Graham Reid | | 1 min read
When this band emerged as Paul Revere and the Raiders in the Sixties they were a rocking, sometimes salacious and rather terrific garageband (albeit one which dressed kinda funny) and so, quite rightly, a compilation of their Greatest Hits appears at Essential Elsewhere.
By 1970 the world had turned through hippies, horn-augmented bands like Blood Sweat and Tears, jamming outfits and so on. The short sharp hit single (unless it came from Creedence Clearwater Revival) seemed marginalised as bands turned their attention to albums. Things were also rather more serious, so the idea of disposable singles which were all over in three minutes seemed somewhat frivilous.
This left the band a bit at sea: they dropped the Revolutionary War outfits, shortened their name to just The Raiders and tried to compete in an area where they seemed ill-equipped.
Because they seldom wrote their own songs they looked around (help came from their producer Terry Melcher who co-wrote with singer Mark Lindsay), and hauled in horns.
This collection of two of their albums -- Collage in 1970 and Indian Reservation of '71 -- is interesting for the way it reverses the chronology: it opens with Indian Reservation and that title track which was their late-career hit (and not an especially good one).
But the Collage album came first and it's pretty lame: they borrowed Save the Country from Laura Nyro (earnest, socially aware with its "save the children" refrain and, despite the horns, pretty dull), wrote about being in a rock'n'roll band (Think Twice, Boys in the Band), dropped in an "Interlude" and said We Gotta All Get Together.
They were aiming for anthems and relevance, they were better when they just aimed to make you rock out.
Indian Reservation was much the same. They even covered PF Sloan's Eve of Destruction and a song about Jesus (who was unnaturally popular at the close of the Sixties/early Seventies).
Despite liner notes which suggest they were still producing great pop hits there's not a lot of evidence to support that -- although there are hints of their former fire on songs like Just Seventeen (on Collage).
That Greatest Hits album at Essential Elsewhere is the one to go for, or the other Raven compilation Kicks (left) which mops up the same territory (and even comes up to Indian Reservation).
Times changed and, much as they tried to keep in step, they couldn't.