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Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Singles Collection
Concord Music Group
www.concordmusicgroup.com


There are few things better than when a label digs out songs by a great band and shines them up and puts them out in a nice package with some nice bonus features. The newly released Creedence Clearwater Revival Singles Collection is such a wonderful little CD set for those exact reasons… all the really essential tracks are represented, and they sound really, really fantastic. The songs have been remastered, but not cleaned up too much; the grit and grind that forged the trademark sound of CCR is still in strong evidence.

The two-disc Singles Collection includes all the songs that one would expect. "Proud Mary", "Down On The Corner", "Fortunate Son", and many others instantly recognizable, but the meat of this collection lies in the tracks that are not still lauded by classic rock radio. Brilliant tracks like "Long As I Can See The Light" are the highlights of this great collection, songs that have the same catchiness and brilliance that still makes many CCR songs such radio staples today, but songs with a gritty earthiness that makes them not quite so corporate radio ready. There are some things here that I never knew existed, such as the part 2 of the very famous "Susie Q", a track that shies away from the rockabilly of the familiar part 1, and opts for a more psychedelic and jamming sound with searing guitars and grooving drums. The great songs are all here, and remastered to be even punchier and more "present"… "Lodi" has never sounded better (in the digital realm) and "Run Through The Jungle" has even more punch and clarity than I remember ever hearing before.

Another benefit of a vast collection like this is the attention it brings to songs that one may have forgotten, or never heard. "Someday Never Comes" always seemed a sleeper to me, but hearing this new mastering of it brings it to the forefront and it is fast becoming my favorite song in the CCR catalog. The set also includes some new/mostly unheard snippets. The second disc wraps up with about 12 minutes of noise collage/interviews with the band called "45 Revolutions Per Minute (Parts 1 and 2)"… a strange glimpse into the lives of the band and the industry. The set also includes a DVD with some pretty cool videos, including a fun video for "Bootleg" with the band playing on a cruise ship among a bunch of 70's youngsters laying down some sweet dance moves. The videos are mostly just performance style videos, but are a nice time capsule to the style and artistic sense of the day… and of John Fogerty's mustache.

The Singles Collection is a wonderful group of songs by a band that quite possibly had more influence on much of rock's pantheon than most would allow. The tracks here are edgy and show a maturity and depth that would not sit well on radio today. This collection is a testament to not only the band and their music, but to a time when music was dangerous and had influence on the culture and makings of the world.

-Embo Blake

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