Burn on the Bayou: a Heavy Underground Tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival

Tribute Albums can be a minefield, depending on whom the chosen artist is that is being given the (sometimes dubious) honour of having their songs covered. Black Sabbath have countless tributes and have had every possible band from the Giants (Metallica) to the bizarre (Busta Rhymes) cover them with extremely mixed results. For every White Zombie and 1000 Homo D.J.s sublime covers of Children of the Grave and Supernaught theflip side is the absolute travesty of Emerald Sabbath (I kid you not) consisting of anyone with the most tenuous connection to Sabbath (Dave Walker, Neil Murray, Bev Bevan) murdering their songs. 


The first hurdle of any tribute album is avoiding the obvious (Sabbath, Lizzy, Purple etc) picking an artist well known but not covered to point of saturation. So, Credit to Ripple Music A whip smart choice of a tribute and overall executed with style. With Burn on the Bayou the first hurdle has been easily jumped. Creedence Clearwater Revivals music is part of the tapestry of contemporary music, and except for a few tracks is not overplayed. The sold-out tour by John Fogerty shows the popularity of these songs continues. Further evidence is provided by the sheer number of bands that lined up to contribute to this album. Thirty-two songs in all. The logistics of pulling all this together does not even bare thinking about.


The second hurdle is the question of how to approach the material? Do you treat it as a sacred cow and colour between the lines, alternatively do you burn the sacred cow on a spit and rebuild it in your own image using your own set of crayons? The approach of these bands is pitched somewhere in between with some doing very respectable, very well played covers. However as good as these are it is the bands that reinvent the songs that jump out here.


Kicking the album off, is the first Band, Ripple ever issued an album by. JPT Scare band cover “Run through the Jungle” giving it an eerie atmosphere. The fact they reformed specifically for this tribute is a nice touch and a tribute to Ripple Music itself. The first real WOW! moment is “Susi Q” by Cities of Mars with Susy Bravo. It is turned into a duet that conjures up a swampy voodoo groove that moves at the pace of Molasses. Cortez follows this by picking the less known Gloomy. While they move at the same pace as the previous track, they emphasize the doom, and it fairly crushes.


Right in the middle of the album lands “Pagan Baby” and “Ramble Tamble”. C.C.R. always had an undercurrent of swagger to their music and both these songs have been screaming out for heavy covers (Mainly it’s been me doing the screaming, but you get the point). Doublestone take the riff of Pagan Baby and distort and supercharge it. All the latent menace in the song comes to the fore and when it takes off it will take your head with it. End of Age completely strip Ramble Tamble to its bare bones then dismissing slightly country vibe instead dress it in a heavy psych skin pinballing vocally, between a disembodied astral projection and primal scream. The real genius of this arrangement is taking the originals melodic middle section and turning it in to a guitar heavy coda that I didn’t want to end. To my ears these two tracks are the highlight of the album. I freely admit I’m biased as these are my two all-time favourite C.C.R. songs.

Great Electric Quest continue with a truly surprising take on “Cotton Fields”. Kind rebuilds “I heard it through the Grapevine” in a similar vein. Considering C.C.R. themselves reconstructed this Marvin Gaye song in their own image, this is a double tribute. Grapevine. Version 0.2 possibly? Both Great Electric Quest and Kind channels the sound of New Orleans and the spirit of Corrosion of Conformity. (This is a very good thing).


There are naturally much better-known songs in the catalogue the two best known C.C.R. songs are represented here Bad Moon Rising and Proud Mary with has to be said, mixed results. Lightning Born take on proud Mary and to be fair, it rocks along nicely, without straying too far from the original. Its decent and well played but High Priestess take Bad Moon Rising and turn it into a Gothic Hymn that drips Existential Dread and that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tim Burton Movie. The Goth is also very strong with Stonebirds. In the most audacious move on the album, they take “Who’ll stop the Rain” and turn it from heartfelt ballad into a howl from beyond the crypt. Both tracks are a masterclass in how to do a cover and two more album highlights.


Taken in one sitting, it’s not only a fitting tribute to C.C.R. but a great album to have with a few (or several) beers while playing very loud (selfless as I am to you the reader, I volunteered myself in a test of this theory just to make sure…. ahem). 


As individual tracks they are some very good covers and some astonishing ones. My preference has always been for covers by bands that rip up the maps and find their own way to the destination. On that criteria a good portion of the artists here have outdone themselves. Overall, its a swampy, rockin, tribute album that does what it says on the label…


Now what about a tribute concert??? Over to you Ripple…