Paul Revere & the Raiders – Midnight Ride

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Often described as America’s answer to the British Invasion, these colonial clad rockers are part Beatles, part Stones and part Dylan. Released on Columbia Records in 1966, Midnight Ride is said to be Paul Revere & the Raiders’ response to Rubber Soul. Not only are both albums influenced by the sounds of Bob Dylan and New York’s growing folk rock scene, but both albums also push the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll even further with bold experimentation and fearless disregard for convention. However, Midnight Ride seems to take bolder steps toward a harder, faster and edgier rock sound that at times sounds like something Iggy Pop and the Stooges could have recorded years later. For example, “Louie, Go Home,” has simple and repetitive chords that break down into a chaotic cluster of clashing instruments topped off by the screaming vocals of Mark Lindsay. The song is more than just a loud and fast garage rock song; it’s a call to action. Meant as a response to the classic garage rock song “Louie, Louie,” “Louie, Go Home” takes rock ‘n’ roll to the next level––a level that we now call protopunk. In this same vein, Paul Revere & the Raiders recorded “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone.” Although The Monkees’ cover version was––and still is––the far more popular version, “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” was first recorded by Paul Revere & the Raiders. These garage rockers were the first to inject the power and attitude into this now wildly popular hard rocking anthem. Despite being masters of loud, fast and hard, Paul Revere & the Raiders show their range with great folk rock numbers like “There’s Always Tomorrow” and “There She Goes.” These songs demonstrate the band’s under-appreciated songwriting abilities and their pure musicianship. Almost every band member plays multiple instruments on the album, and they demonstrate fantastic range going from heavy and fast to scaled back and smooth. The band even tries their hand at slower love songs like “Little Girl in the 4th Row” and “Melody for an Unknown Girl.” Even these songs, while dramatically different from the garage rock sound their known for, are well arranged and written, being spaced on the album perfectly as to inject some softness into the heavy world of garage rock. All in all, this record is amazing. Not only are the individual songs fantastic, but the band’s collaboration and adaptability really shines through. This album is primarily comprised of original songs written by the band members. In fact, all five band members have individual songwriting credits on the album––a feat rarely accomplished in the mid 60s. Although some audiophiles might think it’s a stretch to compare such a little known album to a rock ‘n’ roll mammoth like Rubber SoulMidnight Ride truly proves that notoriety has nothing to do with influence. Midnight Ride played a vital role in shaping the sound of rock ‘n’ roll music. Bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who and Iggy Pop and the Stooges are deeply indebted to Paul Revere and the Raiders for trailblazing the path toward a harder, faster and edgier rock ‘n’ roll sound.  A+

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2 thoughts on “Paul Revere & the Raiders – Midnight Ride

  1. Hi Charlie

    This has always been a fave of mine….the band received little or no airplay in the UK….the BBC had a virtual monopoly..there were no commercial stations apart from the offshore shipbound “pirates” like Radio Caroline………i think they were just too American for Uk tastes…..the only way i could hear the great new US sounds was by tuning in to shortwave stations like New York World Wide or the American Forces Network from Germany….i could listen to the Top 100 and catch a baseball or football game afterwards……very strange for a 13 year old in a remote village in the Scottish highlands….was always a bit baffled by the “World” Series ……..never actually saw a US football game till much later

    There seems to be certain records that are sacred cows such as Rubber Soul and Revolver and Pet Sounds to name a few and its considered sacrelige to compare lesser records with them…i totally disagree with this…there are many albums from this era that song for song are just as good and enjoyable as the above mentioned…..Daydream and Hums of by the Lovin Spoonfull…….Along Comes The Association….. and Revolution by Paul Revere and the Raiders to name a few

    Im pretty sure studio musicians played on a lot of the Raiders tracks like Kicks and Hungry but thats the way it was ..and still is…in the music business….by the way Revolution is even better…IMHO

    best regards

    Jim

    • Hey Jim,

      I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who thinks so highly of the Raiders. They truly deserved more notoriety than they ever received. Their sound was so dynamic and influential, that I’m always shocked to hear how few people really know and appreciate them.

      I love The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all those other Goliaths of the 60s, but I agree that there are many more extremely talented bands that fell through the cracks. That’s why I started this blog––to find and highlight those that never reached the heights of stardom.

      Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll continue to share.

      Charlie

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