Quiero Creedence is the Latin tribute album to legendary rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival
July 29 release features covers of CCR’s greatest songs by some of the top Latin artists from across the world including Juan Gabriel, Andrés Calamaro, Bunbury, Enjambre, Los Enanitos Verdes, Juanes, Los Lonely Boys, Ozomatli, La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia and El Tri
The legendary Creedence Clearwater Revival was America's ultimate Top 40 band of the late 1960s, many of their singles now placing high on the "greatest rock hits of all time” lists and in the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, with the band itself long enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
But it wasn’t just the United States of America where CCR topped the charts. As Quiero Creedence now underscores, the band, which was so identified with a sound called "swamp rock,” was big throughout all of Latin America, both then and now.
The Latin-inspired, multilingual tribute album to Creedence includes covers of the band’s greatest songs by some of the biggest Latin artists from around the world including Juan Gabriel, Bunbury, Andrés Calamaro, Enjambre, Los Enanitos Verdes, Juanes, Los Lonely Boys, Ozomatli, La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia, El Tri, Diamante Eléctrico, Los Lobos, as well as Billy Gibbons. As these names indicate, the set (the title of which translates as "I Want Creedence”) spans a variety of genres and decades—and totals a social media reach of over 40 million fans for the participating artists.
The first single from Quiero Creedence will be Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel’s Spanish version of "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”
"Juan is so excited for it to be a single,” says Gustavo Farias, who produced the track. "He immediately started tweeting to let his fans know about the summer release—and that it’s nothis song! Everyone’s freaking out because over 40 years, it’s the first song that he’s ever recorded that he didn’t write. So he’s really breaking ground.”
Himself an avowed CCR fan who listened mostly to them, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin growing up in Mexico, Farias nervously tracked Gabriel’s vocals on a laptop in a hotel room in the Mexican border state of Sonora—home to heavy drug smuggling. They returned there a couple weeks later when Gabriel was shooting a video, then tacked on a video shoot—in the middle of a jungle and with a total image change—to accompany the "Have You Ever Seen the Rain? (Gracias al Sol)” single.
"It’s my favorite CCR song, and I didn’t mess with it—just added a couple small mariachi guitars, vihuelas, to give it a little funky feeling,” adds Farias. "There are a couple nice violin lines, too, so there’s a little of Juan Gabriel’s personality and the essence of Creedence.”
For vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Marciano Cantero of Argentinean rock band Los Enanitos Verdes, the band’s English recording of CCR’s hit "Travelin’ Band” completes a circle.
"When I was a kid I’d go to the swimming pool with my brother every day in the summer and hear their music!” Cantero recalls. "So they’re one of my favorite bands, and to be invited to participate on this record completes a circle—and we’re also a traveling band! So it’s a very happy song for us, and we’ll be including it in our repertoire when we play live.”
Los Lonely Boys’ bassist/vocalist JoJo Garza likewise recalls growing up in western Texas to the sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival, in addition to traditional conjunto, country music and rock.
"My dad must have really loved them, because we were always hearing CCR on 8-tracks—other than my dad and his brothers,” says Garza, whose band consists of three brothers and whose father Ringo Garza, Sr. had also formed a band with his brothers called The Falcones. "They had a swampy sound and feel, but it was almost like a Texas sound to us that was very special, that our father passed on to Los Lonely Boys and that we’re passing down to our kids—and hopefully far beyond. So this is a total dream come true.”
In recording "Born on the Bayou,” then, "we get to let our colors shine—because it’s a part of us,” continues Garza. "We used to do Creedence songs like ‘Suzie Q’ and ‘I Put a Spell on You’ at gigs, but we were always scared to play ‘Born on the Bayou’ because we didn’t want to mess it up! But when the opportunity came we felt it was finally time for us to do it right and put our Latin twist on it so that more Latinos know about Creedence and what they did for music and for people: They stood for the working man and the ones who had to do the fighting, and they were American and made a huge statement for our people. And we’re going through a lot of the same things they were going through now, so it’s almost perfect timing—and such a big honor for us.”
Producer/instrumentalist and Futuro Sonico founder Juan Manuel Caipo fuses rock andcumbia and rap on his Bay Area band Bang Data’s cover of "Fortunate Son.” But Caipo also had a hand in producing other artists on Quiero Creedence and has been in on the project since its inception.
"I’d always thought that Latin music and musicians were stereotyped,” says Caipo, "but we have rock, pop, electro, disco, funk—every genre, and so many of the artists were influenced by Creedence, but people never have heard that.”
He recalls a record company friend once suggesting that he cover a Creedence song.
"It stuck in my head, and then I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to do a tribute album with artists from all over Latin America?’ And we started slowly and organically, with every band doing their own take on songs they grew up with.”
Caipo serves as executive producer of Quiero Creedence, along with Dan Monahan, Criteria Entertainment CEO/founder—and former head of Capitol Latin—Diana Rodríguez and Concord Label Group president John Burk. He was performing with Bang Data in San Francisco when he mentioned his CCR tribute idea to Rodríguez, whose Colombian roster act V for Volume was also on the bill.
"He said how they were such a landmark, iconic band, that people across the world looked up to and marked a certain time in their lives—and I agreed completely,” says Rodríguez. "The first three artists to come on board were Bunbury, Los Lonely Boys and Los Enanitos Verdes, to whom we are eternally grateful. Then Los Lobos and Band of Bitches and Enjambre and the others, and slowly but surely it all came together with a good mix of established names and upcoming artists that shows how Creedence was a very important influence on both.”
John Burk, who also helped produce Andrés Calamaro’s "Long as I Can See the Light,” became involved after Rodríguez approached him at a Recording Academy function in Los Angeles. CCR’s classic Fantasy Records catalog, of course, is released through Concord.
"Being a fan of Latin music, I loved the idea of working with Latin artists to celebrate the far reaching influence of one of the greatest rock bands of the era, as well as the timeless songs of John Fogerty, so we decided to get involved,” notes Burk, who has produced Latin music artists including Tito Puente, Poncho Sanchez and Mongo Santamaría.
"It was great fun to see how creatively each band interpreted the songs, and their reverence for the music. Perhaps the most enthusiastic response came from Juan Gabriel. I asked my friend Gustavo Farias if Juan might be interested in getting involved, and he called me the next day and said, ‘he’s so excited, we’re recording next week.’ We were all thrilled and blown away when we heard Juan’s amazing interpretation of ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain?’ And that’s the kind of experience we’ve had with all the artists’ interpretations.”
Caipo adds, "It’s not just for Latinos and Spanish speakers, since a lot of it is in English. But it’s such good music and it carries weight and has lasted for a long time. Walk into a bar in Mexico in the middle of nowhere, or Brazil or anywhere in the world, and you hear Creedence songs. I lived in Peru and Creedence was everywhere, always.”
As Rodríguez notes, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s songs are "timeless classics for all of us.” Quiero Creedence, she adds, is "an acknowledgement of all that work that touched a lot of people’s lives.”
She concludes, "I remember that day backstage with Juan Manuel in San Francisco and saying, ‘Hell, yeah! Let’s do this!’ and now it’s a reality that has surpassed all our expectations.”