Friday, March 9, 2012

10 Revolutions Per-Paul Revere and the Raiders

Forget their goofy stage antics and goofier American Revolution costumes. Paul Revere and the Raiders were one of the great pop groups of pop’s greatest era. They always balanced their bubblegummy gimmicks with a Stones-tough attitude and were never anything less than self-aware when it came to their silliest tendencies. As front Raider Mark Lindsay turns 70 today, let’s take a listen to ten testaments to the revolutionary greatness of Paul Revere and the Raiders.

1. “Steppin Out” (1965)

Even Jagger wasn’t grunting with the delightful arrogance Mark Lindsay displays on “Steppin’ Out” in 1965. From his slack drawl to his malicious giggles to his psycho screams, Lindsay shows how to shout some mean blues rock right through the garage door.

2. “Hungry” (1966)

Heavy and rabidly driven, “Hungry” is Paul Revere and the Raiders at their most unwholesome. Has any other group ever made better use of fuzz bass?

3. “Good Thing” (1966)

The Raiders prove The Stones aren’t the only band they can mimic with the gorgeously harmonized “Good good good good Vibrations Thing”. Dig Woody Allen biting his lip to suppress his hatred of Rock & Roll while introducing “Paul Revere’s Raiders”.

4. “Undecided Man” (1966)
A shameless Revolver rip-off that would make Paul Weller blush. But like Weller’s “Start”, “Undecided Man” is more beautifully executed tribute than lame petty theft.

5. “1001 Arabian Nights” (1966)

The raga rock trend of 1966-’67 was a lot better known for dour-faced dirges like “Paint It Black” and “Within You, Without You” than the cheeky approach Paul Revere and the Raiders take on the parodic “1001 Arabian Nights”. In lieu of sitars and tablas, the guys opt for making silly vocal drones and hitting a big gong.

6. “Him or Me—What’s It Gonna Be?” (1967)

Even with the arrival of ultra-hip 1967, the guys still insisted on dancing like marionettes and dressing like clowns. But all that can be forgiven when they’re playing as hard and funky as they do on their last huge hit of the ‘60s, “Him or Me—What’s It Gonna Be?”

7. “Mo’reen” (1967)

Bass and guitars slide all over the place like oily ice skates. An irresistible sing-along chorus. Is it the bubbliest of bubblegum or the most brutal of blues rock? Who cares when the results are so euphoria inducing?

8. “I Hear a Voice” (1967)

The Raiders were at their best when bashing it out garage style, but they were capable of some convincingly beautiful music too. Few songs of its era are as haunting and ethereal as the psychedelic delicacy “I Hear a Voice”.

9. “Cinderella Sunshine” (1968)

Cutesy-pie lyrics matched with every trick in the Stones’ book circa-1966: a rolling marimba line, tinkling percussion, fuzz bass filthier than a lavatory floor. Although I could only find footage of the less powerful and less adorned single version, the magnificently over-produced version from Hard and Heavy—with Marshmallow remains the definitive one.

10. “Let Me” (1969)

Raiders blue-eyed soul at its most unhinged. If those screams of “My my my my my my” at 2:15 don’t send you into a frenzy, check yourself into the local morgue because you’re dead.

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