Paul Revere and the Raiders “Rain Sleet or Snow”
by Allen Thayer
On the second day of Christmas…
Like Paul Revere and his Raiders, I hail from rainy, wet, and cold Portland, Oregon. We natives consider ourselves of semi-impermeable stock, like Gortex™, and therefore immune to the need of an umbrella. Seriously, I didn’t own one till I moved to the East Coast.
There were a lot of tough garage bands up and down the I-5 from Oregon’s Willamette Valley to the Puget Sound of Washington and into British Columbia, but two of the more commercially successful bands happened to bust out of Portland. The Raiders and the Kingsmen entered the scene at the same time (Kingsmen by a week or so), with the same song, though the Kingsmen’s version eventually triumphed on the national charts. The record lathe that cut the Kingsmen’s “Louie” is the same one currently owned and operated by garage-rock gods Fred & Toody Cole of Pierced Arrows, formerly Dead Moon.
While few people remember Paul Revere and the Raiders these days, they were a kinda big deal back in the mid-’60s with their own TV show (like the Monkees) and a raft of solid blues-drenched garage rock albums. Some thought they were America’s Beatles. Vocalist Mark Lindsay famously sang about the Cherokee Nation before embarking on a brief solo career. So, yeah, in 1967, they were big enough to get a substantial budget (strings & things) for a Christmas ca$h-in LP. This post-Sergeant Pepper’s pop-odyssey is an entertaining and original concept Christmas album with more than a couple notable tunes and the orchestral accompaniment really ties it up nicely in an avant-garde bow. Dig, if ye will . . .
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