Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review: PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS featuring MARK LINDSAY--The Complete Columbia Singles A's & B's COLLECTOR'S CHOICE 3 CD

The one thing that proves to me how great this new Paul Revere & The Raiders 3 CD set is, is simply the fact that I keep playing it over and over. Now, you know that I LOVE most 60’s rock like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Byrds, et al (I also champion The Monkees and I’ll admit to your face that I have more Herman’s Hermits on my iPod than you do) but the Raiders have always been my favorite and this new anthology of their complete Columbia A’s & B’s in their original 45 mixes completely reveals the genius of Mark Lindsay and shines a new light on the band’s progression. A truly gifted American singer, songwriter and producer, Lindsay also found incredible success as a teen idol and TV star. Over the course of the decade spotlighted on this collection, the Raiders frequently changed their overall sound almost as much as they changed their band personnel but Mark Lindsay’s impressive performances are always first class no matter what the backdrop is, proving he is as massively talented as he is underrated. Of course, along the way he had a few important collaborative colleagues—it IS Paul Revere’s band after all and there’s also producer and co-writer Terry Melcher whose arrangements and background harmony voice are a MAJOR part of the CLASSIC Raider sound. But even before Melcher entered the picture, the band recorded awesome early party stompers (“Louie-Go Home” and “Over You”) and after he walked away in 1968, Mark kept producing hits on his own (“Too Much Talk” and “Let Me”) keeping the band commercially successful and the music quality consistently solid.

Disc 1 & 2 are kick ass MONO and Disc 3 starts with the Stereo era. The choices of musicianship on the whole 66 song package is astounding. Guitarist Drake Levin from the early golden Raider years totally had his own style and laid down many memorable solos that simply ROCKED. And the later heavy country soul lineup with Keith Allison, Freddy Weller and Joe Jr. helped the band remain hip in the psychedelic era.

Of course all the big hits are here. “Kicks,” “Just Like Me,” “Hungry,” “Good Thing” and “Indian Reservation” (by the way, Henry Rollins HATES this song) are just a small sample of GREAT Paul Revere & The Raiders songs. “Him Or Me-What’s It Gonna Be,” “The Great Airplane Strike,” and “Ups And Downs” rival the absolute best of classic 60’s rock ‘n roll, period. And the Raiders rocked all the way to their last ride with the Zeppified “Just Seventeen,” an edited “Sorceress With Blue Eyes” featuring a knockout guitar solo and "Powder Blue Mercedes Queen,” their 'shoulda been a bigger hit' from 1972.

And as much of a heavy rhythm & blues dance band as they can be, Lindsay is also a strong ballad singer who uses his smooth tone on favorites like “Undecided Man,” (sure it’s Rigby related but it’s very well done with a nice melodic refrain of “Look at them, Look at you, Look at Me”) and “Interlude (To Be Forgotten)” with its stoney-droney feel and excellent acoustic guitars.

There’s some nice 60’s country rock twang on here too with Bakersfield overtones on “There She Goes,” the great “Legend Of Paul Revere,” “We Gotta All Get Together,” (written by Freddy Weller, who as a solo act is a legendary country star, a gentleman guitar picker and a hit songwriter who co-wrote “Dizzy” with Tommy Roe) and Joe South’s “Birds Of A Feather” which regardless of any of their actual chart positions have all been hits in my house for years.

There are some incredible b-sides too like “Happening ’68,” “I Don’t Know” and “Without You,” all in their original 45 versions with a few rare promotional-only cuts thrown in too which are fun and show how big Raiders business was. “It’s So Hard Getting Up Today,” “Seaboard Line Boogie” (featuring Keith Allison’s only lead vocal on a Raider record), and a batch of non-LP singles and b-sides from the early to mid 70’s will please collectors and completists, with many of them making their CD debut. In this great company, even “The Turkey” sounds good. Finishing out Disc 3 is the very last single released by the band on Columbia in 1975, by which time Mark had made his exit and only helps once again to prove that without Lindsay it’s just not that exciting.

Now people, this ain’t The Buckinghams, Chad & Jeremy or Freddie & The Dreamers! The Raiders’ catalog is deep, baby! There are standout tracks on EACH AND EVERY Raider album that are better than some of the B material here. Just a few of the missing essential album cuts off the top of my head are “Reno,” “Think Twice,” “Boys In The Band,” “Ballad Of A Useless Man” and of course “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone,” the ORIGINAL version. I also enjoy Lindsay’s different extended versions of the 45 hits that he recorded for the band’s LPs (like “Too Much Talk” and “Cinderella Sunshine”). The only way to fully get the whole picture is to listen to EVERY record (singles AND albums) released by Paul Revere & The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay.

Now that being said, this 3 CD set is THE BEST Raider COMPILATION ever issued and is a FIVE STAR must own for ANY rock & roll fan. RAIDERS RULE!

I’ll plug this website again, but I actually think starting my own petitions like “LET’S BLOW UP THE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME BUILDING” or “LET’S GATHER TOGETHER TO MINIMIZE JANN WENNER’S IMPORTANCE IN ROCK & ROLL” might be more effective.

Drake Levin Tribute website:

1 comment:

  1. I saw them at Disneyland - circa 1969/70 maybe. Too young to know about them or the music.

    So... last week I'm at Disney World (Epcot) and guess who is on the bandstand 3 times each day? So I saw all three shows. AMAZING and ML was hilarious. I've got pics!