CCR, 'Born on the Bayou', live at Woodstock
December 21, 2014 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Creedence Clearwater Revival performing 'Born on the Bayou' at Woodstock, 1969. Frontman John Fogerty, dissatisfied with the group's performance, famously prevented it from being included in the subsequent film or soundtrack album. But this, the opening number of their set, is an electrifying performance. Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford perform as if they are plugged in to the electricity supply.
posted by paleyellowwithorange (54 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
"The band complained that they had to take the stage at three in the morning because the Grateful Dead had jammed so far past their scheduled time that by the time CCR began playing, many in the audience had gone to sleep."
posted by stbalbach at 5:47 PM on December 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


That was absolutely brilliant, thanks for posting.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 5:49 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I did not know that Fogerty played ACME guitars!
posted by thelonius at 5:51 PM on December 21, 2014


Sounds great, but I wish the volume weren't so low.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:57 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hmm… not at all sure why Fogerty was so dissatisfied with the group's performance. Seemed perfectly adequate to me, and not unlike many others I've seen by CCR. But maybe *adequate* is the operative word: maybe it just wasn't *quite* up to snuff for ol' Fogerty? As for myself, I guess I'd have to say that I'd respectfully diverge from the OP's characterization of this rendition of the tune. To me it was simply a very good, workmanlike performance. CCR was a solid-as-hell band with great material, for sure, and Fogerty was a kickass vocalist and songwriter, ain't a shred of doubt about it. As Woodstock sets go, though, this doesn't strike me as *electrifying* as those turned in on that occasion by, say, Joe Cocker or Jimi Hendrix or Ritchie Havens, to name a few.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:57 PM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


But what a bummer that the Dead went so far over their allotted time that CCR was pushed back to three in the morning. CCR could sing and play CIRCLES around the Dead, and Fogerty and the rest of CCR had every reason to be damn pissed off about that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:01 PM on December 21, 2014 [18 favorites]


Good 'un. I'm kinda partial to the Royal Albert Hall performance as well. Maybe slightly slower, heavier. Chooglin'!

And nope, ain't gonna take the bait about how they were so much better than the Dead, because music doesn't work that way.
posted by telstar at 6:05 PM on December 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


And nope, ain't gonna take the bait about how they were so much better than the Dead, because music doesn't work that way.

Heh. I like that comment, and, in fact, I agree.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 PM on December 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


CSN has my vote for worst Woodstock set.
posted by thelonius at 6:07 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


the grateful dead's set at woodstock was a bit of a disaster, but they were scheduled for longer than most of the bands and only played (or battled the rotten weather and electrical problems) for only 95 minutes, which is short for the dead

i'm not going to say that ccr could play circles around the dead, that's just not so - (singing, well, yeah ...) - but the dead blew it that night, and they knew it

creedence came on at 12.30, not 3 - it was sly and the family stone that played at 3.30 am

they didn't complain about the time because they damn well woke the place up!
posted by pyramid termite at 6:20 PM on December 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


I did not know that Fogerty played ACME guitars!

Erm ... That's a Rickenbacker ... Looks like a 330.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:21 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


This book (pg. 64) says they started at 3am after the Dead.
posted by stbalbach at 6:26 PM on December 21, 2014


Thanks for the clarification re: the Dead/CCR/Sly Stone Woodstock time warp, pyramid termite.

Then again, on preview, it seems that there are varying accounts. Who ya gunna believe?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:27 PM on December 21, 2014


That's a Rickenbacker

The truss rod cover says otherwise (at 3:15)
posted by thelonius at 6:27 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the clarification re: the Dead/CCR/Sly Stone Woodstock time warp, pyramid termite.

pyramid termite's source is an open Wiki anyone can edit without sources. Maybe it's right but there is conflicting info (an oral history by John Fogerty).
posted by stbalbach at 6:29 PM on December 21, 2014


Well, we know that the sun rose while The Who were playing 'See Me, Feel Me'.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:30 PM on December 21, 2014


The truss rod cover says otherwise (at 3:15)

Whoa. WTF?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:35 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


(It is a 325. Why Fogerty did that, I don't know. The drummer has a Mickey Mouse shirt, maybe they were just big into cartoons.)
posted by thelonius at 6:38 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


12:30am is probably right, looking around that seems to be what most sources say, not 3am. It would be hard to change the time as it would mess up the times of every act that followed.
posted by stbalbach at 6:42 PM on December 21, 2014


It would be hard to change the time as it would mess up the times of every act that followed.

Tell that to the Dead!
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:44 PM on December 21, 2014


So at 3:15 you can see Fogerty playing a 325 (or a 330) and pissed because it was 12:30 (or 3:00)
posted by hal9k at 6:45 PM on December 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


Well, here's the actual unabridged set of the Dead at Woostock approximate 93 minutes.
posted by stbalbach at 7:03 PM on December 21, 2014


I just came in here to say how much I love CCR.

Seriously.
posted by Miko at 8:17 PM on December 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


So...if Fogarty prevented it being released, why is it released now?

Has it been released before this?

Inquiring minds want to know (tm).
posted by CrowGoat at 8:34 PM on December 21, 2014


I really like CCR, but to blame the Dead who played for about an hour and a half which includes the time taken to get the ground on the stage right (Jerry has said he was repeatedly shocked on stage at Woodstock) seems, well, not right. CCR chose not to be included in the soundtrack and movie.

stbalbach: "Well, here's the actual unabridged set of the Dead at Woostock approximate 93 minutes."

The 48 minute Lovelight that the Dead played at Woodstock is terrific. (If you like Pigpen raps.)
posted by 724A at 8:37 PM on December 21, 2014


So...if Fogarty prevented it being released, why is it released now?

Has it been released before this?


"On June 9, 2009 a remastered 40th Anniversary edition was released on both Blu-ray and DVD. The 40th Anniversary edition is available as both a two-disc "Special Edition" and a three-disc "Ultimate Collector’s Edition". The film was newly remastered and provided a new 5.1 audio mix. Among the Special Features two extra hours of rare performance footage feature 18 performances never before seen (from 13 groups including Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker) and five (Paul Butterfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Winter and Mountain) who played at Woodstock but never appeared in any film version."
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 8:41 PM on December 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


I agree that blaming the Dead is just kind of a Dead-hater trope. What's clear to me as a production and event-planning-type individual is that Woodstock was a near-total clusterfuck of an event rescued only by the independent competence of the film and audio staff and the professionalism of the musicians themselves. I blame zero bands for the way they were presented. I know, too, that last-minute obstacles were encountered by the organizers, but STILL, this was not what you would call a well and wisely managed event, and it isn't really fair to blame one band in the lineup for what definitely seems to be chronic and consistent problems with overall production, talent and stage management.

Dead vs. Creedence, who's better, seems like a fool's argument and I'm glad our gentlemen here neatly sidestepped it with grace. They're two very different bands with different strengths. I wish we had 10 more of each of them enriching our culture, not that one was crowned above the other.
posted by Miko at 8:48 PM on December 21, 2014 [7 favorites]


I know some of the performances at Woodstock were probably crap, or weak, or not mixed well, or disorganized, or whatever, but at this point, its status an an historical event would justify a release of some sort that chronicled every minute of every performance, in order as it happened. I don't care if it took 3 days to watch, I feel like it should be out there. The movie is way too fragmentary. Release it all!
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:59 PM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


My only beef with it is the tempo.. it seems like they're hurrying through the performance.
posted by crapmatic at 9:01 PM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised Disney hasn't tried to take down the video thanks to Mickey.
posted by wierdo at 9:12 PM on December 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


The two CD set The Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival is the best driving music for highways ever in the history of ever. It's a perfect balance between simple and engaging.
posted by vapidave at 9:42 PM on December 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


.. it seems like they're hurrying through the performance.
Now that you've pointed this out, I totally agree. The languid, meandering, humid, kicked-back tempo of the studio version is what makes it. This does sound a little extra.....choogly...which isn't really bayou-speed.
posted by Miko at 9:50 PM on December 21, 2014


That was flawless. Thanks for the post.
posted by Chitownfats at 12:39 AM on December 22, 2014


This does sound a little extra.....choogly...which isn't really bayou-speed.

Choogly is a word that I shall henceforth try to include in my conversations whenever possible.

CCR's rendition of the Americana chestnut Midnight Special was a part of this Midnight Songs post I made a few years back, and the YT clip is, miraculously, still alive.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:24 AM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


In 1985 or so Hunter S Thompson was doing one of those 'speaking tours' where really he'd just show up at some college, drinking from an endless tumbler of whiskey, and take questions. Which I guess passed for entertainment in those days.

Anyways I got to ask him a couple of questions. The not-entirely-stupid one was, Which American rock band was best live? He said it was Creedence. Always thought it was pretty plausible.
posted by hap_hazard at 1:55 AM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's just a shame there was such disharmony between them. Such an amazing body of work, but such rancor.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 2:10 AM on December 22, 2014


CSN has my vote for worst Woodstock set.

Um...You do recall Sha-Na-Na played Woodstock, right?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 AM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Um...You do recall Sha-Na-Na played Woodstock, right?

Sha-Na-Na were cheesy and manufactured, for sure, but they may well have turned in a better overall performance than CSNY. Haven't heard their Woodstock set, so I can't be altogether sure of that, but they were surely, at the least, very *polished* performers, whereas CSNY were, you know, kinda raggedy. CSNY's guitars were shockingly out of tune at Woodstock. Pretty painful to listen to for that reason alone. Check it out.*

The harmonies on their acoustic set are still impressive, though, especially considering how out of tune the guitars are. But the electric part of their set features a Stephen Stills performance that is terribly overwrought, and actually the whole thing sounds kinda lousy and plodding.

I should perhaps note that I was never a CSNY fan, personally, except for that one time they played as Tom Jones' backing band.

*oddly long gaps between songs on that YT clip, for some reason
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:22 AM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


You all sound like a group of people that would enjoy Festival Express if you haven't already seen it. Here's a Russian subtitled version, but it's worth finding a real copy. It definitely speaks to the . . . freestyle nature of event/ festival planning around that time. No CCR, but it does have Sha-Na-Na.
posted by yerfatma at 6:23 AM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


The 48 minute Lovelight that the Dead played at Woodstock is terrific.

Listening to the dead set, it seems like Jerry in particular is so stoned he can barely function - his singing is too loud and detached and only a few guitar licks. Country Joe comes on half way through the set almost apologetically saying the Bay area bands take a lot of acid. I'm sure this has been analyzed to death already but my first impression. Probably they filled up most of their time with Pig Pen because he was able to play (someone mentioned that upthread). The women hecklers in the crowd angrily demanding to see chest hair and Bob Weir (?) rambling about Indians makes it surreal but oddly what one might expect (ie. anything random).
posted by stbalbach at 6:29 AM on December 22, 2014


The harmonies on their acoustic set are still impressive, though, especially considering how out of tune the guitars are. But the electric part of their set features a Stephen Stills performance that is terribly overwrought, and actually the whole thing sounds kinda lousy and plodding.

I would say Stephen Stills himself can be terribly overwrought. And didn't they say it was their second live gig?
posted by kgasmart at 6:39 AM on December 22, 2014


I cannot find the interview, but I recall both Bob and Jerry saying they were stoned as a beejeezus Woodstock. Acid I believe was the drug. Pigpen was a heavy drinker, but hated LSD and other drugs as far as I know. He was probably the one most able to try to sing and lead a song. I also recall Parish, Jerry's guitar tech/roadie, saying the crew was right lit up too that day. Weir has always been to the one willing to step to the mic and tell rambling jokes and weir(d) stories to fill down time. One other bit of speculation on my part, Jerry was known to have a decent amount of stage fright. I bet tripping your head off and looking out at 300,000 people kicks that up a bit.

The Dead never tried to pass off that show as anything other than a muddled mess and one of their worst performances ever. They seemed to have apologized for it and moved on.

I am first and foremost a Deadhead, but CCR is also one of my favorite bands. To me, the entire event, only looked back at in time, transcended any one band's individual performance. I happen to think the video shows them doing quite well, but rather than view any band's performance at Woodstock individually, I choose to see whatever was put out there as part of a much larger cultural event.

As for Dr. Thompson saying that CCR was the best band to see live or the band that puts on the best live shows, I cannot directly dispute that as I never saw CCR live, but, and this is from a person who saw more than a 100 Dead shows, I think the best live band I ever saw was the time my friend took me to see NRBQ at Biddy Mulligan's in Evanston or at the bar on West 4th street in NYC (name of bar escapes me). NRBQ's Live at Yankee Stadium album is amazing and their live shows so full of energy and fun. NRBQ does not do the 30 minute second set Stella Blue.
posted by 724A at 7:20 AM on December 22, 2014


CCR was the greatest American band of the 60s and maybe of all time. Hell, I'd put them above the Stones, too. In the span of two and a half years, they put out five albums, four of them undeniably classics. Three albums in 1969 alone!

The singles released in that time: Susie Q, I Put a Spell on You, Proud Mary, Born on the Bayou, Bad Moon Rising, Lodi, Green River, Down on the Corner, Fortunate Son, Travellin' Band, Who Will Stop the Rain, Up Around the Bend, Run Through the Jungle, Lookin' Out My Back Door, and Long as I Can See the Light.

By any measure, that is just NUTS.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:56 AM on December 22, 2014 [10 favorites]


The 48 minute Lovelight that the Dead played at Woodstock is terrific.

I've never been a serious Dead guy and I probably won't be but I've been exploring their history a little because I wanted to try to understand how the whole thing became what it was/is. And I think a biiig part of the answer, which I didn't really understand before, was Pig. Especially having seen a bit of footage of "Lovelight" live in the 60s.
posted by atoxyl at 10:24 AM on December 22, 2014


Talk about burying the lede:
five (Paul Butterfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Winter and Mountain) who played at Woodstock but never appeared in any film version."
If we can call a time-out on the CCR vs. Dead slap-party, what the actual fuck? Those bands alone would have made for an incredible concert film.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:14 AM on December 22, 2014




I thought the Dead were in the original movie. I guess I had too much brown acid.
posted by thelonius at 12:50 PM on December 22, 2014


Um...You do recall Sha-Na-Na played Woodstock, right?

Never fails to entertain. After all these viewings, I still come away thoroughly impressed by Sha Na Na. As someone brought up on the hippie myth of Woodstock - Hendrix, Country Joe, the Airplane, etc. - I remember being thoroughly confused the first time I watched the film and got to the Sha Na Na bit. So unexpected. And so 'square'. So cool.

Meanwhile, I routinely skip the CSN performance - it's pretty average.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 12:52 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've always suspected hearing the massive groove CCR gets into on this song (and especially the extended version of Susie Q) as a youngster somehow primed me for house / techno / whatever big beat du jour that happened to come along. It's like the heartbeat of the planet, man!
posted by Bron at 2:13 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Never fails to entertain. After all these viewings, I still come away thoroughly impressed by Sha Na Na. As someone brought up on the hippie myth of Woodstock - Hendrix, Country Joe, the Airplane, etc. - I remember being thoroughly confused the first time I watched the film and got to the Sha Na Na bit. So unexpected. And so 'square'. So cool.

I always thought Sha-Na-Na had originally been created with tongue firmly in cheek, pop performance artists or something. Here come the squares, kids! No matter what, though, they're clearly hopped up on something during their set cause that double-time "At The Hop" is insane.
posted by Spatch at 2:53 PM on December 22, 2014


Metafilter: I agree that blaming the Dead is just kind of a Dead-hater trope.
posted by Danf at 4:43 PM on December 22, 2014


As for why it hasn't been released fully: I've heard it's tied up in a rights thing. Even if it's not legally mired, it's the kind of thing that is probably more valuable as licensed material. Not that I know much of anything about this film in particular.
posted by Miko at 7:13 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, it seems it would be worth someone's while to bring the rights-holders to the table & work something out. I'm sure with so many acts & so many labels & publishing companies owning slices of the pie, and the passage of time making it harder to ascertain who those people even are, it would be a daunting task, no doubt. I just wish it could be done, because it should be done. Death + 50 will probably keep this from happening, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:48 AM on December 23, 2014


I love CCR as a quintessentially American band, with deep regional roots. The filming was really good too, considering it was in the middle of the night, wonderfully composed.
posted by Oyéah at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2014


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