Cosmo’s Factory was the 5th record released in 2 years by Creedence. But instead of being logically exhausted, it was a moment of glory for the band. John Fogerty returns as the main man, composing all the original songs on the record, providing one of the most gravely voices in rock history, and being the lead guitarist. As he once declared in this moment in his career he saw himself as an “unstoppable force”. It could seem like the band was just him, but the magic attained by the four members wouldn’t be the same after his big brother Tom left the band at the end of the same year (after the release of a new record, Pendulum).
That magic is evident on the very first song, Ramble Tamble, a funky riff, one the whole band gets behind, which leads to a rhythm that seems to have come from the Sun studios in Memphis in 1955, and then Fogerty’s amazing voice, before getting to 2 minutes the song starts to slow down, and starts an extensive instrumental bridge that is pure 70s rock, a jam you could have sworn was the Allman Brothers, the tempo and intensity go back up, and just like that, we return to the rockabilly (with some changes more befitting a jam band). All along this ride, Fogerty straps on his ‘57 Les Paul Custom, a guitar that will reappeared it throughout the entire record.
A milestone sprinkled with a number of Fogerty’s best songs, the marvelous country/rock of Who’ll Stop the Rain, one of the biggest of his career, and Lookin’ Out My Backdoor, a wink to Little Richard on Travelin’ Band, the swampy Run Through the Jungle (another slap at the war in Vietnam as Fortunate Son had done), the rooted rock of Up Around the Bend in which we hear another classic from Fogerty’s collection, his ‘67 Rickenbacker with a built-in Bigsby, the heartfelt soul ballad Long As I Can See the Light, with its lovely sax solo by (who else?) John Fogerty. And to top off this absolute classic, faithful covers of Elvis, Roy Orbison, Bo Diddley, and a brutal jam on I Heard It Through the Grapevine, made popular by Marvin Gaye, that shows the tremendous connection between band members.
Cosmo’s Factory was the culmination of the meteoric career of Creedence Clearwater Revival, their 3rd masterpiece in a row after Green River and Willie and the Poor Boys, the peak of one of the most prolific periods in music history. John Fogerty would go on making good music for decades after but would never reach the perfection of those days where everything he touched turned to gold.