The Essential Paul Revere & The Raiders

Paul Revere & The Raiders

As one of the most televised band of the 60s with appearances on Batman, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and Where The Action Is! (not to mention their own show from 1967-69), Paul Revere and The Raiders made quite the splash across the landscape of 60s pop music. The group started out when 19-year-old Paul Revere was promoting dances at the local Idaho drive-in. After forming, the group released singles on Gardena Records in L.A, endured a few personnel changes, took a short hiatus, then built their reputation when they reformed and began knocking round the Oregon coast music scene. On The Essential Paul Revere & The Raiders two-disc collection, we pretty much get the full rundown of the band’s music from 1963 to 1972.

The first disc begins with the Raiders’ version of “Louie Louie,” released around the same time in 1963 as the Kingmen’s more popular take. There’s a rolling piano and sassy lyric to “My Wife Can’t Cook,” a unique double-track lead guitar solo by Drake Levin on “Just Like Me,” and the almost instrumental — but for a few quick hip shouts at the tailend — “Shake It Up.” What I like best about this early stuff is the liberal use of organ, the occasional horn blast and how the band blends their vocals as tight as the Beatles and the Monkees. Certainly a pop band of the day, appearing on Tiger Beat covers and the like. Still, the songs are well onstructed little pop nuggets.

I’m a bit more fond of the second disc with “Do Unto Others” from 1967, which opens the disc. It's a light tune with a pretty adult arrangement, something we’ll hear again and again on the band’s later 60s output. There’s a good funky growling vocal on the equally funky “Peace of Mind,” nice organ on “Too Much Talk,” and some rockin’ guitar on “Powder Blue/Mercedes Queen,” whihc sounds a lot like “Whole Lotta Love.” In fact, the rockier side of the band is evident during this period. Even wityh multiple h personnel changes — inevitable in any pop band — they really do sound like a tight unit in 1967-68. Included here is the band’s TV show theme“Happening ‘68” and their 1970 mega hit “Indian Reservation.” The set's booklet includes a spectacularly researched and written history by Domenic Priore, plus a whole bunch of great pictures. The Essential Paul Revere & The Raiders really is a must for fans of this band and the great pop songs of the 60s and early 70s.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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