AlphaBands – C is for Creedence Clearwater Revival


C is for Creedence Clearwater Revival

CCR is a band most people know–mainly through the two or three of their songs that are in perpetual rotation on pretty much every “classic rock” station everywhere–but who never seem to get mentioned alongside “A-list” bands like the Stones, Beatles, Beach Boys, etc. They’re for sure one of my favorites, though, and I think the short shrift they’re given is probably due for a re-thinking given the (well deserved) cultural prominence that traditional American country and roots music has achieved in the last couple of decades.

The influences CCR were mining in the late 60s were far afield from their contemporaries–who else at the time was peppering their records with covers of “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Cotton Fields”–but seem fairly prescient in light of where popular music’s gone since the “Americana” movement of the late 90s. They were accused in their time as not being as “serious” as their contemporaries, but songs like “Fortunate Son” and “Run Through the Jungle” are as on the nose lyrically as anything else coming out at the time–and they didn’t beat you over the head with their subtext. Heck, even if they weren’t as “serious,” who cares? They wrote and preformed great songs.

I put together a mix tape of some of my favorite CCR songs that you can download here:

Ben’s Fave CCR Tunes

I selected at least one song from each of their records and I deliberately avoided the songs that most folks probably know via radio. This actually wasn’t a difficult task since most of my favorite CCR songs aren’t their biggest hits. The record from which I took the most songs is their penultimate record–and my favorite record–Pendulum. This seems to be most folks’ least favorite CCR record other than their very last one, Mardi Gras, but overlooking it for lack of hits is a big mistake. Among its many virtues is how it showcases the amazing playing of bassist Stu Cook. Listen, for example, to the beautiful but restrained line he comes up with for “It’s Just a Thought.”


Just for fun, here’re a few process images. I did the initial sketch for this in Sketchbook Pro. As you can see, I used a couple of different layers of colored pencils.


(The drawing is based on a picture from a BBC article that I can’t seem to track down again.)

I then inked it in Manga Studio:



I colored it in Manga Studio as well using illustrator Ray Frenden’s new set of watercolor wash brushes. You can find them here.  I’m obviously still figuring out how they work, but I’m really liking them so far.

New canvas

I did all of the work for this drawing other than the coloring on my Surface Pro 2, which was really nice since it allowed me to do the bulk of the drawing either on the couch in the evenings or at my daughter’s cheerleading class!


AlphaBands is a weekly online collaborative project in which illustrators and cartoonists draw a band or musician for one letter of the alphabet each week for 26 weeks. See the art and find out more at the AlphaBands tumblr: http://alphabands.tumblr.com/


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