Stu Cook was an important element in CCR’s sound. His solid, no nonsense, no flash style really epitomizes a bygone era of 3-4 minute gems created for AM radio and, of course, delicious vinyl. His classic 60/70s tone was faithfully captured on tape for the most part, but some tunes sound more “primitive” or distant than others due to inconsistent engineering.
One huge headache in playing along with these recordings is that the pitch fluctuates from tune to tune, courtesy of the post production people who couldn’t have been bothered to EASILY sync all the tunes to a common standard. Today this problem can easily be fixed with home computer programs or variable speed turntables, but musicians ought to INSIST that the inevitable and unavoidable future “remastered”, “expanded”, “improved” reissues of recordings of this vintage have “standardardised pitch”. “A” 440 is not “A” 435 or “A” 449. Ninety five percent of electronic tuners will be useless here.
As for Stu, I preach that much of these tunes be played on lower strings-flats- in upper positions to obtain that thick, punchy BASS sound. All of the needed notes are readily available with 2nd finger on the lower root and 4th finger on the upper root thus shying away from open strings. When the tune modulates up a full step as two of these demos do, simply move your hand up two frets. This “Upper positions” approach also makes playing and singing much less complicated with much less shifting. You might want to experiment with a bit of foam under your bridge, especially if you have bright, shiny new rounds. Finally, save your lower octave for the final verses or choruses for a fuller dramatic effect. Many pioneering bass players were told to avoid lower notes out of concern that more primitive record pressings of the day would make the needle of the record player jump. Thankfully, those days are gone.
So, the demoed tunes are: Have You Ever Seen the Rain?, Lookin’ Out My Backdoor, Bad Moon Rising, Born on the Bayou, Hello Mary Lou, Midnight Special, Hey Tonight, and Lodi. Open the link below, use headphones, and be prepared to retune! It’s pure fun!!