Lex Neon on Paul Revere (Paul Revere and the Raiders)

Lex first heard Paul Revere and the Raiders on the radio. They were a part of the “oldies” stations to which he used to listen as a young music buff. Excited by their sound, he hunted down the original albums one by one and studied every lick. We salute Paul Revere, whose birthday is January 7.

The first track by Paul Revere and the Raiders that always comes to mind is “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be.” I heard that one on the radio back in the early 70s, probably about the same time the band had its last top 10 hit, “Indian Reservation.” There was something in the vocals, the harmony, and that descending bass line that got me hooked.

Fast forward to the 80s, and I’m walking home with a copy of their ’67 Greatest Hits album. It had most of the tracks that had fascinated me, like “Kicks,” “Good Thing,” “Ups and Downs,” “Hungry,” “The Great Airplane Strike,” and others. There was a rough and ready rock / rhythm and blues sound behind their band uniform of choice. England had the Stones, the Animals, and the Dave Clark Five. We had Paul Revere and the Raiders!

I gotta say that carrying that album around was kinda embarrassing. The band is standing around in their Revolutionary War garb, their hands covering their “lil soldiers.” Oy.

At the time, I was getting pretty good at picking out melodies on the piano and transposing them to guitar. I learned to play the Raiders greatest hits album, plus all of the other albums in their catalog. They tried a few different styles of music, like soul, country, and psychedelia, but they always sounded great when they were a straight ahead pop / rock band.

Before I left Los Angeles, I did 20 acoustic solo gigs and performed “Ups and Downs” in stripped down, finger pickin’ James Taylor style. I also performed “The Great Airplane Strike” as an audience sing-along. More times than not, no one knew that it was a Paul Revere and the Raiders song. It was just fun to sing along with.

When I finally settled in Las Vegas, one of the first CDs I picked up to keep me from getting home sick was a 2-disc Raiders set. The main selling point for me was the inclusion of a track called “Powder Blue Mercedes Queen.” Although this song was one of their best songs and singles, it was not a hit. Regardless, it rocks; it’s got balls and swagger, and some of the best vocals, guitar, and drums of the early 70s. Dig it sometime; maybe it will become as special for you as it is for me!

Check out some of their history. It’s an interesting study of how a band works, how it doesn’t work, and the music business industry. Thank you Paul Revere!

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Note: The date listed on the album shown below is for the remastered version. The original was released May 1967.

Currently listening :
Paul Revere & The Raiders – Greatest Hits
By Paul Revere & the Raiders
Release date: 08 February, 2000
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~ by Poppermost on September 6, 2008.

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