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8.19-SUZIE Q (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Creedence Clearwater Revival

LISTEN

[Intro]

Oh, Suzie Q, Oh, Suzie Q,
Oh, Suzie Q, baby I love you, Suzie Q.

I like the way you walk, I like the way you talk;
I like the way you walk, I like the way you talk, Suzie Q.

[Break]

Well, say that you'll be true; well, say that you'll be true,
Well, say that you'll be true, and never leave me blue, Suzie Q.

Well, say that you'll be mine; well, say that you'll be mine,
Well, say that you'll be mine, baby all the time, Suzie Q.

[Break]

[Refrain]

[Repeat 1st verse]

[Refrain]

[Coda]


After Suzie Q, Creedence Clearwater Revival proved to be a more traditionally oriented group, perfect for the post-John Wesley Harding Americana that was becoming more popular as the months of 1968 rolled on. The group would abandon psychedelia after their first hit and the concurrent I Put a Spell on You, both developed from the 1950s Black Cajun swamp rock. Creedence Clearwater was a San Francisco group that continued to project a Cajun persona, but opted for a more mainstream tone of the traditional American South which would win them larger audience. In the beginning, however, with Suzie Q, John Fogerty (according to a quote found in Wikipedia) seems to be saying he needed to cloak the blues in psychedelia to introduce himself to underground radio and be taken seriously. In so doing, Creedence Clearwater Revival erased a distinction between the two genres that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had hidden and Cream had kept discreet.

Suzie Q marks a time when the psychedelic aesthetic had begun to become an ornament to serve another set of assumptions about the beautiful. With this song, psychedelic music was just one option among many with which to sell your song, a pass into markets that hadn't been fashionable before. The psychedelic aesthetic, when compared to the Rolling Stones rock & roll production of the same song in 1964, seems to have opened up the form of Suzie Q to long guitar solos. This selection for Psychedelic Masterworks is the single version; the album Creedence Clearwater Revival contained a version over eight minutes long. Technology is used to process Fogerty’s voice into different modalities in order to break up the monotony. But the rollout of psychedelic effects seems casual and the performance itself continuous with a traditional live blues track.


COMMENTS

From 1959, the group's lead singer had been Tom Fogerty, until midway through the Golliwogs, when John asserted dominance and took over lead vocals. As the group matured, Tom sang less and less – his little bro's voice was stronger.

Suzie Q was to be the newly minted CCR's first single, and the band developed their version to trade off verses. Tom took verse 2. Thus, even though everyone knows John Fogerty as Creedence's one true voice, Suzie Q's 2nd verse is in fact Tom's vocal! However, John doubted that panning alone would be enough to highlight this vocal distinction, so he had Tom's EQ altered. (He later expressed regret that the "phone box" effect dated the track.)

I always liked Creedence in totality, though never more than its psychedelic-influenced first album, with its gravestone-shaped cover art and (while the rest of the pop world was going on about peace and love!) paranoid songs about ghostly visitations, pursuit by murderous mobs, casting spells in the swamp, etc. Yet the album's sharpest flavor surely must be the pure insanity of that insistent, squawking, squealing, shrieking guitar (a Rick played thru a Kustom, I believe), which thereafter got toned down. And this desperate screech was given its fullest expression in Suzie Q. [Mike D.]

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