Creedence Clearwater Revival – Midnight Special

When I hear John’s voice and that tremolo on guitar I can feel the hairs on my neck rise. John’s voice was just as much of an instrument as his guitar.

In Alan Lomax’s book Folk Song USA, the Midnight Special was a real train… the Southern Pacific Golden Gate Limited. A traditional folk song, Leadbelly popularized it upon his release from Sugar Land prison in Texas, where he could hear the Midnight Special come through. In the song, the light of the train gives the inmates hope: if it shines on them they take it as a sign they will soon go free.

Midnight Special was on the album Willy and the Poorboys. The album peaked at #3 in the Billboard Album Charts. CCR’s version of Midnight Special didn’t chart. Only two versions of the song have reached the US Billboard Hot 100…one by Paul Evans in 1960 and Johnny Rivers in 1965.


The Midnight Special

Well, you wake up in the mornin’, you hear the work bell ring
And they march you to the table to see the same old thing
Ain’t no food upon the table, and no pork up in the pan
But you better not complain, boy, you get in trouble with the man

Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me
Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me
Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me
Let the Midnight Special shine a everlovin’ light on me

Yonder come miss Rosie, how in the world did you know?
By the way she wears her apron, and the clothes she wore
Umbrella on her shoulder, piece of paper in her hand
She come to see the gov’nor, she wants to free her man


If you’re ever in Houston, well, you better do the right
You better not gamble, there, you better not fight, at all
Or the sheriff will grab ya and the boys will bring you down
The next thing you know, boy, Oh! You’re prison bound

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

39 thoughts on “Creedence Clearwater Revival – Midnight Special”

    1. That is me also but on this song…it has few challengers…I like Johnny Rivers and all but compared to this? John made it his own.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dude…I have THOSE amps…they are called “Kustom” I have around 4 from 1967-1971 and a few with the built in tremolo. Some people don’t like those amps because the sound doesn’t break…it’s hard to overload them…I just use an overdrive box if I want distortion.
      I’ll snap a picture soon. I played one and liked it so much a few years ago that I bought a few of them. I have them between 100-300 watts.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 300 watts!!! geez…an amp to bring down the house!!! I’ve heard of kustom – think they still make smaller combos. That trem circuit (bias i think) was absolutely lush. Love to see your amps. Do a post about them

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I sure will…The new Kustom’s are ok but those old ones stand up nice…like I said you can push the hell out of them and they won’t distort.


    1. John it’s that tremolo and that voice…I guess it’s the mood it sets. I also have to say…it was used in the Twilight Zone movie in the best part…and it was very effective…. sometimes a song in a movie…even a bad one sets it for life for a person.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you do becasue some of the comments I got it doesn’t seem people feel about it the way we do. It sets a mood to me. I don’t see how it can be done better.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They are probably my favorite American band of all time. It seems that most people no matter if they like country, heavy metal, or anything else…like CCR.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have 4 of those amps from 1967-1971 and a Kustom PA. I love those amps! I like the vintage ones much more than the modern ones.
      When Hanser Holdings bought them they started to get cheap. Bud Ross built them right. They are like tanks.


      1. Yes it is.
        Your disc is very close to Chronicle One…you have one more cover than the other does… Ooby Dooby…and I don’t think Chronicle one or two has that one.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Love that tune for exactly the reasons you highlighted, i.e., the cool guitar sound and Fogerty’s vocals! The other tune I also really dig from that album is “Fortunate Son” – another great guitar intro and more of Fogerty’s great vocals!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s also a fantastic illustration that rock doesn’t have to be complicated to be great. That guitar intro is brilliantly simple.

        CCR had many great songs. I guess if I could only choose one, I’d go with “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can’t go wrong with any of them. They had some of the best double A sided singles that I’ve seen…

        Liked by 1 person

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