Friday, April 22, 2011

Collage - The Raiders

The Raiders
Columbia  CS 9964

Presumably in search of a more serious rock identity, Paul Revere and The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay, emerged as simply the Raiders on this record.  The music basically follows suit, being somewhat less commercial and pop-oriented than the music they produced during their top-40 heyday.  The sound is definitely heavier, the bass is very prominent in the mix, the music is bolstered by brass and winds, and Lindsay sings in the kind of gut bucket, get-down style favored by heavy rock bands in the late 60s.  I guess this is more serious than "The Spirit of '67" though definitely not better.  Given that their idea of seriousness is covering Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" (they do it surprisingly well actually) no one was going to mistake them for Blind Faith or Steppenwolf, but this is more than credible and a lot more enjoyable than many of the heavier albums from 1970.  I kind of miss the humor of the earlier records, but at least their pop sensibility remains largely intact even when they are intoning hippie platitudes or trying to jam - I'm not kidding about the latter, the raunchy "Dr. Fine" has both a drum solo and a guitar solo that lasts well over a minute.  There are signs of burn out in the songs.  "Think Twice" is one of my favorite tunes on the record and it sounds the most like the band's classic sound but lyrically it is a bitter screed about how hard it is to be in a rock band because of taxes, greedy managers, equipment prices, drugs and groupies (Mark's advice is to stick with the shy ones.)  Speaking of groupies "Just Seventeen" is about enjoying teenage ones and getting busted for it, another occupational hazard for the unfortunate rock star.  "Interlude" and "Gone Movin' On" are about loving them and leaving them.  The hippie platitude song "We Gotta All Get Together" comes courtesy of guitarist, Freddy Weller, but to his credit Lindsay sings it like he really means it.  "Sorceress With Blue Eyes" is perhaps the heaviest song on the record with its pounding riff, screaming guitars and Lindsay's howling vocals, if I heard it on the radio I would never believe it was the Raiders.  It is a remarkable song and definitely shows the band's musical ability.  I don't entirely approve, but I am impressed by it.  "Wednesday's Child" is a welcome respite from the onslaught of heaviness, it is a lovely acoustic based number that sounds a bit like Simon and Garfunkel.  Two of my favorite songs on this record, "Gone Movin' On" and "Tighter" both bear 1967 copyrights which pretty much tells you how I feel about the new sound of the band.  I understand that the band had to grow or at least adapt to changes in order to survive and I do like this record but I don't play it much.  I admire it though, not too many bands produce such interesting records so late in their careers.  Recommended for fans of the James Gang and the Guess Who.

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