Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (Half-Speed Master): Album Review

The 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival masterwork gets the remaster treatment celebrating the 50th Anniversary of its original release.

Release Date:  14th August 2020

Label: Craft Recordings

Formats: 180-gram vinyl

Originally released in July 1970, Cosmo’s Factory was the fifth album release from Creedence Clearwater Revival, unbelievably over a period of just two years.  Generally considered as the band’s ‘pinnacle’ album, it’s a collection that showcases each of the many faces of this remarkable band. 

Whilst their Bay-Area contemporaries were exploring the sonic possibilities of the outer cosmos, Creedence stayed grounded on planet Earth and used the influences of a slightly older generation to inform their varied applications of good ol’ American music.

And it’s all here on Cosmo’s Factory!  There’s the rockabilly of Roy Orbison’s Ooby Dooby, old-fashioned R&B (Bo Diddley’s Before You Accuse Me), an exciting channeling of Little Richard (Travelin’ Band), authentic Bakersfield sound (Lookin’ Out My Back Door) and, quite literally, a collection of some of the best songs that John Fogerty ever wrote (Up Around The Bend, Run Through The Jungle, Who’ll Stop the Rain and the majestic, epic Long As I Can See The Light.)  The band even nod in the direction of psychedelia on the album’s two longest tracks, opener Ramble Tamble and their masterful reworking of the Motown classic, I Heard It Through The Grapevine although even their loosest improvisations in the middle of Grapevine, they do retain a discipline that would be an anathema to the likes of The Dead or The Airplane.

Critically lauded at the time of its release, the album was a massive success for Creedence, hitting the number one spot in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia.  The collection also provided the band with considerable success in the world’s singles charts – Travelin’ Band/Who’ll Stop The Rain, Up Around The Bend/Run Through The Jungle and Long As I Can See The Light/Lookin’ Out My Back Door (all double ’A’ sides, as was John Fogerty’s policy) were all major hits.  The album was certified gold in the US five months after its release and, in 1990, it achieved the fantastic milestone of four million copies sold.

Was it Creedence’s best album?  The music press often infers that was, although with competition like 1969’s Bayou Country or Green River, it’s a close-run thing and I certainly wouldn’t want to put my neck on the line with any such declaration.  Suffice to say that it’s a fantastic, classic album that hasn’t aged a day in the 50 years of its existence.

This new version from Craft Recordings (Craft is Concord’s reissue label and Concord own the rights to the Fantasy catalogue, Creedence’s original label) is being made available on 180-gram vinyl.  The original analogue tapes have been subjected to the process of half-speed remastering; an exacting process which involves playing the audio back at half its recorded speed whilst the cutting lathe is turned at half the desired playback speed.  The technique results in a product that delivers greater sonic clarity and punch.

It’s wonderful to see such a cherished album receive such TLC and this commemorative reissue will be of interest both to Creedence die-hards like myself or, hopefully, as a high-quality entry point to the uninitiated. 

Listen to Long As I Can See The Light here:

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Official Website / Facebook / Twitter

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