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Review: Various Artists, 'Quiero Creedence'

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

<em>Quiero Creedence </em>
/ Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist
Quiero Creedence

Creedence Clearwater Revival sometimes sounded like a damned good Latin band. The group often nailed the slightly mambo-esque R&B groove that Ray Charles and countless blues bands used to sultry effect. Think "Born On The Bayou" or "Run Through The Jungle," or even the Cuban bolero feel of "Who'll Stop The Rain."

So a few years ago, when producer Juan Manuel Caipo told me about an idea he'd had about remaking CCR songs with Latin Alternative artists, I thought, "Hmm, I can hear that." Quiero Creedence is a brilliantly conceived and executed collection of Latin artists expressing their appreciation for CCR.

The collection offers a few genre-specific remakes, as well as a few artists who step outside their comfort zones: Mexican pop star Juan Gabriel (who almost never uses anyone else's lyrics) sings "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?"; Ozomatli turns "Bad Moon Rising" into a multicultural rave-up; Mexican rock band El Tri transforms the river in "Proud Mary" into the Rio Grande and transforms the song into a statement on the perils of immigration and the unending search for work "en este lado" (on this side); and ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons is paired with La Marisoul, the lead singer of La Santa Cecilia, for an inspired "Green River."

Taken collectively, Quiero Creedence exemplifies the power of a great song to inspire — not through note-for-note homages, but with creative reimagining.

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Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.