Paul Revere & the Raiders: Midnight Ride


ON THIS DATE (46 YEARS AGO)
May 6, 1966 – Paul Revere & the Raiders: Midnight Ride is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5 (reissue)
# allmusic 3/5
Midnight Ride is the fifth studio album by American pop rock group Paul Revere & the Raiders. Produced by Terry Melcher and released in May 1966, the album featured the U.S. top five single “Kicks.” The album also includes “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”, a song The Monkees covered and became a U.S. top 20 hit in 1967.
The album is unique in the band’s discography in that it contains songwriting credits by all five bandmembers. Stylistic changes, combined with arguments over which group members were to get their songs included on the band’s albums, resulted in lead guitarist Drake Levin quitting the group following the release of Midnight Ride. The album also marked the end of the band’s relationship with the Brill Building music publishing house, where “Kicks” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” were written.
One of the most popular yet most underrated rock bands of the ’60s was Paul Revere & The Raiders. They were teen idols and sold millions of records, but because they wore Revolutionary War soldiers’ uniforms and were teen idols with no “artistic” aspirations (or pretensions), they were written off as a product of their time. That they were, but they were also a great rock & roll band who made some blistering, garage rock-charged noise that stands the test of time.
Nearly everyone knows “Kicks” (one of the first anti-drug pop songs), but too few have heard their snarling, rippling take on “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” (later a hit for the Monkees and covered by the Sex Pistols). On this, singer Mark Lindsay’s voice drips with barely controlled, snotty disdain. “Louie Go Home,” a sort-of-follow-up to the standard “Louie, Louie,” shifts from a dense, building rocker to a driving swirl of a raga-tinged guitar rave-up. Sure, there’s a bit of silliness, such as “Melody for an Unknown Girl” (which was probably done as goof), but while they weren’t innovators, these fellows can show you a good time.
REVIEW
Midnight Ride marked just about the pinnacle of Paul Revere & the Raiders’ history as a source of great albums. Even more to their credit, most of the music on Midnight Ride was written by the bandmembers themselves, and not just Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere, but Phil Volk, Drake Levin, and Mike Smith getting a shared songwriting credit. The irony is that this was the last album on which that egalitarian spirit was to dominate; alongside the tight, hard, eminently danceable rock & roll sounds that comprise about two-thirds of this album, there are signs of the softer, more introspective balladry that lead singer Mark Lindsay was starting to favor in his songwriting (“Little Girl in the Fourth Row,” etc.). It was this stylistic break, coupled with disputes over which bandmembers were to get their songs represented on the group’s albums, that led to Levin’s departure following the release of this album, which helped precipitate a stylistic drift away from the sound that defined the group. The Sundazed reissue, released in February 2000, has been remixed from the original three-track session masters, yet remains true to the band’s original sound, and the album has been enhanced with the presence of three rocking bonus tracks (two of them car songs — cool!). “Kicks” is still the coolest song here, but the Sundazed version rocks a lot harder with the extra tracks, and is a lot more fun. There are also new notes by Volk and Levin, in which both look back with honesty yet a great deal of warmth and enjoyment for what they did, and what they were doing around the time of this album.
TRACKS:
Side 1
“Kicks” (Mann, Weil) — 2:28
“There’s Always Tomorrow” (Levin, Smith) — 2:39
“Little Girl in the 4th Row” (Lindsay, Revere) — 2:58
“Ballad of a Useless Man” (Levin) — 2:08
“(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” (Boyce, Hart) — 2:31
“There She Goes” (Lindsay, Revere) — 1:47
Side 2
“All I Really Need Is You” (Lindsay, Revere) — 3:27
“Get It On” (Levin, Volk) — 3:12
“Louie, Go Home” (Lindsay, Revere) — 2:41
“Take a Look at Yourself” (Lindsay, Revere) — 1:48
“Melody For an Unknown Girl” (Lindsay, Revere) — 1:59
2000 reissue
“Kicks” (Mann, Weil) — 2:28
“There’s Always Tomorrow” (Levin, Smith) — 2:39
“Little Girl in the 4th Row” (Lindsay, Revere) — 2:58
“Ballad of a Useless Man” (Levin) — 2:08
“(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” (Boyce, Hart) — 2:31
“There She Goes” (Lindsay, Revere) — 1:47
“All I Really Need Is You” (Lindsay, Revere) — 3:27
“Get It On” (Levin, Volk) — 3:12
“Louie, Go Home” (Lindsay, Revere) — 2:41
“Take a Look at Yourself” (Lindsay, Revere) — 1:48
“Melody For an Unknown Girl” (Lindsay, Revere) — 1:59
“Shake It Up” (Bonus track)
“Little Girl In The 4th Row” (Italian Version) (Bonus track)
“SS 396” (Bonus track)
“Corvair Baby” (Bonus track)
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