Sweet mama this is one great album. Released at a moment when everybody knew that Creedence Clearwater Revival was pretty damn good, Cosmo’s Factory managed to live up to the expectations of that moment. Most of it has never been off the radio in 42 years: “Travelin’ Band,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” and the magnificent “Up Around the Bend,” the searing twosome of “Ramble Tamble” and “Run Through the Jungle,” 11 swampy minutes of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” the psychedelic country anthem “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” and the beautiful “Long As I Can See the Light.”
The 40th anniversary edition, released in 2008, includes a remade take of “Travelin’ Band,” a live “Up Around the Bend” recorded in 1971, and a version of “Born on the Bayou” which is subtitled “Jam with Booker T. at Fantasy Studios.” The track was recorded the night before Booker T. and the MGs opened for CCR (holy smokes I need me a time machine) in Oakland at a show captured for posterity by documentary cameras–the first segment of which appears at the top of this post. It’s the show that was eventually released on record as The Concert in 1980.
Cosmo’s Factory hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart on August 22, 1970, and stayed put for nine weeks, before being knocked out by another San Francisco Bay-area act, which will be covered in our next installment.