American bass guitarist Stuart Alden Cook was born on April 25, 1945. He is best known for his work with the rock group Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), for which he is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member.
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Why Did CCR Breakup?
It was difficult to find a band that was as dysfunctional and inwardly shattered in 1972 as Creedence Clearwater Revival. Creedence, once at the vanguard of popular music, were now irreparably broken. The band’s rhythm section, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford, were tired of lead singer John Fogerty’s autocratic control over the group, and things were getting out of hand. Guitarist Tom Fogerty had quit the previous year. Depending on which side you ask, what happened next is debatable, but the outcome was unquestionably a catastrophe.
If you ask Fogerty, Cook and Clifford sought to be given an equal writing and vocal credit on the group’s upcoming album, something they had never done or requested on any of the band’s other records. Cook and Clifford claimed that all they sought was more influence over big choices and the chance to contribute more before Fogerty compelled them to take on responsibilities they weren’t ready for in an obvious effort to torpedo the excellent ship known as Creedence Clearwater Revival. Both stories appear to include some aspects of truth, yet the public was given Mardi Gras regardless of what actually occurred.
Ten songs make up Mardi Gras, four of which were performed by Fogerty. The remaining six songs were equally split between Cook and Clifford. The music of John Fogerty is good but not very memorable. ‘Sweet Hitch Hiker’ is joyful and raucous in their trademark way, and ‘Someday Never Comes’ is a beautiful late-period CCR tune, but the uninspired Everly Brothers rendition of ‘Hello Mary Lou’ and the sluggish album opener ‘Looking For a Reason’ are terrible additions to the band’s discography. By this time, Fogerty was obviously unhinged, and the majority of his performing on the record reflects that.
The inclusion of the work from the other participants is even more perplexing. Cook has a voice that could take paint from a wall, and Clifford has a drawl that sounds like a country bumpkin and is almost unbearable. It is disrespectful to refer to these songs as slogs. They all move in a strange country shuffle that alternates between speeding up and slowing down but never actually changes. Cook and Clifford undoubtedly had faith in their compositions, but they couldn’t have been so naive as to assume they had produced something deserving of the Creedence label after hearing these results.
The fact that the band members openly talk shit about each other in the songs is a fascinating part of Mardi Gras, even though there isn’t much joy to be had. Or, more specifically, that Cook openly disparages Fogerty in a handful of his songs. Thinly disguised jabs at Fogerty are made in the songs “Take It Like a Friend” and “Sail Away,” which play as the most petty and spiteful compositions from someone whose side you can’t take since the songs are so awful. Cook’s criticisms could have been excused if his songs had catchy melodies to support them, but the fact that he almost chokes on his remarks is not encouraging.
Mardi Gras might be the worst-performing, oddest-sequenced, and self-destructive album ever released by a professional rock band. When Cook and Clifford claim that the entire situation was foisted upon them so that Fogerty could find a way out of the band, it’s enough to make you believe they are speaking the truth. Of course, Fogerty was able to leave, but not before his solo career was put on hold for almost ten years due to a lawsuit filed by the head of his former label. Cook and Clifford afterwards formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited, which currently enjoys touring low-end casinos.
Tom Fogerty passed away in 1990, but the band’s remaining members continue to harbour a bitter rivalry that hasn’t abated at all in fifty years. Mardi Gras will commemorate its 50th anniversary in April of next year, but there won’t be any deluxe reissues released. Mardi Gras was an idiotic and futile attempt to save a band that had already lost all hope. No matter how talented they may be at singing or composition, the outcomes are a disgrace to the Creedence Clearwater Revival moniker and everyone involved should be ashamed of it.