Creedence Clearwater Revival’s second album Bayou Country is a step forward from their debut – while it’s similar sounding, John Fogerty’s songwriting is more confident, and songs like ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘Born On The Bayou’ are Creedence’s first great originals. Fogerty has stated that the success of ‘Suzie Q’ gave them a pathway to success, but meant that he had to assert his authority over the band: “The other guys in the band insisted on writing songs for the new album, they had opinions on the arrangements, they wanted to sing. They went as far as adding background vocals to ‘Proud Mary,’ and it sounded awful. They used tambourines, and it sounded no better….. Now we had to make the best possible album and it wasn’t important who did what, as long as the result was the very best we could achieve. And of course I was the one who should do it.”
The only cover, ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ is fun, but it’s a light-hearted throwaway next to the Fogerty’s best work. The best known songs, ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘Born On The Bayou’, are the most substantial, but the fun blues of ‘Penthouse Pauper’ make up a solid album track. There are a couple of longer songs that finish each side of the original LP – the loping groove of ‘Graveyard Train’ outstays its welcome, but ‘Keep On Choogling’ is energetic with Fogerty’s stinging guitar.
The band are generally still too reliant on blues forms for Bayou Country to be their best work, but it’s consistently enjoyable and another step forward for the band.