Saturday, November 21, 2009

THE RAIDERS incredible "Revolution!" album

A little while ago, I was asked by Popular 1 magazine in Spain to write about ONE album that is very special to me and underrated by everyone else. I chose “Revolution!” by Paul Revere & The Raiders (featuring Mark Lindsay) for reasons I explain below.

And worry not dear readers, I will surely be writing more about the Raiders in the future…

Originally published in Popular 1 magazine (Spain) for their special 400th issue in 2007.

Artist: PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS Featuring Mark Lindsay
Release Date: 1967
Notes: Reached #25 on the album charts
Currently available on CD from Sundazed Music featuring bonus tracks

First of all I’d like to say thanks to Cesar for giving me the near impossible task of trying to pick out ONE special record to write about. It was an extremely hard decision. I could easily choose the White Album or tell you about the first time I ever got experienced and then listened to “Axis: Bold As Love.” Or I could reveal the reason why I remember the catalog number of the original pressing of Elvis Presley’s first LP on RCA Records in 1956 (LPM-1254 of course!). I also thought I should write about The Move and their incredible “Shazam” album. And I’ve been listening to The Faces a lot lately. Rod Stewart’s voice was something else. He’s a great singer. So is Steve Marriott, Paul Rodgers, Freddie Mercury and Richard Manuel.

And so is Mark Lindsay, the lead vocalist for PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS, an amazing American rock band from the 1960s. Because of my early obsession for collecting old records by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, I loved rock & roll from the ‘60s. Hell, I even liked Herman’s Hermits.

Anyway, when I was a little kid, my Uncle was cleaning out his attic and gave me some of his old albums. I flipped through the stack of titles by The Beach Boys and the Four Seasons and there was also an empty LP jacket for “MIDNIGHT RIDE” by Paul Revere And The Raiders (featuring their big hit single “Kicks”) that was missing the actual vinyl LP inside. That incident was the beginning of my ongoing search for Raiders LPs and 7” singles. The Raiders sound was aggressive and R&B influenced like The Animals and they had big hits in America starting in 1965 with Kinks and Stones-styled rockers like “Just Like Me,” “Kicks,” “Hungry,” “Good Thing,” “Ups And Downs” and “The Great Airplane Strike.” Mark Lindsay was the singer, songwriter and producer of the majority of the band’s output.

There really is a guy named Paul Revere who originally formed the band and played organ. Named by his parents after the Revolutionary War hero, Revere was the businessman and Mark Lindsay was in charge of the music. It wasn’t long before Dick Clark discovered them and offered them a regular spot on his TV music show called “Where The Action Is” that aired daily and was a hit with teenagers. Along with producer Terry Melcher (who also co-wrote songs with Lindsay and sang background vocals), they released a string of hit singles. The classic lineup of the band was Revere, Lindsay, guitarist Drake Levin, bassist Phil Volk and drummer Mike “Smitty” Smith. By the time their first “Greatest Hits” album was released in early 1967, guitarist Drake had been drafted into the U.S. Armed Forces. Then, Phil and Smitty quit to form their own group. While searching for a new backing band, Lindsay and Melcher worked on a new album with session musicians like Hal Blaine, James Burton and future Raider Keith Allison.

The aptly-titled REVOLUTION! was released on Columbia Records in August 1967. The NEW Raiders were Freddy Weller, Charlie Coe and Joe Correro, Jr. The album cover photo shows the band in revolutionary war uniforms having tea on a front porch, but don’t let that turn you off. This is a HEAVY rock & roll album.

The album starts with a huge wall of sound and a big hit single. There were three new Raiders pictured on the LP cover (Freddy Weller, Charlie Coe and Joe Correro, Jr.) but this track was actually released as a single back in March 1967 and features the earlier lineup. You can hear traces of the Stones, Beach Boys, Phil Spector and even some country and western but it’s pure Raiders. Lots of loud guitars, vocal harmonies and driving drums on this make for a PERFECT rocker.
Him or Me - What's It Gonna Be? reached #5 on the pop charts in 1967.

A bluesy romp and stomp with great lyrics, wailing harp and no chorus. The great Ry Cooder plays the slide guitar on this album (he was Terry Melcher’s friend and discovery). I recently read somewhere that someone thought this song sounded like Aerosmith. Aerosmith wishes they could sound like this!

Lindsay and Melcher were great harmony singers and had a unique vocal blend. Melcher’s voice is very prominent on all the music that he produced for the Raiders (he also is well known for his work with The Byrds, The Beach Boys and of course for being Doris Day’s son). This song is kind of like the Everly Brothers doing a blues song and maybe that’s the reason why it’s one of my favorite songs. I’m still fascinated at how they could write such catchy tunes yet have no obvious singalong chorus!

This is a great pop rocker with a cool bass guitar lick that should’ve been a hit single (it was never released as a single in the U.S.). There is a version that was only released in Spain as a 7” single in 1967 featuring a vocal by Mark Lindsay canta en Espanol!! Ultra-rare.

Mark Lindsay shows his gospel singing skills on this pleading ballad. When I bought my first multi-track tape recorder as a teenager I recorded a version of this song. I’m the only person who’s heard it!

Previous Raider LPs featured songs written by the other members of the group but “Revolution!” was the first to have all songs written by Lindsay-Melcher. This is another brilliant example of their powerful collaborations. One of the GREAT Raider moments, this song was re-recorded by the band (along with “Tighter”) on their monumental “Collage” album in 1970 that’s an even tougher version.

This was the other single released from this album and it’s kind of a departure from the group’s sound with horns and a little bit of psychedelia. Thanks heavily to The Beatles’ influence, everyone was experimenting with music among other things. I love the “Baby Baby” part.
I Had a Dream reached #17 on the pop charts in 1967.

The best!! This one’s a swirling rocker that lasts less than two minutes and once again showcases Mark and Terry’s harmony vocals.

Listen how they mixed this one. The verses are very delicate and quiet (even though Mark is shouting the lyrics) and the choruses are heavy and guitar driven. There are LOTS of guitars on this album.

I could waste some space by writing about how this is the one stinker on the album (and fortunately the only song in which Paul Revere sings the lead vocal) but instead I’ll just say that the “Leslie” in the song was the name of Mark and Terry’s maid! In their rock star prime, they shared a house in Beverly Hills that later became infamous after Mark and Terry moved out, Roman and Sharon moved in, and Manson’s family visited unexpectedly.

This psychedelic hymn is a beautiful closing song and a perfect way to end a monster of an album.

I’m not even going to say that “Revolution!” is their finest moment but it is a special record for me that I always return to. Also, if you're a VINYL person, then do yourself a favor and skip the CD and go straight to your turntable with this baby! Mono or stereo, it's your choice-they're both great.

The Raiders late 60s lineup went on to make more great albums like “Hard ‘N’ Heavy (With Marshmallow),” “Alias Pink Puzz,” and “Collage.” If you dig the Stones, 60s garage rock and heavy soul, you gotta check out Paul Revere & The Raiders!!

Original magazine article


  1. Always "liked" them and always had a greatest hits. Whether it was a cassette back in the 80's or a CD in the 90's, I always liked their hits, but that's all I knew. But it wasn't until we started hanging more that I realized (thanks to you) how amazing a singer Lindsay was (is) and how much they REALLY rocked. My love grew as I went passed the hits which came out more as you hooked me up with catalogue titles. Then later, some Lindsay solo even crept into my life.

    I definitely call myself a Raiders fan - and it's DEFINITELY thanks to you.
    Rock on Jim Wilson.

  2. The Raiders were, and still are, amazing! They are ridiculously underrated. Thank you so much for posting this. Please visit and help me get them into the Hall of Fame.

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