The Raiders had been struggling for the previous two years to distance themselves from their earlier incarnation, Paul Revere and the Raiders.
There was nothing wrong with that, and they were a hell of a band, but they felt that the times had changed and they, accordingly, needed to sound "mature".
And that meant, albums not just singles, a heavier sound, a ditching of costumes, facial hair less Paul Revere slapstick, a pitch to FM radio, and new members.
Those new members were (future country star) Freddy Weller, Joe Correro Jr, and Keith Allison who had been with the band since the "new direction" in 1967.
They were tight, slick and as good as any band I the land but none of the subsequent four albums through to 1969 made the Top 40. Likewise none of the singles had made the Top 10.
They had failed to engage the public.
Some of their old fans liked them (there was much to like), some of their old fans couldn't disassociate them from their old gimmickry (even though the same fans gave the Beatles a break when they stopped with the Beatle suits and boots) but new fans were forthcoming.
Paul Revere also, I suspect, was a businessman (as well as a musician) and had a family to support. He liked the shtick and the AM sounds because they brought in the money in the past. There is nothing wrong with that. Do you have to suffer, dirt poor, for your art or craft?
Still, Paul Revere always new there was money in keeping up with the times so he would give new things a go.
Lindsay, however, wanted to expand, and had kept himself aware of the new emerging sounds. He wanted to be harder and heavier …or so the story goes. His solo albums of the late 60s and early 70s weren't any harder or heavier. The truth is Lindsay did want to expand but his background was always old fashioned rock and pop. And there was nothing wrong with that.
They were his strengths.
With a 1970 and a new decade Paul Revere and the Raiders gave the change of image one more shot. Their music became heavier still and they changed their name to the "Raiders".
This was the first name under that moniker and the change of name or direction didn't help their decreasing fortunes.
The album sank.
It's a pity as what we have here is a "Collage" of all the 1970s sounds. It's a nice slab of hard (but not heavy) rock with slabs of fuzzy guitar and psychedelica, horns, soul, funk, country vibes played with determination and a distinctly in your face struttin' grooviness without missing any of the AM radio pop aspects of the music.
Written in are lyrics that refer to a new found cynicism with an immediacy that you would expect from early 70s rock.
Think Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Grand Funk Railroad, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Buffalo Springfield but playing a a high school dance.
And it works.
It would be tempting to suggest they were just jumping on the bandwagon of whatever music was around at the time. Sure this is the collage mentioned but as I have said before, about this band, and I feel compelled to say yet again:
The key to their success was their commitment to upbeat rock 'n' roll whilst acknowledging change, and they weren't precious about it as evidenced by the fact that sometimes they were "influenced" by bands that post dated them. They did, as I have said, keep their original sound, unlike a slavish imitator or someone just jumping the bandwagon. Also they did this even through line-up changes though Paul Revere (the keyboardist) and Mark Lindsay (the vocalist) were the nucleus of the group which was lucky as Revere knew where to take the group and Lindsay could sing anything.
It's also fair to say that they probably influences a few of the groups they were now taking inspiration from.
Still it wasn't enough
Ironically the following year their "Indian Reservation" album made the Top 20 (#19) and they had their only US #1, " Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian)"
That album was safe with a very AM radio friendly sound.
Paul Revere and the Raiders always had a Jekyll and Hyde persona – once side dirty rock the other side pop.
It's tempting to think that Paul Revere gave Lindsay command on this album (Lindsay also produced as well as writing most of the songs including redoing some old tunes of his) but when that didn't work the heavier aspects were excised and the band went to pop, albeit, big bossy pop and hit gold again.
Tracks (best in italics)
- Save the Country – (Laura Nyro) – Laura Nyro's spiritual song (from her 1969 album "New York Tendaberry") about faith and action is given a funky horn treatment.
- Think Twice – (Keith Allison / Mark Lindsay) – a warning to potential rock n rollers. Thick twice! It's a hard road and Lindsay's band have all the competition they need.
- Interlude (To Be Forgotten) – (Keith Allison / Mark Lindsay) – a gentle lullaby of a song
- Dr. Fine – (Mark Lindsay) – Mark Lindsay takes on Mick Jagger and why shouldn't he as I'm sure Jagger was watching mid-60s Lindsay. This song is like a left over from "Beggars Banquet" with a touch of "Satanic Majesties Request" thrown in (and some Vanilla Fudge).
- Just Seventeen – (Mark Lindsay) – the dangers of underage sex (underage being 17).
- The Boys in the Band – (Mark Lindsay) – Lindsay's thumpin', pumpin' song about the boys in a rock band. Clearly Lindsay wasn't into theatre and hadn't heard of Mart Crowley's hit 1968 play (which was made into a film in 1970) …
- Tighter – (Mark Lindsay / Terry Melcher) – a total revamp of a song from their 1967 album "Revolution". A great song but not as good as the original.
- Gone – Movin' On – (Mark Lindsay / Terry Melcher) – another total revamp of a song from their 1967 album "Revolution".
- Wednesday's Child – (Keith Allison / Mark Lindsay) – Quite gently trippin, country style.
- Sorceress with Blue Eyes – (Keith Allison / Mark Lindsay) – Led Zeppelin or Cream have been on the turntable. Paul Revere and the Raiders never got much heavier than this.
- We Gotta All Get Together – (Freddy Weller)- a remake (?) of their #50 song from 1969. Not too bad. It's followed by a snip of what sounds like Hal from that most overrated of "head" films "2001: A Space Odyssey"
Excellent (though it's a bit all over the place like a, errr collage) and underrated …. I'm keeping it.
1970 Just Seventeen #82
15 top 40s and …
who the fuck is Kanye West?