Desert Island Singles: “Ups And Downs” by Paul Revere and The Raiders (1967)

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It would appear that, superficially, they were too cute and silly to have lasting impact on future musicians. The uniforms and predictable humor; they never really became cool. Still, from 1965 through 1969, The Raiders made some of the most influential power pop tunes of that time.The original lineup was raw with energy, but proficient as a band. Compared to other American bands of the era, only The Beach Boys held their status with future power pop enthusiasts. Basically a show band, in the studio it was mainly the lead vocalist and guitarist that performed their duties. – Kendel Paget

By 1967, the hit making machine known as Paul Revere and The Raiders had followed the lead of The Beach Boys and morphed into two separate entities: the live performing band, ably led by Revere himself, and the studio band, comprised of lead singer Mark Lindsay, studio whiz Terry Melcher (son of Doris Day, which may explain how he had carte blanche at Columbia Records), and countless session musicians. The live band still appeared each weekday on “Where The Action Is,” but merely to lip-sync to the tracks Lindsay and Melcher created.

Things were changing for The Raiders, the first rock band to be signed by Columbia. Revere’s participation in studio recordings ended in 1966. Lead guitarist Drake Levin had quit the band to enlist in the National Guard, to be replaced by Jim “Harpo” Valley. A mutiny of sorts followed when Valley quit and Levin rejoined, just long enough to quit again with bassist Phil “Fang” Volk and drummer Mike “Smitty” Smith. Unhappy with being squeezed out of the studio, they formed a band called The Brotherhood and eventually released three albums on RCA. Personnel changes were nothing new to The Raiders, so replacement musicians were found quickly for the performing band: guitarist Freddy Weller, bassist Charlie Coe, and drummer Joe Correro Jr. The most noticeable change came in the text on the record labels and album covers: they were now “Paul Revere and The Raiders, Featuring Mark Lindsay.”

“Ups And Downs” was the last single that ostensibly included the classic “Where The Action Is” lineup. It was written and produced by Lindsay and Melcher. Reviewer Philip A. Cohen believes that the studio lineup may have included some combination of Lindsay, Melcher, and Levin plus stalwarts Ry Cooder, Van Dyke Parks, Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon, and Jerry Kole. From this point on Lindsay would make the records with whomever he wished: session men and/or some Raiders, but not Revere himself.

As an 11-year-old kid, though, I didn’t know any of this and probably would not have cared. I bought the myth. To me The Raiders were Paul, Mark, Fang, Smitty, and Harpo, just like on the cover of the 45. And this was one of my favorite songs of theirs. A great lead guitar hook at the beginning, probably played by Levin. A very cool McCartney-esque bass line. A keyboard riff that sounded almost like barrel-house piano. Great horn fills. All in all, an awesome single worthy to be issued under the name of Paul Revere and The Raiders.

The YouTube clip is from their “live” performance on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.” They’re obviously performing to the studio track, but they make a change in the phrasing of the chorus that’s about a hundred times better than the official release. Dig the footwork by Fang and Harpo.

Now, things was looking golden, baby
Everything was fine
You never made no sign
That you had changed your mind

I guess I was mistaken, girl
To count so on you
What else could I do
Time to pay my dues

Well girl, I’ve been torn up before
But I can’t handle that once more
Well, I’ve been down for a long, long time
And now it’s time to ease my mind
There’s lots of pain upon this earth
Girl, I’ve had my money’s worth
I have had my ups and downs and all arounds

Girl, I’ve tried to change your way of thinkin’
Tried to make you see
That livin’ here with me
Is where you ought to be

But it didn’t seem to make no difference
It never changed your world
Or stopped your social twirl
You’re still the same old girl

And now, I’ve been torn up before
But I can’t handle that once more
I’ve been down for a long, long time
But now it’s time to ease my mind
‘Cause there’s lots of pain upon this earth
And girl, I’ve had my money’s worth
I have had my ups and downs and all arounds

I’ve been up, down, all around now, baby….

One Comment on “Desert Island Singles: “Ups And Downs” by Paul Revere and The Raiders (1967)”

  1. […] “Ups And Downs” by Paul Revere and The Raiders (1967) 2/7/14: “Blue Period” by The Smithereens (1989) 1/17/14: “There She Goes” […]

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