Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Paul Revere And The Raiders

Three years ago I attempted to put into words the legacy of Paul Revere And The Raiders and their music.  This the original posting on the Record World Blog  http://rscrabb.blogspot.com/2011/04/crabb-bits-mel-mcdaniel-paul-revere.html

Three years on and the death of Paul Revere got me to return to their recordings and revisit what I thought of their 2 CD Essential Paul Revere And The Raiders, overall time has shown that was the best overview.  Basically the more scattershot Legend Of Paul Revere, the bloated 2 CD set Columbia issued in 1990 turned out the be the better overall overview.  More that album shows the tale of the two Paul Revere And The Raiders bands; the first the overall party band led by Revere and the second the more hit laden and pop leanings  of Mark Lindsay.   The liner notes to the 1990 best of by William Ruhlmann are a must read.  With both Paul and Mark providing insights it does show that the band had inner struggles between the two performers all the way back to when Lindsay popped up onstage in the early beginnings of The Raiders and impressing Paul to let him into the band.  It also shows that Lindsay can be full of himself at times too, whereas Revere remained the fun loving rock and roll guy who specialized in bad jokes and taking Louie Louie down the road further than the Kingsmen, though that band had the bigger hit.  It was sloppy fun, The Raiders' version was more jammy and since Lindsay didn't sing much of the song outside of Louie Louie hook line the song wouldn't dent the top 100. The Legend Of Paul Revere, the best of, is looked upon as one cd dedicated to the covers and the party time feeling of their leader, while the second focuses on Lindsay's studio version of the Raiders, more sessionmen than band members, which did struck a nerve on The Raiders themselves, three of them moved over to The Brotherhood and making two albums for RCA.  In their place, Freddy Weller and Keith Allison, more polished musicians would take their place.

The fun band that Paul Revere envisioned made recordings for Gardena and had a number 38 hit in 1961 with Like Long Hair or Beatnik Sticks and are on The Legend Of P.R. Mojo Workout, a sprawling two cd set that Sundazed put out in 2000 shows the dirty R and B and early rock songs that Paul liked.  Problem was Mark Lindsay couldn't deliver them in the same way.  Good example was the uncharting Over You, which Aaron Neville did much better.  And in these changing times, it's a bit creepy hearing Lindsay singing he's going to  kill his love interest if she goes cheating on him. Mojo Workout taken on its own is nice party music for the early 60s, the covers well known and chosen but Linsday can't sing them that well.  But then on track 18, when Steppin Out comes marching in, they were on to garage rock and that's when Lindsay does come into his own, the material is better suited for him rather than Over You or Slippin And Slidin'.

The big success of their hits, Terry Melcher gets full credit and he had a way to make the songs and hooks sound better.  In fact AM radio was perfect for Him Or Me What's It Gonna Be, or Kicks.  The albums themselves were peppered with R and B or an occasional ballad.  Just Like Us might have been the perfect introduction to The Raiders, with even Drake Levin and Mike Smith singing a song or two.  Here They Come is a half live half studio affair and the live side captures the craziness of a Paul Revere concert.  It's good fun to hear Louie Louie live and them romping through Do You Love Me or lead off You Can't Sit Down, a song that features that rare Mark Lindsay's sax solo. The studio side, showed The Raiders trying their best to cover Time Is On My Side, although it pales next to The Stones or Irma Thomas. They also cover PF Sloan on These Are Bad Times For Me And My Baby.  Not a total wasted effort but Here They Come is the first true Raiders album, in search of their own sound.

Midnight Ride was better, with Kicks being the big hit and Not Your Stepping Stone a album cut classic, it could have been a hit single for them, but The Monkees beat them to it.  Amazingly when the band was going through changes The Spirit Of 67 and Revolution remain my favorite albums from them.  By then Paul Revere was more interested in their live performances so it was Mark Lindsay and Terry Melcher with some studio musicians coming in to help; Hal Blaine is on Him Or Me (not Jim Gordon as rumors have it)  Spirit Of 67 features The Great Airplane Strike which gives The Rolling Stones a run for their money. Mark dominates the singing with Fang and Mike Smith singing one song apiece. Revolution is their heaviest album...and their strangest.  Some of the songs appeared in mono, the most oddest is Make It With Me, which Lindsay's vocals are buried in the fuzz, even the backing vocals are mixed higher up.  Only Paul Revere appears as the other vocalist on Ain't Nobody Can Do It Like Leslie Can (mixed in mono).  The CD version, now out or print and commanding high prices has an extended Him Or Me and The Legend Of Paul Revere (the song). The haunting I Hear A Voice, to which Mark and The Raiders sing along to a moody Revere piano.  Their finest moment.

Once Terry Melcher left to do other things, Lindsay took over production and they went pop with each new album.  Influenced by Sgt Pepper, Something Happening, is more Magical Mystery Tour with the oddball horns, and stop start bridges (Too Much Talk).  Being on Dick Clark's Where The Action Is  in the afternoon opened up new doors, but it also begins a bubblegum type of pop that I don't think Lindsay envisioned and has said that Melcher was missed big time.  Something Happening, while more polished wasn't as memorable as Revolution, only Don't Take It So Hard saves the album from being more slight.  Hard And Heavy With Marshmellow, another play on words by Mark is even more bubblegum with Mr. Sun And Mr. Moon, but the record is saved by the four minute and more mysterous sounding Cinderella Sunshine (A 2 minute up tempo track became a 45 but to these ears not as essential) and perhaps it's was becoming that The Raiders were trying to keep up with The Monkees. Only this time The Monkees made a better album.

Alias Pink Puzz is the final good album, and for the first time since The Spirit Of 67, the other Raiders add their two cents worth, most notably Keith Allison's Freeborn Man, which is more country than rock. In some ways I look at Pink Puzz like I do at the S/T Association album, it does show the bands doing something more different than the bubblegum pops that Lindsay was turning them out to be.  I'm not sure how radio mistook them for another band when Let Me came out under the Pink Puzz name, Lindsay has a distinctive voice  and if the fool radio programmer was didn't know that, he surely would by the MA MA MA MAA scream at end of song.   Collage, the next album, a lot of people like more but for me it was more a letdown. This record has more to do with the Monkees' Head album rather than Sgt Pepper's and Lindsay remade Tighter and Gone Movin On to a more polished but lest interesting version.  The problem of this album is that it's too bizarre, and Lindsay trying to keep up with the times made a dated effort, the screams all over Sorceress With The Blue Eyes or Dr. Fine makes one reach for the Fast Forward button. And Just Seventeen is just a bad song overall, probably the worst song they ever put out since Over You.  It's not all a wasted effort, We Gotta All Get Together in single form is fairly good till the last minute and half drags it down, a cover of Laura Nyro's Save The Country and Interlude (To Be Forgotten) are highlights.  But I tend to look at Collage is one of the more overrated albums of the 60s, even from Paul Revere And The Raiders themselves.

By then, Lindsay convinced Revere to change the name to The Raiders and in 1971 they finally scored their first and only number 1 hit with Indian Reservation. The album itself is famous for Mike Smith returning back to drums.  But the album itself is all over the place, there are some questionable remakes (the world could live without with Eve Of Destruction) and Max Frost and The Troopers aren't losing sleep over The Shape Of Things To Come.  Although I think Lindsay showed some music taste in covering Come In You'll Get Phenomena (the Easybeats song) the problem was he lacked the vocal and arrangement to pull it off. The success of the single enabled Columbia to release another album and the final one was the uneven Country Wine.  First side is good, the title track, Power Blue Mercedes Queen (with a riff taken from Mississippi Queen) standouts, but side 2 whatever Lindsay came up with, the songs simply were awful and ranks with the worst that they ever done.  The failure of their 1974 single All Over You, a Bob Dylan song made their label decide to not issue another album and the Raiders decade long association with Columbia was over, sans a forgotten 1975 single Gonna Have A Good Time b/w the bland Your Love which appears on the now deleted and hard to find Complete Columbia Singles on Collector's Choice Music.  By then Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere decided to go their own ways.  Revere would form his own Raiders in the late 70s, and instead of doing new recordings, stayed true to his vision of being a fun and party band, playing the hits and doing comedy skits and routines and become one of the most loved entertainers till his death.  Lindsay's latest album actually sounds more rocking to the early Raiders rather than the MOR pop he was doing in the late 60s and early 70s: having hits with Arizona and Silverbird.  The Real Gone Columbia Singles of Mark Lindsay CD, warts and all isn't bad.  In 2013 Mark released Life Out Loud and is by far his most rocking album to date. It does actually recall a lot of Spirit Of 67 or Revolution, it's a shame that Mark didn't go this way after those albums.

In some ways The Complete Columbia Singles a great beginning and end saga of the happenings of Paul Revere And The Raiders and if you can find it fairly cheap is the recommended overview.  But it also documents the downfall as well.  The Raiders really begin to lose their ID on the 3rd CD.  A development of being wild garage rockers that gave The Wailers a run for their money to a garage rock sound and then on to pop bubblegum.  Cheaper alternatives remain the latest 2 CD best of Paul Revere And The Raiders or even the first Paul Revere And The Raiders Greatest Hits revision with a few bonus tracks tacked on for better value. Sundazed used to have all of the Paul Revere And The Raiders' classic 60s album but most have fallen out of print, as of this writing only Just Like Us, Mojo Workout, Midnight Ride are in print.  However Raven Records down under has kept their albums in print, including Indian Reservation/Collage as a 2 on 1 CD. They also packaged the first five Columbia albums on a double value 2 cd set.  Something Has Happened includes the next four (Goin To Memphis, Something Happening, Hard And Heavy, Pink Puzz) into a 2 CD set.  So if you buy these two Raven packages you will have the complete Paul Revere on Columbia collection.  The Aussies seem to take great pride in preserving music that the Sony Music here in the states has given up years ago.  I still hold claim that their 1972 All Time Greatest Hits is the go to album but since that has never on CD, it's a moot point but if you do come across it, it's still worth a listen.

But being the madman in rock and roll Paul Revere, bless his heart, lived his dream to the fullest, when Jack White made a comment about how old men can't rock anymore, Revere told him to put up or shut up, but White never took the challenge.  His loss.  But what we all know, Paul Revere remained the real deal, and never a phoney or fake. Thankfully, his recordings will continue to live on, making new fans who don't get the new rock of today.  Or just get tired of whatever Jack White is putting down.


Here They Come (Columbia 1964) B+
Just Like Us (Sundazed Reissue) B+
Midnight Ride (Columbia 1966) B+
Spirit Of 67 (Columbia 1967) A-
Paul Revere And The Raiders Greatest Hits (Columbia 1967 revised 1999) A-
Revolution! (Columbia 1967) A-
Gone To Memphis (Columbia 1968) C+
Something Happening (Columbia 1968) B-
Hard And Heavy (With Marshmellow-Columbia 1968) B-
Alias Pink Puzz (Columbia 1969) B+
Collage (Columbia 1970) B-
Indian Reservation (Columbia 1971) B-
Country Wine Plus (Raven 2011) C+
All Time Greatest Hits (Columbia 1972) A-
A Christmas Past...And Present (Koch Reissue 2007) B
The Legend Of Paul Revere (Columbia 1990) B
The Essential Ride 63-67) (Columbia 1996) A-
Mojo Workout (Sundazed 2000) B
The Complete Columbia Singles (Collector's Choice 2010) A-
The Essential Paul Revere & The Raiders (Columbia 2011) B+

Mark Lindsay-Arizona/Sliverbird (Collectibles 2 on 1-1971) C
You've Got A Friend (Columbia 1973) B-
The Complete Columbia Singles of Mark Lindsay (Real Gone 2012) B
Life Out Loud (Bongo Boy 2013)  B+

Here They Come/Just Like Us/Midnight Ride/Spirit Of 67/Revolution (Raven Import 2011) A-
Something Is Happening/Hard And Heavy/Alias Pink Puzz (Raven Import 2012) B+
Indian Reservation/Collage (Raven Import) B-
Country Wine Plus (Raven Import 2013) C+

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