Monday, December 29, 2014

CCR and the Importance of the Rhythm Section in Rock

So a while back I wrote this, about how vitally important the right rhythm section is, how it's like the foundation for a building—if it's doing its job, there's a good chance you'll never even notice it; but if it's not...

That piece has since gone on to become one of our dozen most read items. (At least in part due to people searching for proof that Neil Young was once in CCR. That's CSNY, people. Yes, they're both acronyms.)

But then I read Rob Sheffield say largely the same thing in about 5% the number of words and I wonder why I bother:
[Creedence Clearwater Revival] stood apart from the San Francisco psychedelic bands, partly because of its blue-collar earthiness and partly because their drummer didn't suck. Fogerty's spit-and-growl voice was the purple-mountain majesty above the fruited plain of phenomenal rhythm section Doug Clifford and Stu Cook, California's answer to Wyman and Watts.
Yes. Yes. Exactly. The American answer to Wyman and Watts. DAYUMN. Maybe that's why he writes for Rolling Stone.

Mick Jagger. Keith Richards. John Fogerty. All have created solo albums, some of them many times. And not one has ever come within shouting distance of what they were able to create with their regular rhythm section, despite working with musicians who are, objectively, far, far more skilled. There are plenty of other factors, of course, but after a while, it becomes hard to deny it's no coincidence.

(Good Lord, what size are Clifford's hi-hat cymbals? Those damn things look like they're at least 16".) 

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