Six Years of Musoscribe: Paul Revere and the Raiders

I had been fortunate to score a few magazine cover stories in the early years of my music journo career (Thrice, Fall Out Boy, KT Tunstall). But the feature that had the most influence on my future trajectory was the 2010 cover story in London-based Shindig! Magazine, a detailed piece on Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Not counting my longtime love of their music (most especially the albums and singles from around 1965-69), my relationship-of-a-sort with the band began in 2010. Collectors’ Choice Music put together a 3CD collection of all of the group’s Columbia singles (a- and b-sides), and I wrote a review of the set for this blog.

Shortly thereafter, I was fortunate enough to line up interviews with several former members of the group. I interviewed Mark Lindsay (lead vocals, ponytail, and – as time went on – songwriting and production), Phil “Fang” Volk (bass and vocals), Keith Allison (multiple instrument and vocals in the second half of the 60s and beyond), Jim “Harpo” Valley (guitar for about a year), and Roger Hart (the group’s manager through their ascendancy and into the 70s). Paul Revere himself wasn’t available for interview because he was tending to his wife who was ill at the time. Ed Osborne, the music journalist who authored the excellent liner notes for The Complete Columbia Singles, was kind enough to share the audio of a recent interview he had done with Revere.

Compiling a detailed feature from my research and those interviews, I wrote the story that appeared in Shindig! I was told shortly thereafter that my Raiders feature had generated an unprecedented amount of (positive) reader feedback.

Well, I was hooked. Later in 2010 I went on a road trip with my daughter; in addition to a few days in Memphis, we went to Branson Missouri and enjoyed a stage performance by the current lineup of The Raiders (Revere plus a number of excellent musicians – none of whose names you’d likely recognize – most of whom had been with the band for three-plus decades). I got a few moments with Revere, but no interview.

In the course of my research for that first story, I learned that the three core musicians from the group’s most well-known lineup – Volk plus guitarist Drake Levin and drummer Mike Smith – had bailed on the group at the height of their popularity. They left to form Brotherhood, a group that undeservedly sank into obscurity. That story – based on exhaustive interviews with Volk as well as family, friends and associates of the band – developed into a sprawling, deeply researched piece that would eventually run in Ugly Things Magazine. (A few years later, I was involved in the first-ever CD reissue of Brotherhood’s albums.)

When Real Gone Music – the successor to Collectors’ Choice, and the label that would eventually release the Brotherhood collection – put together a compilation of Mark Lindsay’s solo material, I rang up Lindsay and did another interview.

Much more recently, when RGM reissued Keith Allison’s solo In Action! album (plus rarities), Keith granted me another extensive interview. His memory is the sharpest of all ex-Raiders, and his point of view is remarkably free of score-settling and I-was-the-hero storytelling.

Longtime Raiders manager Roger Hart had been a key figure in the development of what would eventually become The Monkees, but his role has never been fully explored. My 2013 conversation with Hart yielded this feature, one that I hope helps set the record straight.

Paul Revere passed away in 2014, and though my efforts to convince him to work with me on a Raiders history never came to pass, I always respected the man. I wrote this memorial piece in November 2014.

I hope to announce some additional Raiders-related news in the coming months, but we’ll see about that. Fingers are crossed.

Thanks for sticking around through this two-week trip down Musoscribe’s memory lane. Standard blogging – interviews, reviews and features – will resume next week.

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