Willy and the Poor Boys by Creedence Clearwater Revival

9 September 2019

Creedence Clearwater Revival was a rock and roll style group that started in 1959, originally as just the would be lead singer and guitarist John Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook, and drummer Doug Clifford. The group played at school dances, fairs, and other small gigs in their early years. The group later had an addition of John Fogerty’s brother Tom Fogerty, a rhythm guitarist and singer, creating the four man group The Blue Velvets. A few years later after a few name changes, the group became Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The album Willy and the Poor Boys came out in 1969 with ten songs total in it. There are two instrumentals and eight lyrical additions. When compared to other previous albums, critics at Rollingstone say that Willy and the Poor Boys is the best. I haven’t listened to all their other albums, but I enjoyed Willy and the Poor Boys more than a previous album, Bayou Country.

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Willy and the Poor Boys opens with the song Down on the Corner, which is a song about a fictional group of kids called Willy and the Poor Boys playing music. The tune is catchy and is a pretty upbeat song.

The next song is It Came out of The Sky which tells a story about a man who saw an object fall out of the sky. The song continues with different groups reacting in different ways, like Hollywood creating a film about it and the Vatican saying that the Lord has come. The song looks at the different ways people react to events in this world. The repetitive music and fun lyrics make this song pretty catchy and was a lot of fun to listen to.

The third song in the album is what could be considered to be a cover of a song by Leadbelly called Cotton Fields. The song is three repeated lines put into different orders, telling the story of recalling living in the cotton fields in Louisiana.

The sixth song in the album is Fortunate Son. This song is pretty exciting and upbeat. The song has been associated with the Vietnam War because the lyrics seemed like they could represent the soldiers fighting the war for all the “fortunate ones” as Fogerty names them.

The next song is Don’t Look Now, which I feel talks about how all of us think we are above doing things that are needed to be done, like coal mining and other jobs that are vital to keep everything moving. The song is sung softly, which makes me feel like Fogerty is singing almost like he regrets being in the position he is in.

Midnight Special, the next song, follows the life of a prisoner who is hoping for the Midnight Special to shine on him. And while I have no trustworthy sources, I saw that the Midnight Special was supposedly a story that if a light was shone on you through your cell window, you would get out of prison soon. Due to the lyrics, I feel that this is pretty close to the correct definition.

The final song in the album is called Effigy. The word effigy can have two meanings, either as a representation of something, usually as a monument, or as a crude representation of someone disliked. I think that Creedence meant to use the second definition as the title of their song. The song itself is about a land burning up with everything being destroyed by the fire. I feel that the band may be referring to the South, which has gone through a lot, and yet is viewed as a terrible place due to things they have done in the past.

The album Willy and the Poor Boys is full of great music and is one that I really enjoyed. Creedence Clearwater Revival is could be considered an old band, but is definitely one worth listening to.

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