In 1965, The Raiders began recording a string of garage rock classics. Under the guidance of producer Terry Melcher, the group relocated to Los Angeles and increasingly emulated the sounds of British Invasion bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, and The Animals, while adding an American, R&B feel. Their first major national hit, "Just Like Me" (No. 11, 1965) was one of the first rock records to feature a distinctive, double-tracked guitar solo, performed by guitarist Drake Levin. The band appeared regularly in the U.S. on national television, most notably on Dick Clark's Where the Action Is, Happening. When Levin left the group in 1966 to join the National Guard he was replaced by Jim Valley, another Northwest musician the Raiders had met during their days playing the Portland and Seattle music circuits. Valley was dubbed "Harpo" by the other Raiders due to a vague resemblance to the famous Marx brother.
In mid-1967, with three gold albums to their credit, The Raiders were Columbia's top-selling rock group; today's mystery album was one of two releases selected by Clive Davis to test a higher list price for albums expected to be particularly popular (along with Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits). At the height of the group's popularity, Valley, Volk and Smith left the band. The split happened for a number of reasons, among them being the feeling that the group was prevented from evolving into a more egalitarian creative team, upset at being replaced by studio musicians on recordings, and unhappy with a continued teen-oriented direction while a more serious rock 'n' roll style was emerging. Changing tastes in the late 1960s rendered the group unfashionable, but they still continued to have modest hits through the rest of the decade.
In an effort to change the bands' sound and image, the name was officially shortened to The Raiders, while the 1970 album Collage was an attempt to move in another musical direction. It drew a glowing review from Rolling Stone magazine, yet it proved to be a commercial failure. In 1972, The Raiders made one last attempt at a pop album, with Country Wine, but Columbia was sinking money into other acts, as their chart career faded, The Raiders' concert fortunes dwindled, and they found themselves playing lounges and state fairs as an "oldies" act....
The punk rock and new wave eras would see a wave of interest in the Raiders' music. Revere continued with a relatively stable lineup through the 80's and 90's, featuring longtime members Omar Martinez (drums and vocals since 1972), Doug Heath (guitarist for the Raiders since 1973), Ron Foos (bass, Allison's replacement in 1975), and lead vocalist Carlo "Carl" Driggs. Last week, the band's web site announced that Revere died "peacefully" on October 4, 2014, at his home in Idaho, a "small estate overlooking a tranquil river canyon." He was 76.
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Today's mystery album is the first greatest hits album released may 67 by today's mystery band. They scored seven chart hits between the fall of 1965 and the winter of 1967, and all of them -- "Steppin' Out," "Just Like Me," "Kicks," "Hungry," "The Great Airplane Strike," "Good Thing," and "Ups and Downs" -- were included among the 11 tracks on the group's first hits collection. Also included were "Louie, Louie," the Raiders' first Columbia single, and its follow-up, "Louie, Go Home," a B-side instrumental, plus the newly penned "Legend of Paul Revere," which told the band's story. Thus, the album traced the band from its beginnings as a Northwest club band to its reign as an L.A. pop/rock success. There would be more hits, but this brief compilation (it originally ran under 30 minutes) contained the essence of the Raiders' most successful period and indeed marked the end of the band's lineup, as the rhythm section split to form another group, leaving the remaining members to recruit a new edition of the Raiders. Available here , the 2000 CD reissue on Columbia/Legacy adds four bonus tracks: "Him or Me -- What's It Gonna Be?" (their biggest post-1966 hit of the 1960s), "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" (which predated the Monkees' version), "Action," and "Peace of Mind."
Goldy Rhox 181 (flac 221mb)
Goldy Rhox 181 (ogg 88mb)
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