that Waylon Thibodeaux has been around for a good few years now; and that comes across in not just the professionalism that oozes out of every groove and line; but in the way he is making music that appeals to him and not the guys in grey suits that determine what gets played on the radio; not that these songs don’t deserve airplay ….. they do; and that’s the problem.
Even this early in the year I can get a bit jaded by playing albums that are formulaic; but this album is the antidote!
How can anyone not tap their toes to Riverboat song and smile when the fiddle emulates the steamboat whistle? And it’s not too shabby a love song either.
Speaking of which When Love Comes Back is an absolute sizzler of a Southern Rock love song; and will have crowds of all sizes dancing and waving their arms in the air whenever they play it live.
Even though I adore Smoke Signals; I’m going a bit left of centre with my selection for Favourite Track, Don’t You Make Me Put My Fiddle Down; as it’s a sad ole love ballad and features some of the most haunting vocals and fiddle playing I’ve heard in many a year; and I’m not particularly a fiddle lover.
I hope Waylon Thibodeaux is the Sound of South Louisiana; because that means there are more down there just like him……. and the world will be a better place for that..

Released January 17th 2019

Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans TWICE AS NICE

Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans
Man Hat Tone

Swampy R&B Flavoured Jumpin’ Jive and Sizzling Country Blues Too.

While the album cover won’t ever win any awards, it caught my eye on a busy day and when I slid it in the office CD player crossed my fingers hoping the music would live up to the Hot Rod billing.
Well, if I had a car like either pictured, I’m damn sure I would have this disc welded into the hi-fi!
The opening track finds Brad slowing down Big Maceo’s Worried Life Blues down to a stumble and a stroll; whereas the version I know by Chuck Berry is more of a strut; but twinkle in the eye is certainly still there.
Things hot up next on Mississippi Swamp, which is a jumpin’ and Jivin’ Blues that really plays on Vickers’ vocal styling and Dave Gross’s choppy guitar; and you will find your heart racing in time with VD King’s slap bass.
While obviously tipping his hat in admiration of loads of R&B and Southern Country acts over the years; I can’t think of anyone in particular who has a groove like these cats.
On Coast to Coast there’s another hint of Chuck Berry in the guitar intro but the horn section, piano and Brad’s distinctive voice make it the type of song where you have one arm out the car window, the other on the steering wheel and your ‘best gal’ is snuggled up for a drive somewhere ….. anywhere.
While Brad Vickers takes top billing; bass player, associate Producer and ‘band booker’ Margey Peters gets her moment in the spotlight too; and when she does my knees go all wobbly!
She goes all risque on the title track, Twice as Nice but rips your heart out with her smoky voice on Love Can Win and she winds down the Honky Tonk on the slinky album closer Brooklyn Evening.
Plus she wrote another humdingers that Vickers gets to wrap his larynx around; Everything I Need being one of those R&B stompers that features some stiletto style guitar picking in the middle and close.
While I recognise a couple of other songwriter’s names; I don’t think I’ve heard Jimmy Reed’s Come Together before; but if I have it certainly didn’t sound anything like this dark lament.
It’s a similar feeling with Tampa Red’s Look a There, Look a There; which gets a hip and shiny Jumpin’ Jive makeover here that will make even a man with a wooden leg want to dance.
For a fun and even sassy album I’m going left of centre for my Favourite Track; as Red Dust arrives with no introduction and made me sit and stare at the speakers the first time I heard it.
Why? You may ask.
Well, this song is beautifully constructed ode to Native Americans that combines a traditional drum beat with some stinging Bottleneck guitar as Brad Vickers wrings the last drop of pathos out of this dark tale, then squeezes again. 10/10
Perhaps if I have one criticism, this particular song could and should have ended the cycle; but being where it certainly had a profound effect on this chap.
Yet again I’ve unearthed a big ole unit of a R&B Band that will undoubtedly never visit my part of the Universe; yet they sound like the best night I’ll never have.

Released October 1st 2019


Janiva Magness
Change in The Weather
Blue Elan Records

Simply Stunning Re-Inventions of The Original Sound of Americana.

I’ve always thought of myself as a Creedence Clearwater Revival fan; but with hindsight, owning a worn and tatty copy of Creedence Gold doesn’t make me #1 does it?
But I am a real fan of Janiva Magness and got really excited a couple of months ago when it was announced that she was doing an album of CCR and John Fogerty songs.
The time flew by ……. nada……. but I’ve finally received a copy ……. a week after release! Hey ho.
Without doing a ‘compare and contrast’ with the original versions because a) this is Janiva putting her own unmistakable stamp on the songs; and b) I don’t actually recognise very many songs anyways!
The bouncy and provocative title track Change in The Weather starts the album like a UXB……. fizzing and smoking and very, very menacing. Janiva makes it work on many levels, most notably because of Fogerty’s very apt words virtually forecast ‘climate change’ but on a metaphorical stance, it could also describe the incendiary political climate around the world too.
Ms. Magness’ smoky voice sounds fabulous duetting with Sam Morrow on the Touring Musician’s anthem Lodi, which follows and I swear you can almost smell the magnolia and gumbo as the band give it a groove that will have you swishing and sashaying in the kitchen.
While it’s fair to say this is first and foremost a Janiva Magness album; boy does she bring out the best in John Fogerty’s much undervalued songwriting; and when you hear the magnificent twists and turns on Deja Vu (All Over Again) and/or Wrote a Song For Everyone you are hearing a great singer doing an even greater songwriter justice; and feel the time is right for a full on John Fogerty retrospective.
There a couple of CCR Classics here too (of course!), with the passion still oozing out of every word in Fortunate Son even though it was written half a century ago; and somehow Janiva breaths brand new life into Bad Moon Rising making it even more sensual than the original; and the way she interprates Have You Ever Seen The Rain will send a shiver down your back.
Not that it needs it; but there’s another Guest Appearance with none other than Taj Mahal adding banjo and scintillating vocals to Don’t You Wish It Was True, making it sound like it was recorded on an Alabama back porch; but destined to be sung in concert halls all around the world.
With so much going on here, and with every song certainly being worthy of inclusion (All killer – no filler!) selecting a single song as the RMHQ Favourite certainly hasn’t been easy; especially as I’ve only had three damp and grey Autumn days to let this seep into my Soul; but one song has certainly caught my attention; and shows what a magnificent singer is; and that’s when she unleashes her inner Bobbie Gentry on the stifling A Hundred and Ten In The Shade, and of course the detail in Fogerty’s words about life in the cotton fields are quite amazing too ………
“Poppa won’t you carry me
Handle so hot I can’t stand it
Might shrivel up and blow away
Noon day sun make you crazy
Least that’s the old man say
Bottom land hard as a gravestone
Couldn’t cut it with an axe
Gonna lay me down here, that’s a fact.”

Then the album is all wrapped up with the gloriously toe-tappin’ Lookin’ Out My Back Door, which features not just Rusty Young but Jesse Dayton and Aubrey Richmond; who makes his fiddle sizzle and smoke …… what’s not to like?
It’s now fair to say that my initial excitement all those weeks ago have been truly justified, and the only gripe I have is that this Soundtrack to Summer is released in September (which feels like Winter today) and not June. That apart; this is a musical marriage made in Heaven; and yes a John Fogerty and CCR resurgence is long overdue.

Released September 13th 2019


JP Soars & The Red Hots
Southbound I-95
Soars High Productions

All Hail Swamp Rock & Roll From the Blues Lagoon.

Nearly everything about this album has surprised me, from the quirky cartoon cover, right through to I-Tunes listing my download as ‘Blues’. Yup; there’s certainly ‘Blues Music’ in here, but there’s Swamp Music, Hill Country, Surf guitar and some crackling Singer-songwriter songs straight from the Classic Folk Songbook too…….This is Roots Music Deluxe!
Oh man! Soars cracked and crackling voice on opening track, It Ain’t No Dahnia Beach reminded me of so many of my favourite singers; but sounds like none of them whatsoever! Lived in? Yup. Expressive? Yup. Leathery? Yup. And more, I guess….. but it’s so wonderful the way he delivers his words I felt I was sitting on a beach in Carolina or or the backwaters of Florida watching the coolest band on earth playing in the ramshackle bar.
That feeling remains right through the album btw.
If you aren’t sitting drinking beer watching this band; these songs make the perfect soundtrack to the drive to such a bar!
Title track Southbound I-95 opens with some of the dirtiest Surf guitar this side of Dick Dale, and the song sounds like it could or should be from a Tarantino movie; as do Satisfy My Soul and the Mambotastic Dog Catcher which has had my shaking my hips more than once; I can admit.
Roots Music comes in many shapes and forms; but very rarely is it this much fun!
JP Soars gives us an absolute Roots Gumbo with some N’Orleans R&B on The Grass Ain’t Always Greener, a healthy dose of Memphis Soul glides though Shining Through The Dark and both versions of Sure As Hell Ain’t Foolin’ Me (especially the sweary version!) is a weird Dr. John/Duane Eddy hybrid with a Country Noir spine to it.
Soars and his chums can really, really get their Rocks Off when they put their collective mind to it too; with some searing and sizzling guitar complimenting JP’s grizzled vocals on the exquisite Born in California and again on Troubled Waters, which might be the finest Southern Rock song I’ve heard in nigh on 40 years!
There are even three fabulous instrumentals dotted throughout, which act as musical palette cleansers; and in another life Arkansas Porch Party,
When You Walk Out The Door and the atmospheric Go With The Flow with it’s quirky ending would be the basis for a whole album of such tunes, were it not for JP Soars amazing voice having to take precedence.
Aha! On such a parcel of delights how can I choose a Favourite Song? Quite easy when you have such good taste as what I have (hahaha)……. while there are actually a few contenders I’m choosing the Blues and Mariachi drenched Deep Down in Florida, which makes my spine tingle every time I hear Albert Castiglia and Soars himself duelling on those magical guitar solos.
I don’t know when you will be reading this; but I’m writing as I suffer with an ear infection; and such is the power of JP Soars and his album SOUTHBOUND I-95 I can’t stop myself smiling and tapping my toes.
All Hail Roots Rock & Roll!

Released March 8th 2019

John Fusco & The X-Road Riders

John Fusco & The X-Road Riders
Checkerboard Lounge Recordings

It Comes From The Swamps and Ends Up In the Heart and Soul of Chicago!

The album cover and band name meant nothing to me when this arrived a couple of weeks ago; but the ‘stable’ it came from is full of thoroughbreds and rarely, if ever lets me down……then I spotted the names Cody and Luther Dickinson! As I played the album I skimmed through the Press Release to see that John Fusco is not just a singer and musician, but an Award winning filmmaker to boot; his last film was the Woody Harrelson/Kevin Costner movie The Highwaymen but his first screenplay was for the bio-pic Crossroads way back in 1986, so whatever this is, it’s got to be worth a listen.
Opening track Rolling Thunder is some multi-layered and intense Blues Rock of the ilk we’d normally associate with Stevie Ray Vaughan, but without the hysterical guitar solos and a singer with a voice so rich you’d swear his larynx was gold coated.
Everything here, bar their exquisite and original reworking of Crossroad Blues which closes things in glorious fashion with Luther Dickinson supplying some sublime slide guitar and a Memphis Rapper called Al Kapone adding a verse and not sounding even a little bit out of place, is from Fusco’s pen and vivid imagination.
If this is meant to be a hobby or side project; God knows what Fusco and Cody Dickinson would create if this was their day job!
They make the joint swing like crazy on Poutine with Fusco sounding sassy as anything and Cody playing the part of his ‘wing-man’ with consummate ease on geetar behind him.
The duo (and friends) are even cooler still when they slow things down a’la The Allmans on A Stones Throw and especially Hello, Highway which features Dickinson’s sizzling guitar again as Fusco shows us his Leon Russell side not just with his grizzly vocals, but on Hammond Organ too.
I don’t think I’m getting the best from this music either; as it’s a cold and wet February night as I type……. give it another three or four months and Can’t Have Your Cake and the diamond of a song Boogie on the Bayou will really come alive for me, as the sun bakes the back garden.
There’s not a bad song here, with a couple of genuine crackers tucked away in the shadows; Once I Pay This Truck Off conjures up all kinds of romantic imagery for a poor boy from Northern England and I Got Soul has all the hallmarks of the last song of the night jam; and in another lifetime would be covered by Rod Stewart and make the writer a small fortune.
But one song in particular has caught not just my attention, but my heart too……… Track #2 Drink Takes The Man; at first it’s a cool Blues groove but sooner or later the song, and especially the chorus will catch your ear and you will know someone close to you that it could be about. Obviously a very personal story to John Fusco (or he has one helluva imagination!) and to me; it’s a ‘once in a lifetime’ song for a songwriter. 10/10
With the Delta and for good measure, Chicago at its Roots this album by John and Cody takes us on a right royal roller-coaster ride around the back-roads and highways of Bluesville, before tipping us out on the side of the road bruised, battered, dusty, sweaty and dying for more….. lots more.

Released February 11th 2019


Paul Nelson
Over Under Through
Riverwide Records

Mean, Moody and Introspective Soulful and Bluesy AOR.

First of all what a cool and eye-catching cover on the CD; I’m pretty sure it would have made me pick it up had I seen it in a Record Shop.
To some degree the artwork captures the mood of the music on the album too; quite laid back and difficult to pigeon-hole.
A glorious swampy sounding ‘chant’ opens the record; Go Down Ezekiel sounds like something Eric Bibb or Keb Mo may have recorded had they got to it first; most notably because of the dirty guitar licks throughout.
With that in mind probably the third time I heard the next song Ghost In the Basement I got to thinking that the best way to treat this album of divergent Roots music was to imagine it a soundtrack to mean and moody Detective drama starring Idris Elba or Kevin Costner.
Nelson has a fascinating voice; part velvety crooner and part dime store gangster as he inhabits the characters in his songs.
There’s a claustrophobic sense of menace on Lay a Little and the title track Over, Under, Through which sounds like Chet Baker re-mixed into a Levon Helm track creating a diamond cut mysticism.
Nelson’s re-working of Cash’s I Walk The Line sounds a lot more Soulful in the way our man purrs the heartbreaking lyrics, as if he’s drowning in molasses; but still keeping the original pathos intact throughout.
The production and musicianship is spell binding throughout making something like the sultry Secret or Relative Weeping sound quite extraordinary at times; and defying categorisation, with AOR being the nearest I can think; but with added Blues and a dash of Southern Rock in the shadows.
I still think my original description of this album being a soundtrack to an ‘imaginary Detective series or film’ but there’s a subtle touch of contemporary politics slid in too with the slow and Funky Silent Majority; but it could easily fit into my Soundtrack concept too.
If you’re still with my Soundtrack concept; my Favourite Song would be the title for the Film/TV Show; Colour It Blue.
Just imagine if you will, what the opening verse conjures up……
“I can take a sunny day
and fill it with rain
Hijack your peace of mind
Drag you to a house of pain
Pretty Rainbows fade to grey
At the sound of my weeping guitar.”

Surely it’s an anti-hero PI or Cop in an overcoat trawling the mean streets in the and shadows of the dark end of town.
Surely it’s not just me?
Even if you don’t go with my theory this album is the perfect antidote for what life is throwing at us these days; turn the lights down low and wallow in not just Paul Nelson’s pain and sorrow; but his amazing voice and the magical musicians supporting him.

Released January 25th 2019

Swampcandy MINE

swampcandy a c


Raw, Passionate Hillbilly Punk Infused Blues.

In a month when I’ve had releases by Sir Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello and the legendary John Hiatt to review, an album by a little known band from the backwoods of Americay, who nobody I know has ever heard of has not just captured my imagination but my heart as well!
Swampcandy are a definitive Roots-Rock band first formed in 2007 but really came to life in 2010 when singer/bassist Joey Mitchell joined original singer Ruben Dodd and, as they say…..the rest is history!
Best described as a Blues/Hillbilly/Folk/Country hybrid opening track JC’s Revenge is a really powerful foot stomper that made me do a double take the first time I played it. Best played LOUD Ruben Dodd sounds like he’s either got the Devil on his tail or Old Nick has actually inhabited his larynx as he growls and wheezes his way through four amazing minutes.
Oohhee! Joey Mitchell then kick starts the album on the second track with the jaunty and whoopielicious Party With The Devil and the darkly delicious frame of mind is set for what is to follow.
Those of a sensitive disposition can leave now.
When I first started reviewing Swampcandy’s ‘style’ would have been described as ‘Old Timey’; which it is……but boy oh boy….. is it contemporary and at times, frighteningly futuristic too!
Red Shoes finds the two singers bouncing off each other like electrons, then Burn The Meadow takes Olde School American Folk music into uncharted territory but on Dead Man Walking and Sack o’ Bones the band somehow manage to out Punk the MC5!
There’s a little bit of everything here, showing Swampcandy’s diverse and fascinating skill sets in all their ragged glories; none more so than on the fleshy Ragtime-Folk of San Francisco (the hills of) or the majestic Years on End, which features luscious and almost Angelic harmonies and a demonic Grand Piano; or my Favourite Track, the simple and delicate Knock Out which is a brittle and beautiful observation of the times the ‘working man or woman’ finds themselves in.
Swampcandy are ‘different’ in many ways from what you will normally hear; treading a very lonely and personal musical path that won’t ever be commercial in financial terms; but will bring joy and pleasure to everyone who invest the time in actually listening to their music.
I’ve just had another thought……. Swampcandy are the type of band that will play to a crowd of 50 in a tent at Glastonbury when U2 or Coldplay or whoever are headlining in front of 250,000 across the field; but two years later those 50 people will still be talking about the night that they had their lives changed.

1st October 2018



Patrick Sweany ANCIENT NOISE

patrick sweany ANCIENT NOISE B

Patrick Sweany
Nine Mile Records

The Coolest Blues, Funk and Country Swamp Music You Can Imagine.

Sadly; such is the backlog at RMHQ that this album; from one of our favourite artistes has sat around unplayed and unloved for over a month now; but such is our love for Patrick Sweany that we knew we would get the best out of it when the time was right; and that proved to be last Sunday.
The sun was high in the sky and it was so hot my cold beer was soon warm beer; so I had to keep refilling my glass as I let this music seep into my soul.
Hallelujah! Opening track Old Time Ways was exactly as I’d hoped it would be; Sweany on top form howling from the heart as a red hot band makes every single note count; and not a single one is out of place.
This is already Swamp Music par excellence, mon ami.
Sweany’s cool groove continues through Up and Down and on third track Country Loving he slows things down to an evening stroll through the Everglades pace, as Charles Hodges takes on a Professor Longhair role at the piano while Sweany croons (if such a word can describe his grizzled tones) the sweetest of honest love songs.
In its own way ANCIENT NOISE is a ‘move on’ from what I remember of his last two albums; with a new found maturity to the construction of songs like Outcast Blues, Play Around (with its Roy Orbison undertones) and more especially Get Along which could easily have become an over excited stomp; but Sweany and bandmates show incredible restraint on a chest tightening Soul-Rocker.

Back in the olden days I don’t know if the songs Steady  or album closer Victory Lap would have been described as Rock Ballads; as that term has gone out of fashion now but both are articulate, intimate and very easy on the ear while retaining Sweany’s trademark powerful honesty in every breath and stanza.
There’s also the surprising inclusion of a pseudo-political song that delves into the troubled past of the USA and more importantly The Southern States. At first I thought Cry of Amede was just a nod in the direction of Dr. John; but delve deeper and you will hear a history lesson that will send a shiver down your spine; as Amede Ardoin who was a Creole musician in the 1930’s and was cruelly beaten for receiving a handkerchief from a white woman as a gift. Sweany gets the unpleasant story across without ever sounding maudlin or even preachy; just giving us the facts in a sensitive and rather beautiful manner.
With so much to choose from; and so many songs that sound exciting, interesting and often just plain fabulous I’m going for the Country Funkylicious No Way No How as my favourite track; simply because it was the first one that I found myself murmuring the chorus too.
This is the third of eight Patrick Sweany albums we’ve reviewed here at RMHQ and each one has come along into our lives just when we needed some rough and ready, sweaty and cinematic Southern Blues with a splash of Rock n Roll flavoured bourbon; and he delivers all of those things with gentlemanly panache.

Released July 6th 2018

Creedence Clearwater Revival FORTUNATE SON (video)

ccr 5

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Craft Recordings

If ever a song was an unofficial anthem for the current state of the United States it would be FORTUNATE SON by Rock legends and Forefathers of Country Rock which in turn begat the whole Americana movement Creedence Clearwater Revival; and today we received this fantastic video for said song…….and a cryptic message foretelling a ‘Special Release’ in the Autumn to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their self-titled debut album in 1968.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1968 self-titled debut album introduced the world to guitar-playing brothers John and Tom Fogerty, drummer Doug Clifford, and bassist Stu Cook, four young men out of El Cerrito in the San Francisco Bay Area. Though they emerged in a place and time where trippy psychedelic visions were the order of the day, CCR bucked the trends and instead tapped into a rich, traditional seam of American music that connected to blues, country, rockabilly, gospel, folk and R&B.

While their contemporaries were unfurling mind-bending musical excursions with elaborate productions, Creedence crashed into the upper rungs of the album and singles charts with songs that wasted nary a note or word, overflowing with raw soul and unbridled energy. Although the band members were only together for four years under the Creedence Clearwater Revival appellation, they managed to accomplish more than many artists do in their entire career – they released 14 Top 10 hits, six Platinum albums, and one Gold in just four intensely prolific years, all powered by John Fogerty’s gut-level growl, with Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford providing just the right kind of gritty, in-the-pocket punch to propel CCR’s vision.

The band’s West Coast origins notwithstanding, Fogerty’s voice contained echoes of everything from the Chicago blues bite of Howlin’ Wolf to the Alabama twang of Hank Williams and the Memphis swagger of Elvis Presley, creating an archetypal example of Americana decades before anybody ever thought of using that term to define a musical genre.

For all the indelible guitar hooks and commanding vocals the CCR catalogue contains, their songs are more than catchy tunes. CCR was a people’s band in more ways than one; hand in hand with the accessibility that made their music relatable to just about everybody, there was a strong sense of identification with America’s common folks, the ones whose stories were told in the songs.

On tunes like “Born on the Bayou” and “Green River,” Creedence harnessed the sonic hoodoo of almost dangerously deep, “swamp rock” grooves to propel vivid New Orleans imagery. “Long As I Can See the Light” floats luminously with the kind of sanctified soul feel that we’ve come to expect only from the South. And the spry country two-step of “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” finds its feet in Nashville, at least in a spiritual sense. While CCR’s signature song, “Proud Mary,” is a Southern-soaked riverboat travelogue, with stops in Memphis and the Crescent City.

Even some of the covers of Creedence’s tunes have become part of history—Ike & Tina Turner’s sped-up, R&B-slathered 1971 recording of “Proud Mary” almost rivaled the original in popularity. And an astonishing array of artists, from Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to R.E.M. and the Ramones, have recorded “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” to home in on the reach of just one of their profusely covered songs.

The group also performed a historic headlining set at Woodstock, and toured the world before disbanding in 1972. CCR’s music endures today – still in popular rotation on the radio, and heard regularly in films and TV shows. Having sold over 30 million albums in the U.S. alone, Creedence received a rare Diamond certification from the RIAA in 2016, marking 10 million units in sales for their 1976 compilation album, Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits.

The appeal of Creedence Clearwater Revival isn’t tied to any one era or milieu; whether it’s 50 years ago or 100 years from now, all you need is a pair of ears to pick up on their sound. As John Fogerty once sang on a certain 1969 hit single, “Over on the corner there’s a happy noise/People come from all around to watch the magic boys.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!