In 2000, Fantasy finally treated the Creedence Clearwater Revival catalog with the respect it deserved, remastering the entire catalog and issuing them in lavish editions with rich liner notes and slipcases. So, when they decided to release a "complete recorded works" box set a year later, the results weren't quite as revelatory as they may have ...
In 2000, Fantasy finally treated the Creedence Clearwater Revival catalog with the respect it deserved, remastering the entire catalog and issuing them in lavish editions with rich liner notes and slipcases. So, when they decided to release a "complete recorded works" box set a year later, the results weren't quite as revelatory as they may have been, since even if this was remastered again, it's hard for most listeners to notice the difference between this and the previous material, and all the liner notes -- from such luminaries as Dave Marsh, Ben Fong-Torres, Ed Ward, Stanley Booth, and Robert Christgau -- are printed as the liners here, meaning that for the hardcore who bought the whole catalog a year before, this is almost anti-climatic. That is the operative word here, since there is one thing that makes this set essential for the fanatics, even if they bought the remasters, and that's the first disc, which contains all known pre-CCR recordings by the Golliwogs and Tommy Fogerty & the Blue Velvets. These aren't really stunning recordings; they're very much within the style and sound of the time, borrowing from Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and the Beach Boys, all twisted to something much sweeter than what CCR came to be known for. This may not be as musically satisfying as the other five discs -- which, after all, comprise perhaps the greatest body of work by an American rock band -- but it's necessary for any true fan, since this stuff is not only rare, but there's a lot of stuff that hasn't even been bootlegged, particularly on the Golliwogs' material on the first disc. But this box really kicks into full gear on the second disc, with the rare single "Call It Pretending" -- a dynamite slice of Stax-styled R&B rock -- before heading into that remarkable set of albums, running through each album in order, with only a promotional single to break up the flow of the albums (each record is presented uninterrupted except for Pendulum, which is split between two discs: nine cuts on one disc, two on another), before it winds up with the two live albums (including cuts that didn't make it on The Concert). Again, this extra material isn't essential for anyone but collectors (with the exception of "Call It Pretending"), but the music is so good that anybody looking to get everything the great American rock & roll band recorded in one fell swoop would be encouraged to take this route. After all, after you memorize the proper albums, the live cuts and pre-CCR material will be necessary. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi