Rockin’ Highbrows – 25 Great Instrumentals From The Classics

Image result for march from the love of three oranges   Image result for la bouree praetorius   Image result for electric light orchestra 1973

The first piece of serious music your reviewer recall’s falling under the sway of was “March from Love Of Three Oranges” by Sergei Prokofiev after hearing it in Miss Buckley’s music appreciation class at Kohl School.   Dad and especially mom loved orchestral music and show tunes and that was all the young me heard as a youth along with Lawrence Welk and his ilk.  For a few years the folks even had season tickets to the now defunct Denver Symphony and occasionally your’s truly got to go.  Exposure to the classics also came via movies having been taken to see Disney features like Fantasia (all Stokowski orchestrations with cartoons) and Sleeping Beauty whose run included the short film Grand Canyon featuring the music of Ferde Grofe (remember the sidewinder snake?).  Any kid from back in the ’50s and ’60s watched cartoons on Saturday AM.  All those old Looney Tunes features made use of the classics since royalties didn’t have to be paid for their use (who can forget such goodies as Rabbit Of Seville and What’s Opera, Doc?).   It almost seemed pre-ordained that the high school and college aged me came to love progressive rock as there are classical overtones to much of that music.  With that in mind it seemed like a fun topic to make a list of great rock and roll (or at least non-traditional instrumentation) songs that originated from classical sources.  There are a lot of vocal rock songs that have used themes ‘borrowed’ from that music, but this is strictly a list of instrumentals (maybe we will do vocals another time).  Some like my Uncle Bill will consider many of these to be desecrations of great music, but heck – it exposed many a kid to music they may not have heard and perhaps those kids later went out and bought the originals.  Besides having to be an instrumental, the only rule here is only one song per act.

1.Boycott’s Bouree – The Albion Band

It is tempting to say that “La Bourree” from Michael Praetorius’ compendium of baroque dance music Terpsichore is this blogger’s favorite piece of music as it so happy and memorable.  Praetorius was mainly a composer of music based on hymns, but in 1612 he arranged and compiled over 300 mainly French dance tunes (though many originated elsewhere in Europe).  ’60s kids remember it as the 355 year old instrumental break from the #11 hit by The Fifth Estate’s 1967 version of “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” from The Wizard Of Oz.  The most important figure in over 50 years of electrified British Traditional music has been Ashley Hutchings, the bassist who formed Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and the band on this recording – The Albion Band.  This song is found on the CD The BBC Sessions (Strange Fruit) with this performance from the 1977 edition of The Albion Band.  Some of the players in addition to Hutchings were Phil Pickett (woodwinds), Ric Sanders (fiddle) and Dave Mattacks (drums).

2.Love Sculpture – Farandole (from L ‘Arlesienne)

This is a virtual tie with The Albion Band track for #1 though it could well have been another piece by Dave Edmunds’ band – “Sabre Dance” instead of “Farandole”.  Since we have to pick just one song by this trio, the incidental music written by Georges Bizet for a play by Alphonse Daudet gets the nod.  After having a #5 hit with his great guitar instro version of “Sabre Dance” in the UK, Edmunds tried the same formula with “Farandole” which was released on the second and final Love Sculpture LP Forms & Feelings in Jan. 1970.  Many are not aware of what a great guitarist Edmunds was in addition to his great retro-rockers like “I Hear You Knockin'” and “Girls Talk”.

3.Apollo 100 – Joy

Johann Sebastian Bach in 1723 composed this piece of music which has become a stately standard at weddings.  As a joyous uptempo keyboard workout, the late Tom Parker released Bach’s song on the Mega label in early 1972 and scored a #6 hit in the US.

4.Wolf Hoffmann – Swan Lake

It was the purchase of the 2016 album Headbangers Symphony that inspired this month’s blog posting.   Wolf Hoffmann (the guitarist with German metal band Accept) released his first solo album in 1997 and it was appropriately titled Classical as it was all covers of songs like “The Moldau” and “Bolero”.  Twenty years later, his second solo album followed the same path with metal versions of “Air On A G String”, “Pathetique”, etc.  Tchaikovsky composed the music for this ballet in 1875-6 with the premier performance in 1877 to less than stellar reviews.  Just like the Beatles’ Abbey Road which was panned by many reviewers upon release, “Swan Lake” is now considered a classic.

5.Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Romeo & Juliet

The prog supergroup ELP recorded a number of fine classical covers including a full album dedicated to Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition.  “Romeo & Juliet” was found on their 1992 reunion record Black Moon after a fourteen year hiatus and was not a big success.  This classical cover featured Keith Emerson playing the main motif on synthesizer.   Composed in 1935 by Prokofiev, “Romeo & Juliet” was music for a ballet based on a Shakesperean play.

6.Kokomo – Asia Minor

There was no band named Kokomo to support this #8 hit back in 1961, only studio musicians led by jazz pianist Jimmy Wisner.  The pseudonym was supposed to hide his identity from his jazz fans, but after the records’ success Wisner went into rock and roll as a songwriter (“Don’t Throw Your Love Away” with Billy Jackson) and arranger (Len Barry, Tommy James, The Cowsills, etc.).  The song is a honky-tonk piano version of the 24 year old Edvard Grieg’s 1868 composition “Piano Concerto In A Minor”.  As we go through the list, it is interesting how 1961 seems to be the year of taking the classics and rocking them up.

7.Jethro Tull – Bouree

Found on the second Tull album Stand Up (1969), this is a jazzy version of J. S. Bach’s “Bourrée in E Minor”.  The original was generally played on the lute, but band leader Ian Anderson used flute to follow the main theme.   This has remained a standard in concert for Anderson and a fan favorite.  Ostensibly Paul McCartney was also inspired by Bach’s tune in the composition of “Blackbird”.  A bouree is a rapid dance with French origins first mentioned in 1655.  When used in a classical context, a bouree is not necessarily meant to be danced.

8.B. Bumble & The Stingers – Bumble Boogie

Here we have another hit from 1961 by a band of session musicians.  Producer Kim Fowley recorded Ernie Freeman on honky tonk piano with Earl Palmer (drums), Tommy Tedesco (guitar) and Red Callender (bass).  The song had previously been a boogie woogie hit for The Freddy Martin Orchestra in 1946 with Jack Fina on piano and Fowley used a similar arrangement.  On the Rendezvous label, the record hit a peak in the US of #21 which necessitated finding a band to tour as the fictitious B. Bumble & The Stingers.   A white band from Oklahoma subbed for the mixed race studio players.  The song itself was derived from “Flight Of The Bumblebee” composed in 1899-1900 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov to close Act III, Tableau 1 of the opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan.  B. Bumble had a hit with an adaptation of “The Nutcracker Suite” (Tchaikovsky) as well titled “Nut Rocker”.

9.The Nice – Intermezzo: Karelia Suite (Live)

Before becoming a third of ELP, Keith Emerson was the flash keyboardist with The Nice which started as a quartet, but by this record was down to a trio.  While there is a studio version of this song on their second LP, the preferable version to the young me was on the 1970 live record Five Bridges as it also featured an orchestra (Sinfonia Of London conducted by Joseph Eger).  The noisy organ feedback section goes a bit too long, but when the full band comes back in at about the 7:43 mark it still brings goosebumps.   Finnish composer Jean Sibelius wrote this in 1893.

10.Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Mozart/Figaro

From the 2000 rock opera Beethoven’s Last Night, this piece references the very popular overture from the comic opera “The Marriage Of Figaro” by Mozart (1786).   The late Paul O’Neill created the band Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996 from the metal act Savatage as a marriage of rock and classical music.   While their rock opera’s are not all holiday themed, the band has become a perennial Christmas season cash cow – a must-see like “The Nutcracker”.  This particular work is a fictional account of the last night of Beethoven’s life when supposedly the devil comes to collect his soul (unsuccessfully).

11.Paul Revere & The Raiders – Like, Long Hair

The first chart record by pianist Paul Revere’s Raiders sounded very different than their later garage rockers that enraptured the teenaged me back in 1965.   Charting at #38 in 1961, this was a boogie woogie take-off on Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude In C Sharp Minor” (composed when he was 19).  This rockin’ version doesn’t exactly follow the complete theme, but there is enough here to make the list.  Rachmaninoff’s most famous piece was also sampled on the En Vogue modern R & B track “Love Won’t Take Me Out”.

12.The Piltdown Men – Piltdown Rides Again

Of course classical music lovers will know this piece as Gioachino Rossini’s “William Tell Overture”, but any kid from the ’50s will recognize another version of this song as the theme song to The Lone Ranger TV series (feel free to insert your own ‘Hi Ho Silver!’).  The Piltdown Men were an American studio creation that were more successful in the UK with this record peaking there at #14 in 1961.  While formed by pianist Lincoln Mayorga, The Piltdown Men had a lot of sax appeal due to the dominant dual honkers Scott Gordon and Jackie Kelso (other musicians were reportedly Bob Bain – guitar, Tommy Tedesco – bass, Alan Brenmanen – drums).  Their only US charter was “Brontosaurus Stomp”.  Trivia buffs may find interesting that the duo behind this combo (Ed Cobb and Lincoln Mayorga) were another studio act, The Link Eddy Combo whose instrumental rip-off of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say” titled  “Big Mr. C” was the first single released on Reprise records (1961).

13.Waldo De Los Rios – Mozart Symphony No. 40 In G Minor K.550, 1st Movement

A minor if unlikely #67 US hit from 1971 while singer/songwriters dominated the charts, this was a huge success in many countries for the Argentinian.  The year before, he had arranged and conducted Miguel Rios’ #14 vocal hit “A Song Of Joy” based on Beethoven’s 9th.  Any number of his pop arrangements of the classics could have made the list, but this is his most popular one.  Sadly, De Los Rios suffered from depression and took his own life in 1977.  Mozart wrote this in 1788 at age 32.

14.Procol Harum – The Blue Danube

Johann Strauss II composed this in 1866 as “An Der Schönen Blauen Donau, Op. 314”.  Reportedly not a success at the time, this waltz is one of the best known pieces of classical music ever.  Fans of Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey will remember this song from the space docking scene.  Skaters of any age likely will have rolled or bladed around the rink to this song as well.  Gary Brooker’s band Procol Harum may well have invented progressive rock (along with The Moody Blues) and are at this time one of the biggest omissions from the rock and roll hall of shame (er, fame).  Procol Harum’s body of original work is revered by fans though most folk only know them from “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” and “Conquistador”.  Their cover of Strauss ( well-played if a bit tongue-in-cheek) is a rarity first found only as the B-side on a 1976 French single with the A-side “Adagio Di Albinoni” which also could have made this list.  Note that Strauss’ father was also a composer of mainly waltzes and is best known for “The Radetzky March”.

15.Sky – Toccata

The first line-up of Sky was a very interesting amalgam.  You had classical guitarist John Williams, prog-rock keyboardist Francis Monkman, session bassist Herbie Flowers, Aussie guitarist Kevin Peek and drummer Tristan Fry who had played timpani on “A Day In The Life” by The Beatles.  Their 1980 double album Sky 2 was a #1 UK chart success and featured the single “Toccata” which was also a Brit hit at #5.  This was an amped up version of the Bach organ show-piece “Toccata and Fugue In D Minor, BWV 565” (which your’s truly over-played in church back in the ’70s).  While cut from the 1942 RKO general release of Disney’s Fantasia for time reasons (the film ran over two hours), Bach’s piece was restored for all future showings and accompanies a very abstract animation sequence.

16.The Electric Light Orchestra – In The Hall Of The Mountain King

ELO was the 1970 brainchild of The Move – Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne with drummer Bev Bevan.  Their original idea was to take the ‘rock-with-cellos’ idea of John Lennon’s “I Am The Walrus” further in a band context.  By their 1973 release On The Third Day, Wood was long gone to Wizzard and Lynne was just finding has way to the arena rock band ELO would become.  The only non-Lynne composition on the LP was an amalgam of two Grieg compositions.  The song starts with a synthesizer playing the light “Morning Mood” which gives way to the ominous “In The Hall Of The Mountain King”.  Both are from the incidental music composed by Grieg in 1875 for Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt (premiering in 1876).   Many rock acts (including The Who and Nero & The Gladiators) have recorded this song.

17.Yes – Cans & Brahms

Found on many Yes fans’ fave album Fragile (1971), this is actually a Rick Wakeman solo piece.  Wakeman combines several keyboards on a shortened adaptation of the “Symphony No. 4 In E Minor, 3rd Movement” by Johannes Brahms.  German composer Brahms may be the fave composer of harried moms who have used his “Lullaby” to sooth their babies to sleep for years.

18.The Chieftains – Chieftains Largo

In 1998 a largely unknown various artists album came out that was a tribute to the second movement of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony, “Largo”.  Rick Chertoff, Rob Hyman, Eric Bazilian (The Hooters) with David Forman were behind this sadly overlooked record that featured Taj Mahal, Levon Helm & Garth Hudson (The Band), Cyndi Lauper, etc.  A tape of Dvorak’s piece literally went to the moon on the person of Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong.  When he composed this symphony in 1893, Dvorak was under the sway of some of America’s earliest music forms – that of Native Americans and African slaves.  The “Largo” section was given lyrics in 1922 by William Arms Fisher and is known also as “Goin’ Home” which is mistakenly thought of as a traditional folk song.  On the album several artists give their reading of the main theme including the Irish traditional band The Chieftains who lend the Uilleann pipes of Paddy Moloney plus flute and tin whistle to their gentle interpretation.

19.The Cougars – Saturday Night At The Duck Pond

A UK hit in 1961 that didn’t chart in the US, this is a charged up version of the ballet “Swan Lake” again by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  The story is of Princess Odette who is turned to a swan by a sorcerer’s curse.   Bristol, England’s The Cougars sound is very similar to the biggest UK instrumental act of all-time – The Shadows (who curiously never charted here either).  The single may well have hit higher than #33 if it wouldn’t have been banned by the BBC.  My Uncle Bill will relate to the reason for the ban – the powers that be claimed it was “a travesty of a major classical work”.

20.Alan Parsons – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

This is the newest performance on the list, appearing on the 2019 Alan Parsons album The Secret.   The guitar is handled by prog virtuoso Steve Hackett late of Genesis.  Both Parsons and Hackett put on wonderful performances on the 2019 On The Blue Cruise we were on board with, but curiously (in light of this collaboration) they didn’t appear together at any time.   The album is a tribute to magic which is appropriate to this song if you remember the Mickey Mouse segment in Fantasia (likely the most beloved section of the movie).   Paul Dukas wrote the symphonic poem in 1897 based on Goethe’s original poem of 1797.  This song along with “Night On Bald Mountain” (Mussorgsky) has become associated with Halloween due to the evil sounding motifs.

21.The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Opus 36, Clementi

By a wide margin, the best NGDB album was Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy which contains “Some Of Shelly’s Blues”, “House At Pooh Corners”, “Mr. Bojangles”, etc. (1970).  Banjo virtuoso John McEuen solos on Muzio Clementi’s 1797 piece “Sonatina In C major, Op.36, No.1” which is commonly played on piano.  Erik Satie parodied this song in his “Sonatine Bureaucratique” as well.

22.The Ventures – Beethoven’s Sonata In C# Minor

The most prolific and influential US instrumental act has been the Ventures from the Pacific Northwest.   During their main era of the ’60s and ’70s, they would take hits of the day and refashion them on LP with a mix of originals.  Of their 60+ studio albums, 1972’s Joy included their cover of the Apollo 100 hit “Joy”.  The rest of the record is classical melodies in a rock format including this song that sounds very similar in style to “Joy”.   The original by Beethoven is a very sedate piano piece generally known as “The Moonlight Sonata” (“Piano Sonata No. 14 In C♯ Minor”).   One of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s most popular works, he completed it in 1801 at age 31.

23.Emerson, Lake & Powell – Mars, The Bringer Of War

Okay, some of you may be crying foul as this is Keith Emerson’s third appearance on the list however this is a different band containing a different ‘P’ in Cozy Powell instead of Carl Palmer who was in the band Asia at the time.  On their solitary self-titled album from 1986 they did a version of Gustav Holst’s “Mars, The Bringer Of War” which Dave Edmunds’ Love Sculpture had previously included on their Forms & Feelings record.  Finished in 1916, Holst’s “The Planets” was made up of seven movements that were each named after a planet.  A sort of evil bolero, stylistically it influenced many movie soundtrack composers including John Williams in Star Wars and Hans Zimmer in Gladiator. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band had a hit with “Joybringer” which was a vocal adaptation of another movement – “Jupiter, The Bringer Of Joy”.

24.William Orbit – Barber’s Adagio For Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix -Radio Edit)

This is the only ‘modern music’ song on the list and is a Dec. 1999 #4 UK hit that was a dance remix of Orbit’s Samuel Barber II cover.  It first appeared on his 1995 classical album Pieces In Modern Style (re-released in 2000).   Ferry Costen who did the hit dance remix is a Dutch DJ.  William Orbit (nee Wainwright) has been active since 1982 working with Madonna, Betty Boo, U2, Beth Orton, etc.  “Adagio For Strings” was composed in 1936 as his “String Quartet, Op. 11 – 2nd Movement” and is Barber’s best known work.

25.Adrian Kimberly – The Graduation Song…Pomp & Circumstance

The last alumnus from 1961 on our list is by the one-hit wonder Adrian Kimberly who was actually Don Everly of the Everly Brothers under an assumed name.  The Everly Brothers switched labels from Cadence to Warner Brothers in 1960 and had their own short-lived Calliope Records label as a Warners subsidiary (1961-62).  This was the only hit on Calliope out of five single releases.   Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches was composed in 1901.  The best known of the marches is “Pomp And Circumstance March No. 1 In D” which contains several sections including the tune known as “Land Of Hope And Glory” (part of “Trio”) which was used in the UK as the “Coronation Ode” for King Edward VII.  As Mrs. RNR Dentist and I observed while attending an organ concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Brits boisterously sing along to this song with words we Yanks didn’t know even existed.  Here in the US, this tune is played ad nauseum at every high school and college graduation, it seems.   The Kimberly version was arranged by Neil Hefti who many will recall as writing the TV theme for the ’60s version of Batman.



Papa’s Got A Brand New Bagpipe – 25 Pipe Songs

Image result for bagpipe rock band

The Rock N Roll Dental Assistant Meagan is a fan of Bagpipe music and we are a fan of her so this month’s topic was ready made.  The Scottish Highland Bagpipes are not generally thought of as a rock and roll instrument so it at first seemed like a major challenge to come up with 25 different songs/musical acts employing an instrument some look upon with derision (indeed many consider the sound to be not unlike that made by a cat being stepped on).  As it turned out, there were more than enough goodies to fill out our list and not have to resort to acts like GWAR or Mudmen (sorry fans – not our cup of tea here at old white guy central).  As can be seen from the accompanying picture, the pipes being played here utilize a blowpipe which distinguishes them from the Irish instrument that uses a bellows – the Uilleann pipes.  These pipes were often used hundreds of years ago to inspire Highlanders to go into battle.  Their music has a Celtic influence.  With the advent of synthesizers, it is possible to approximate the sound of pipes with a keyboard and songs that definitely did that have been left off  (Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road” for example).  Songs using the Uilleann pipes (if known) have also been left off which eliminates fine music by Van Morrison and the Chieftains, for example.  What is left is a very subjective list of your Dentist’s faves with the rule that only one song per group was going to be used (which made it pretty tough as a few acts use bagpipes on most of their songs).   The first four songs were so close that it was hard to rank one ahead of the other so consider them 1.a., b., c., & d.

1.Maurice Gibb – The Bridge

The late Maurice Gibb was my fave Bee Gee as he always seemed the most musical playing bass, keys and guitars while singing lead on some great album tracks like “Suddenly” and “You Know It’s For You” (pre-disco music, kids – check ’em out).  He was known as the ‘man in the middle’ (even singing a song of that name on their last LP) for trying to keep the peace between his more volatile brothers Barry & Robin.  This is a very emotional song about family featuring contributions from his children Adam and Samantha that sadly isn’t widely known as it is only found on the four CD compilation box Mythology.  It finally came out in 2010 over seven years after his untimely passing at age 53.  In light of his fate, the lyrics almost take on a spiritual meaning as well when he gently says “walk across the bridge, come to me” – gives you a catch in the throat.  It is hard to tell if the pipe sound is from a keyboard, but the tune is very Celtic so it stays in the list regardless.

2.Wizzard – Are You Ready to Rock

Roy Wood is a musical genius that has had huge success in the U.K. and zero success in the U.S.  In the Move, he was responsible for great songs like “Flowers In The Rain” and “Brontosaurus” then founded the group The Electric Light Orchestra with his band-mate Jeff Lynne only to leave before their success to start his own band Wizzard.  That crazy glam band had a string of U.K. hits that again did nothing here.  Cool folks know Wood’s music (check out Flash Cadillac’s “See My Baby Jive” and Cheap Trick’s “California Man”) which of course includes your R ‘N’ R Dentist blogster.  Back in 1974 with this single hitting #8 in Jolly Ole England, yours truly had a custom t-shirt made with this title on the front – still have it in the closet.

3.AC/DC – It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)

This is the kind of moronic stuff that makes rock and roll music great.  Three chords, pounding drums, crunchy guitars and a bagpipe solo!  With apologies to Brian Johnson who did yeoman’s work leading AC/DC for years, the late Bon Scott was a cool singer in a cool band – too bad he died so young (age 33 in 1980).  This was the lead track in late 1975 to their second Australian-only LP T.N.T. then in ’76 was released worldwide on High Voltage.  The story goes that producer (and older brother to Angus and Malcolm) George Young suggested the bagpipes on this song since he know that Scott had played in a pipe band when younger.  What he didn’t know was that Bon had played the drums, but no matter as Scott was equal to the task helping fashion a nifty call and response betwixt his pipes and Angus’ guitar.  In a 2001 list of the best Aussie music of the previous 75 years, the Australasian Performing Right Association voted this song at #9 (#1 was “Friday On My Mind” by George Young’s band The Easybeats).

4.Paul McCartney & Wings – Mull Of Kintyre

What an illustration of the difference between musical charts of the U.K. and those of the U.S.  On the eastern side of the Atlantic, this was for many years the biggest selling single of all-time (knocking off Paul’s Beatles hit “She Loves You”) while in the new world it was only a single B-side to the minor hit (#33) “Girls’ School”.  It topped the charts over Christmas-time 1977 (nine weeks at #1) and was the first single to sell over two million copies in the U.K.  It has gone on to be a pipe band standard.  On the original record the pipes and drums are performed by The Campbeltown Pipe Band.

5.The Cambridge Strings & Singers – Theme from Tunes Of Glory

Tunes Of Glory is a 1960 British movie starring Alec Guiness and taking place after WW II.  The film music harkens to the Scottish Highlands location of the regiment.  The London records single was released in America in February of 1961 peaking at #66.  Musical arrangement was reportedly by U.K. Decca Records producer Dick Rowe who would later reject the Beatles telling their manager Brian Epstein that “guitar groups are on their way out” which earned him a place in history.  He didn’t repeat that mistake when presented with The Rolling Stones, however.

6.Wolfstone – Cleveland Park

Wolfstone was the hardest act to pick just one song by since they have put out seven fine studio records over their career.  This song is a jaunty fiddle-driven jig that gets a punch up the backside when the pipes chime in at 2:09.  This instrumental was from their first proper album, 1991’s Unleashed.  On this record the piper was Allan Wilson.  This Scottish Celtic band are still going with two original members in Duncan Chisolm (fiddle) and Stuart Eaglesham (vocals, acoustic guitar).

7.Rod Stewart – Rhythm Of My Heart

Released as a single in March of 1991, this Celtic sounding song hit #5 in the U.S. and belies Stewart’s half Scottish roots (though written by Marc Jordan and John Capek).  Reportedly Eric Rigler of the band Bad Haggis performed the Great Highland Bagpipes used on the recording.  His playing has appeared in countless movies including Braveheart, Titanic, Robots, etc.  The song appeared on Rod’s Vagabond Heart album.  Rod also sang on the Jeff Beck Group version of “Morning Dew” from the classic 1968 album Truth that had some barely heard bagpipes at the beginning and end.  They really weren’t a major part of the song so it was left off the list.

8.Eric Burdon & The Animals – Sky Pilot

Singer Eric Burdon morphed The Animals from a gritty R&B rock British Invasion outfit to a more socially conscious psychedelic act while replacing all the performers.  This #14 anti-war single from the summer of 1969 was broken into parts 1 and 2 to accomodate the track’s nearly seven and a half minutes (the hit side was part 1 though cool FM stations played the whole thing).  Producer Tom Wilson gave the song the phased ‘whooshing’ sound plus threw in all kinds of sound affects in the middle battle section including The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards playing “All The Blue Bonnets Are Over the Border” (from about 3:56 – 5:04).  The composition is by the whole band: Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, Barry Jenkins, Danny McCulloch and John Weider.

9.Skerryvore  – Trip To Modera

The studio version from 2018’s album Evo isn’t on youtube, so instead we have here a live cut that illustrates how musically talented they are.  Once again it was tough to choose just one song from this record.  Evo alternates vocal tracks with juiced up jigs (of which this song is the latter). Named for a lighthouse near an island (Tiree) off the coast of Scotland from whence the band formed, Skerryvore will be 15 in 2020.

10.John Farnham – You’re The Voice

In 1986, a year after his three year stint in The Little River Band ended, Aussie singer Farnham released this his biggest single that peaked at #1 in several countries (though it didn’t chart in the U.S.).  Heart and The Alan Parson Project (with co-writer Chris Thompson on vocals) did amazing versions as well, but it is Farnham’s record that used the sound of pipes.  Authorship is claimed by Andy Qunta, Keith Reid, Maggie Ryder and Thompson.  The lyrics encourage the listener to take a stand and not sit back and be silent about important issues.  To some degree it is also anti-war.  The single is fine, but I decided to include a live video as the pipes are more obvious.

11.Flag – I Am

Sadly this isn’t on the internet so you will just have to trust your rock n roll Dentist that this is a fine song from 1985 on the Scotti Brothers label by Flag from their self-titled album.  Augmented by session players, Flag was Archie Brown on vocals and bagpipes plus Dave Cairns on guitar.  Brown’s voice had a a bit of a Bryan Ferry quaver which gave this record a distinctive sound.

12.The Pipes & Drums & The Military Band Of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – Amazing Grace

In 1972 this, one of the most iconic of tunes, braved the U.S. charts and topped out at an amazing #11.  The Christian hymn started life as a poem in the late 1700’s written by John Newton.  Several tunes were used with the words over the years till American William Walker joined it with “New Britain” in his tunebook Southern Harmony (1847).  In 1970, Judy Collins took an a cappella version from her outstanding Whales & Nightingales album to #15.  Two years later, this instrumental version of the hymn pretty much followed her arrangement.

13.Right Said Fred – You’re My Mate

In the U.S., these guys are pretty much a one-hit novelty act with “I’m Too Sexy”, a #1 hit in 1991.  In other parts of the world, however, the brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass have had a long career charting singles as recently as 2010.  “You’re My Mate” hit #17 in the U.K. in 2001 and reportedly became the official song of the South Africa national rugby union team .  The pipes may or may not be keyboard derived, but since the video shows three lovely ladies carrying actual bagpipes it has to make the list.

14.Brother – Romp & Circumstance

Yet another band hard to pick just one song by, this video is the live version of the song (however I prefer the studio take on their third CD Exit From Screechville).  While now only containing one brother, this Aussie act was started by the Richardson’s – Hamish, Angus and Fergus.  All three play bagpipes and Hamish added didgeridoo.  This song was on their own label Rhubarb in 1994.

15.Glen Campbell – Bonaparte’s Retreat

Having started his career as a studio musician, the late Glen Campbell was a man of many talents.  Campbell had a #3 country chart hit in 1974 with this old Pee Wee King song on which Glen played many instruments including the bagpipes.  He also played the pipes on “Mull Of Kintyre” in concert at times.  This single was from his album Houston (I’m Comin’ to See You).

16.The Cryan’ Shames – The Sailing Ship

Illinois band The Cryan’ Shames were never as big nationally as they were in the Chicago area, but they put out some excellent British Invasion tinged music.  Their biggest success was with “Sugar & Spice” by The Searchers in the U.K.  This Jim Fairs and Lenny Kerley original was from their Dec. 1967 album A Scratch In The Sky and could very easily fit as an LP track from the first Bee Gees album.  This was also the flip side to their fifth single – “Up On The Roof”.  Fairs supplied the bagpipes.

17.Me First & The Gimme Gimmes – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry

For the Rock N Roll Dental Assistant, Meagan, we have this punk pastiche of the old Hank Williams song from their 2006 album Love Their Country.  The punky pipes are played by Brendan Allen.  Controversy exists on who actually wrote the lyrics, by the way.  It has been asserted that they were written by Herbert Paul Gilley then sold to Williams (a practice he supposedly did on many other country hits).  As Gilley drowned in 1957, the story can’t be proved.

18.Prydein – Horny-pipes

The Vermont Celtic band Prydein has released four albums making it difficult to choose just one song, but this instrumental moves along at an agreeable jaunt.  The song is from their 2010 album Heads Up.  Several pipers have played in the band including original member Iain Mac Harg.  The sound is Celtic with electric guitars.

19.Dropkick Murphys – Cadence To Arms (Scotland The Brave)

This Massachusetts Celtic punk band have been around since 1996.  This reworking of the traditional song “Scotland The Brave” was the lead track from their debut album Do Or Die (1998).  This 100+ year old melody is considered one of the unofficial Scottish national anthems (“Flower Of Scotland” is also in the running).  Their instrumental recording of “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” was used as the theme to the TV show Rizzoli & Isles.  Pipes were blown here by Joe Delaney.   To these old ears, their music is better without the screaming vocals.

20.Mike Oldfield – Tattoo

1973’s debut Mike Oldfield album Tubular Bells was his biggest success so he returned to that theme with the 1992 LP Tubular Bells II which was also a #1 chart success in the U.K.  The instrumental “Tattoo” was edited from side two and became a #33 hit in the U.K. (it was also available on the Live at Edinburgh Castle EP). A tattoo in this context refers to a musical military performance that is said to have originated as a signal to tell innkeepers near military post to stop serving alcohol and to alert soldiers to return from leave.

21.The Moody Blues – Highway

How often are the B-sides of singles and CD bonus tracks some of the best songs (not) on albums?  This is rhetorical of course, but this song is yet another in a series of songs like that; seemingly better than many of the songs actually on the released album.  “Highway” was recorded for the relatively unsuccessful 1991 album Keys To The Kingdom.  The rejected song was released at the time only on the 12″ single “Say It With Love”.  Two compilations finally rescued the song from obscurity – the 1994 boxset Time Traveller and the 1998 two CD set Anthology.  It is a Justin Hayward/John Lodge composition.  The track starts with bagpipes then shifts to a classic Moodies acoustic guitar-driven vocal harmony section before it turns into a jaunty pop song that finally ends with more pipes.

22.Nino Tempo & April Stevens – I Love How You Love Me

Antonino LoTempio came out of the Phil Spector stable of session musicians and with his sister Carol they formed a popular ’60s duo under the stage names Nino Tempo & April Stevens.  Their biggest hit (#1 in 1963) was “Deep Purple”, a reworking of a ’30s popular tune.  The song “I Love How You Love Me” was a Spector produced ballad in the hands of the Paris Sisters in 1961 that hit #5 in the U.S.  Nino & April punched up the tempo and added an insistent bagpipe riff to the background for their 1965 non-chart single.  In the U.K. Paul & Barry Ryan ‘borrowed’ that arrangement and had a #21 hit in 1966.  We will not reward copycats, however, so Nino & April get our nod.  By the way, for completeness sake, Bobby Vinton also has a hit with this song in late 1968 (#9).


23.Scorpions – Wild Child

Aside from the pipes, this sounds pretty much like all the other music by the German band formed by Rudolf Schenker – loud and metallic.  The Pure Instinct album was released in 1996 and was their thirteenth studio LP.

24.Parliament – The Silent Boatman

If you only know George Clinton’s band from funk like “Flash Light” and “Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)”, this tune from the 1970 album Osmium will come as a shock.  Psychedelic soul is how this their first album is described (they had recorded previously as The Parliaments and Funkadelic).  The English born composer and vocalist Ruth Copeland says that the song (her first) was a protest song about how death levels everything.

25.Peter Gabriel – Come Talk To Me

Your blogger was far fonder of Mr. Gabriel as a prog rock singer in Genesis, but then had he stayed on we might never have heard Phil Collins except as their drummer (so guess it all worked out for the best).  The instrumental intro features bagpipes on this the lead track from his 1992 album Us which peaked on the LP charts at #2.  Vocals are shared on this world music track with Sinéad O’Connor.

The Beatles Get Covered Part 2 – 25 More Of My Faves

So last month’s post was 25 fab covers of Beatles songs.  With several thousand to choose from, it only seems fair to add 25 more to make it an even 50 – so here goes.  Keep in mind the rules – only one cover allowed by any group and of any song (and honestly the order is pretty fluid).

26.Lee Rocker – I’ll Cry Instead

Truthfully it was so close between Joe Cocker’s version and this great rockabilly that it was painful to leave out one or the other last month (went with Joe since his was older).  This shows that the Stray Cats bassist (real name Leon Drucker) could hold his own as a lead singer (maybe better than Brian Setzer’s growlier voice).  The 2003 album Bulletproof is the source for this hot rocker.

27.Cheap Trick – Magical Mystery Tour

One of the greatest power pop bands of all-time, Cheap Trick does outstanding covers (notably Roy Wood –  “Blackberry Way”, “California Man”).  This song appears on the album The Greatest Hits.  It would have made the top 25 except for the last minute when the song wanders aimlessly to an end.

28.The Wallflowers – I’m Looking Through You

Son of Bob Dylan (Jakob) covers the Beatles  – and does a pretty darn good job of it.  The movie soundtrack to the 2001 movie i am sam was supposed to be Beatles songs, but the rights proved to be a problem thus the use of nothing but remakes.  As a covers album you could do worse than picking up this soundtrack (Eddie Vedder, The Black Crowes, Sheryl Crow, etc.).  The original name of Dylan’s band was The Apples (coincidence?).

29.Jake Shimabukuro – In My Life

While it was his 2006 version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that made this ukulele virtuoso a sensation,  “In My Life” is far more gentle and affecting.  Too bad John Lennon couldn’t hear this emotional version of his composition with only bass and uke.  Hawaiian born Shimabukuro has done several albums of simple instrumentals that make for great background music to a lazy day.  “In My Life” comes from his six-song 2007 EP My Life which also has a nice “Here, There And Everywhere” cover.

30.Ghost – Here Comes The Sun

From 1969’s Abbey Road, this is perhaps George Harrison’s best song.  It is such a light and happy song – except when done by these cartoonish Swedish heavy-metalers.  Ghost recorded the song in a minor key which seems to imply regret that the sun is coming up (perhaps a vampire needing to get to his coffin?).  Their cover is pretty tough to come by only appearing on the Japanese version of their 2010 debut LP Opus Eponymous (2011 in the U.S. and Japan).

31.Ramsey Lewis – Day Tripper

Jazz pianist Lewis has been recording since 1956, but it was his 1965 instrumental version of “The In Crowd” that made him popular with a larger audience.  His Wade In The Water album had this groovin’ take on the Beatles rocker “Day Tripper” – the #5 B-side to the #1 hit “We Can Work It Out”.  Lewis’ workout hit #74 in 1966.  The drummer for this record was Maurice White who later formed Earth, Wind & Fire.

32.The Smithereens – Don’t Bother Me

George Harrison’s first recorded composition wasn’t one of his best, but sounds pretty darn good as done by power poppers The Smithereens with crunchier guitar.  This was from their 2007 attempt at redoing the entire Meet The Beatles! album – appropriately titled Meet The Smithereens!.  Guitarist Jim Babjak proved to be a pretty fair lead vocalist on this song (the late Pat DiNizio sang lead normally).

33.Yes – Every Little Thing

In 1969 a new group appeared named Yes with a debut album of that same name.  Members were Jon Anderson lead vocals, Peter Banks guitars, Chris Squire bass, Tony Kaye keys and Bill Bruford drums.  Progressive and jazzy was their style.  Of the eight songs, two were covers including this workout on the Beatles VI album cut “Every Little Thing”.  Starting an aggressive jam, they settle into the song at about 1:43 save for a small foray into “Day Tripper”.  Live is where to appreciate Yes who have done excellent versions of this song through the years.

34.The Jeff Healey Band – Yer Blues

So once again it was hard to choose between Jeff Healey or Kenny Wayne Shepherd for last month’s blog version of John’s nasty “Yer Blues”.  A slight edge went to Shepherd, but Healey tears it up pretty good as well on his 1995 Cover To Cover album.  At age one, he lost his eyesight to cancer.  Starting at age three, Healey (who passed away just before his 42nd birthday in 2008 of cancer again) had an interesting way of playing the guitar – flat like a lap steel instead of up against his body.

35.Restless Heart – The Night Before

With occasional break-ups and reformations, Restless Heart have been performing country music since 1984.  In that time they placed 24 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.  For their 2004 comeback album Still Restless, the band turned in this acoustic workout of the 1965 movie song from Help! with fiddle and dobro for good measure.

36.Joemy Wilson – Eleanor Rigby

Beatles On Hammered Dulcimer is a fine 1989 album by Joemy Wilson which doesn’t appear on youtube (other than “For No One” which is okay, but not as good as “Eleanor Rigby”).  The gentle nature of “Eleanor Rigby” seems to fit the almost music-box sound.

37.Marianne Faithfull – Yesterday

While Paul’s now standard from 1965 was a #1 single in the U.S., it was left to folks like Matt Monro and Mick Jagger’s girlfriend to have the U.K. hits back then.  Faithfull’s version went to #36 over their in November of 1965 and featured an ethereal choir (arrangement by Mike Leander? who did the honors for the fabs on “She’s Leaving Home”).  It was nearly a toss-up between this gentle version and the psychedelic take by Eyes Of Blue.

38.Tony Furtado with Alison Krauss – I Will

Banjo player/guitarist Furtado is only a year older than this McCartney song from the 1968 double album The Beatles (vocalist Krause is three years younger than that LP).  This track is found on Furtado’s 1992 Rounder Records LP Within Reach.  On the original, John and Ringo provide percussion while Paul handles all the rest.

39.The Ventures – I Feel Fine

Bob Bogle, Nokie Edwards, Mel Taylor and Don Wilson were an amazing band.  With supposedly over 200 album releases, The Ventures have been the greatest American guitar instrumental band ever (The Shadows gave them a run for their money in the U.K.).  Back during the ’60s it seemed like every few weeks they would pump out an LP filled with contemporary covers of vocal songs done instrumentally along with a few originals.  “I Feel Fine” was cut by the Ventures at least three different ways back in the day – appearing on the 1965 Knock Me Out LP, Live In Japan ’65 (not released till later) and as the backing arrangement for “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” from their excellent Christmas album.

40.Gryphon – Mother Nature’s Son

Not too many bands have ever sported members playing bassoon and krumhorn, but that can be said for medieval progressive band Gryphon.  On their 1975 Transatlantic album Raindance, they chose to do one cover version – Paul’s White Album solo song “Mother Mature’s Son”.  Formed in 1973, Gryphon are still going as a band today.

41.The Helio Sequence – Tomorrow Never Knows

This live video doesn’t do justice to the excellent studio version on their 2000 album Com Plex, but that cut isn’t on youtube so at least you can see these two guys workout on stage.  Brandon Summers on guitar/vocals and Benjamin Weikel on drums, keys and vocals make up this Oregon band.  For better or for worse, the original Beatles track from Revolver can in many ways be credited as the first song to make extensive use of sampling (using tape loops brought into and out of the live mix).

42.The Hollyridge Strings – Love Me Do

Oh my, this is an embarrassing guilty pleasure.  Arranger Stu Phillips activated the catchall band name The Hollyridge Strings for this Capitol label cash-in for parents and rock & roll phobic kids.  They actually charted (albeit at only #93) with “All My Loving” from this LP back in the summer of 1964.  Phillips’ m.o. for this song was heavy echo and pizzicato strings with a bit of a backbeat (not too much however – didn’t want to get mom and dad too worked up).  The RNR Dentist owns several of their LPs covering everyone from The Beach Boys to Nat King Cole.   After Phillips, Mort Garson and Perry Botkin, Jr. carried the mantle forward for several years of Beatles covers.

43.Oasis – I Am The Walrus

Oasis (and specifically the brothers Gallagher) have been accused of borrowing heavily from The Beatles, but it is hard to criticize a band that loves ’60s British pop.  Released in 1994, Definitely Maybe was their debut album going on to sell over eight million copies worldwide.  One of the singles from that album was “Cigarettes & Alcohol” and the B-side was a loud nasty live version of John Lennon’s “I Am The Walrus”.  For the 2014 CD remaster release, two extra discs were added to the original release one of which included all the single sides.

44.Linda Ronstadt – Good Night

The Ringo sung White Album track “Good Night” was Lennon’s most tender song – written for son Julian.  It gets a bum rap as being sappy, but if you can hear this without getting choked up you are a better (?) man than I.  In 1996 Ronstadt released an album of lullabies – Dedicated To The One I Love with this as the closer.  It won a Grammy the following year.

45.Trouble Tribe – Dear Prudence

Don’t pay too much attention to the stupid video with the slow-motion women; only enjoy the fab cover of John’s White Album track.  This appeared on the self-titled 1990 hair-metal album by Trouble Tribe who didn’t have a lot of success, but did manage to put out a nice version of this song. It starts with easy guitars then gets heavier around the 1:16 mark.

46.Liverpool – Glass Onion

Yet another Lennon track from The Beatles, these guys do a pretty faithful take with an aggressively attractive bass part.  It can be found on the 1997 album In Our Own Way which was made up mostly of Beatle covers/medleys and a couple of very Merseybeat sounding originals.  There are so many Beatles cover bands that it is hard to find someone who hasn’t been in a Beatles cover band.  In addition to Liverpool, for instance, you have Liverpool Legends, Made In Liverpool, Liverpool – A Tribute To The Beatles, etc.

47.Gary Brooker – Old Brown Shoe

On Nov. 29, 2002 on the first anniversary of George Harrison’s passing, a musical gala was held in his honor.  The lead singer of Procol Harum, Gary Brooker, chipped in this rockin’ version of one of George’s most forgotten songs (and one of his best).  “Old Brown Shoe” was the B-side to the single “The Ballad of John and Yoko”.  The Concert For George album has some other goodies including Jeff Lynne’s “I Want To Tell You” and Eric Clapton’s “Beware Of Darkness”.

48.The Naturals – I Should Have Known Better

Back in the day, nearly every Beatles song could have charted (except maybe “Revolution #9”).  In the U.S. many more tracks by the Fab Four did indeed chart than in the U.K. where LPs, EPs and singles were mostly stand-alone affairs.  As the U.S. single B-side to “A Hard Day’s Night”, “I Should Have Known Better” did chart at #53 back in mid-1964 however it was only an album track in the U.K..  Many groups seized on The Beatles’ material for their own releases to capitalize and one such one-hit wonder was the British band The Naturals who had the only chart version of this song (#24) in their own country.  It’s a bit faster and driven by hand-clapping and everybody knows that all songs are better with hand-clapping (and maybe cowbell).

49.Me First & The Gimme Gimmes – All My Lovin’

Here we have an amped up punk-rock pastiche of the first song The Beatles performed on their Feb. 9, 1964 The Ed Sullivan Show debut.  Like the Dickies before them these guys have done punky covers of unexpected songs (starting with their 1995 single desecrating John Denver).  Apparently the name of the band is taken from a children’s book.  “All My Lovin'” is  found on their Blow In The Wind LP from 2001.  I include this as a tribute to the Rock N Roll Dental Assistant, Meagan who is a big fan of this group.

50.Translator – Cry For A Shadow

It seems fitting to end with a cover version of one of the oldest Beatles songs.  The Shadows were Cliff Richard’s backing band and managed a long career doing guitar instrumentals under the leadership of Hank Marvin.  As the only song credited to John Lennon & George Harrison in the Beatles canon, “Beatle Bop” was retitled as a tribute to The Shadows.  When the Beatles recorded in Germany back in 1961 mostly backing Tony Sheridan, it was certainly inconceivable that people would still be enjoying these recordings nearly six decades later.  For a new wave band that had limited success back on their initial run starting in 1979, it is amazing that Translator are still going today.  This cover version was a B-side to the single “Break Down Barriers” in 1983. It is also a bonus track on the 2008 CD re-release of their album No Time Like Now.

The Beatles Get Covered – 25 Of My Faves


Turntable Ted, ace record-collector and good friend, suggested this topic of my favorite Beatles cover versions.  What with the silly new movie (Yesterday) in the theaters about a mediocre singer who supposedly becomes a star covering the Fab Four in a world that has forgotten them, the topic seems relevant.  Looking at other online lists of favorite Beatle covers it became clear that very few of the versions your Dentist would chose have cropped up on other top lists.  With a basement with over 5000 cover versions to choose from, the process of elimination seemed daunting but was helped along because frankly most of the covers are awful (which is a great topic for a later date).  After whittling things down to 60 or so goodies, it becomes obvious that more than one post will be needed to do it properly so this is part one.  To keep things fair, only one version of a particular song will be included this time out.  Covering a Beatles song is generally an exercise in futility as you are trying to top the masters.  I am always torn – is it best to do a faithful copy or try to rearrange what the Beatles did originally?  Rocking it up (or slowing it down), adding some funk/soul or turning a Beatles pop song into a country hoedown are just a few ways acts tackle the tunes.  Guess you can decide (feel free to send comments with your choices).  These are not meant to be the best, most important, biggest hits, etc. – only your humble Rock N Roll Dentist’s fab 25.

1.Ringo Starr – I Call Your Name

A bit of a cheat perhaps as Ringo was one of them, but he didn’t sing the original version (John did) and it is hands down the best Beatles cover ever for me.  The band is made up of heavy-weights in Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh and Jim Keltner (more cowbell!).  This was only available as a video tribute to Mr. Lennon’s 50th birthday (and the 10th anniversary of his untimely passing).  It is truly a pity that this was never released on a legit record or CD as it is one of the best things Ringo has ever done.  Maybe a Ringo rarities set will rescue it from obscurity.

2.The Inmates – Little Child

The best album of Beatles cover versions is by far this rare 2001 UK import CD (The Inmates Meet The Beatles on Riverside/BMG) documenting a Paris concert from 1987.  The production by the late Vic Maile makes the sound jump out of the speakers showcasing what a fantastic rock and roll combo Bill Hurley and company were (you remember “Dirty Water”?).  While you could choose any song from this set, “Little Child” seems to surpass the original just in sheer energy.

3.Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out

Given production credit for the first time on this 1971 single (it hit #13 on the charts), Stevie changes things up from the 1965/66 #1 Beatles original hit by giving it some driving funk.  He supplies the clavinet (electric keyboard) and harmonica solo with backing from the Funk Brothers.

4.Link Wray – Please Please Me

The man behind the hot guitar instros “Rumble” and “Rawhide” was scheduled to release this as a 45 in April of 1965 on Swan.  The single was withdrawn and languished in the vaults until a series of Wray rarities albums on Norton Records resurrected it in 1990 (Some Kinda Nut – Missing Links Volume 3).  While it likely wouldn’t have charted, this instrumental version still rocks pretty good.

5.George Martin – Yellow Submarine In Pepperland

Okay this could be seen as cheating again as it was the last track on the Beatles soundtrack album, but it was an orchestral version arranged by their genius producer as opposed to the Ringo-sung original so it stays.  This arrangement was not from the film, but was specifically recorded for the Apple album.  This jaunty version combines a march with a flute middle section that emphasizes the childlike nature of the song.  Like it or hate it, the release on a Beatles album gave Martin a tidy royalty check.

6.Fairport Convention – Rain

For over four decades the British trad folk band Fairport Convention have hosted a highly successful festival in Cropredy (Oxfordshire, England).  Several import albums have chronicled the excellent music that had been played there including a boxset for the 1997 lineup from which this comes.  While he wasn’t in the band for long (six months in 1976), Breton musician Dan Ar Bras returns to take the lead on this searing workout.  The power of the band and lead guitar work make you want to duck and cover to avoid the deluge.

7.Joe Cocker – I’ll Cry Instead

When you think of Joe Cocker covering the Beatles, the first song that comes to mind is “With A Little Help From My Friends” due to his hit U.K. single and powerful 1969 performance at Woodstock.  Go back five years to his first record, however, and you get this excellent rockabilly cover.  Cocker had been performing as Vance Arnold when he signed with Decca in England to release this non-charter (the 45 was on Philips in the U.S.).  The production was by Mike Leander who arranged the strings on “She’s Leaving Home” for the Beatles (he also was behind Paul Raven/Gadd getting reborn as Gary Glitter – “Rock & Roll, Part 2”).

8.Elton John – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Elton once asked his friend John Lennon if there was a song of his that would have made a good single, but wasn’t released as such.  Lennon replied “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” from the Sgt. Pepper album (which didn’t have any 45s taken from it at the time).  In 1974 with help from Lennon as Dr. Winston O’Boogie (guitar and vocals), Elton recorded this cover at Caribou Ranch in Colorado.  The single ended up being the first #1 of 1975.  Lennon performed this song as part of a three song guest appearance with Elton John on Thanksgiving  night 1974.

9.The Sweet – Paperback Writer

Had The Sweet not become glam rock stars in the ’70s this version would have never surfaced as it was only recorded for playback on a British BBC radio program.  While it is too bad a cleaner studio recording wasn’t done, the digital era has allowed a remastered version to see the light of laser on a CD of their Beeb recordings.  The Beatles’ original was a #1 hit in the summer of 1966 and heralded a bit of a heavier sound.

10.The Georgia Satellites – Don’t Pass Me By

Ringo’s “Don’t Pass Me By” was a bit of a country throwaway from The Beatles that didn’t even have George or John playing on it.  For their 1988 LP Open All Night, the Atlanta band The Georgia Satellites really rocked the original up greatly improving on the song with classic Chuck Berry-like guitar riffage.  The only song people remember by these guys is the rocker “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”, but they put out some other classic three chord rock and roll (leader Dan Baird continues to fire off excellent albums to this day).

11.The Dillards – I’ve Just Seen A Face

Doug and Rodney Dillard from Salem, Missouri formed a bluegrass band using their last name and are mostly remembered as the Darling family appearing from 1963-66 on The Andy Griffith Show.  With electrified instrumentation and longer hair, they pioneered bluegrass for a younger audience.  Like so many other pioneering bands, however, they were not able to have chart hits.  Their fourth album Wheatstraw Suite was their first to go in that more electric style and contained a cover of Paul McCartney’s acoustic guitar workout from Rubber Soul (Help in the U.K.).  The Charles River Valley Boys had originally recorded this in 1966 as part of their fine Beatle Country album.  Rodney still leads a version of the Dillards to this day.

12.The Rolling Stones – I Wanna Be Your Man

The story goes that before Mick and Keith became songwriters, they (or their producer) asked John and Paul if they had any material the Stones could record.  Lennon and McCartney went to their recording session and finished off this song which would become the Rolling Stones’ second 45 later in 1963 (peaking in the U.K. at #12).  Bill Wyman’s driving bass really makes the song jump while Brian Jones plays slide and sings background vocals (a rarity for the band).  Frankly the Stones rockin’ take is superior to the Ringo-sung Meet The Beatles album track (With The Beatles in the U.K.).

13.Byron Nemeth Group – I Am The Walrus

Equador born Nemeth fronts his own Cleveland based prog-rock inflected band whose music can be found on such albums as 100 Worlds and The Force Within (from which comes this loud guitar instrumental take on the psych classic).  The original album was released in 2007, but you should look for the greatly expanded 2018 version.

14.Geoff Richardson & Jim Leverton – I’m Looking Through You

It would be nice to play this country-rock version of the old Rubber Soul Paul-sung song, but apparently it isn’t on youtube – sorry.  These two have played together since 1995 in the Canterbury prog band Caravan (Richardson on violin/flute/etc. and Leverton on bass) plus they have released albums as a duo.  This cover comes from their 2000 album Poor Man’s Rich Man.  Leverton was also in the Noel Redding band after he was pushed out of the Jimi Hendrix Experience- Fat Mattress.

15.Mary McCaslin – Things We Said Today

This is a gently wistful acoustic take on the Something New album cut (in the U.K. – A Hard Day’s Night).    Her country-tinged voice lends an Appalachian old-timey feel to the song which originally was the opening track from her 1977 album Old Friends.  That this song lends it’s name to McCaslin’s ‘best-of’ album speaks to the regard folks have for her version.

16.Billy Preston – Eight Days A Week

As the only musician to share credit on a Beatles single (“Get Back”), Preston’s organ playing was a big part of the early Apple era (releasing records of his own including “That’s The Way God Planned It”).  As a sideman with Little Richard, the Beatles knew the 16 year old Preston as early as 1962.  In the vein of Booker T & The MG’s, Preston recorded some instrumental albums in the ’60s including Early Hits Of ’65 from which this comes.  In the U.S. the Beatles’ version was a #1 hit while it was only an album track in the U.K. (Beatles For Sale).

17.The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Yer Blues

Ringo has said that one of funnest tracks to record from the White Album was John’s “Yer Blues” as they did it live in a cramped closet.  Shepherd’s version amps up the growling guitars from the original on his How I Go album in 2011 (though the bass playing is way more pedestrian than Paul’s much nastier sound).  Vocals are by Noah Hunt.   Shepherd is a Shreveport native and along with Joe Bonamassa has been instrumental in keeping guitar based blues alive a la Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter.

18.Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – And Your Bird Can Sing

Between 2006 and 2013, power poppers Sweet and Hoffs (the Bangles) released three albums containing pretty faithful covers of various pop songs.  Each album was from a different decade with “And Your Bird Can Sing” from Under The Covers Vol. 1 – the one devoted to the ’60s.  The fact that the album even charted at all amazes me albeit the position was a lowly #192 (guitars and tuneful songs haven’t been the flavor of the charts in many years).  John’s composition (mostly) was one of my faves from the 1966 Capitol release Yesterday & Today (Revolver in the U.K.) and featured a nice dual guitar riff played by Paul and George.

19.Johnny Rivers – I’ll Be Back

John Ramistella under the name Rivers had a nice run of fine rock and roll singles that were mostly covers.  His last chart single was in 1978 and one could be excused for not following him since.  For those not aware, he has from ’98 on put out a fine if sporadic series of albums including Last Train to Memphis that year and Reinvention Highway from 2004.  Chris Hillman, Benmont Tench, Waddy Wachtel, etc. supplied the backing on such songs as “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” (the Byrds) and “I’ll Be Back” which was on my fave Beatles album – Beatles ’65 (in the U.K. – A Hard Day’s Night).  While the Beatles did the song on acoustic guitars, Rivers’ take has ringing 12-string electric.

20.The Kentucky Headhunters – I’m Down

The Beatles replaced “Long Tall Sally” as their closing rocker with “I’m Down” in their final year of touring (1966) – a song only found as a single B-side in 1965 (“Help”).  Paul wrote the song in the style of Little Richard.  John moved from guitar to the Vox Continental organ on which he can be seen going ape during the Shea Stadium film of this song.  Since their 1989 debut album, the Kentucky Headhunters have been carrying the torch for Southern country-rock (they placed 12 songs on the U.S. country charts).  Their 2005 Big Boss Man was an album of covers including a nice version of Roger Miller’s “Chug-a-Lug” and a quartet of Hank Williams songs.  The Headhunters closed the album with this rockin’ version.

21.The Grip Weeds – The Inner Light

With a band named after a John Lennon character in the movie How I Won The War (Musketeer Gripweed), you can tell where their music is generally headed.  The fact that they named their 2015 album, from which this song comes, after that movie and that the cover image looks alot like Lennon in the movie is not a coincidence.  This is one of their best albums yet only confirmed power pop fans have a clue who they are.  The album closer is an excellent cover of the George Harrison single B-side (“Lady Madonna”) – his final of three Indian music themed songs.  “The Inner Light” only had vocals by John, Paul and George with instrumentation recorded in Bombay by Indian session players on non-rock instruments.  While the Grip Weeds version still retains that Eastern sound, it has a heavy guitar/bass/drum backbeat during the instrumental breaks that improves the song mightily.

22.Gerry Rafferty – Because

If you remember Rafferty it is because of his huge hit “Baker Street” or because he was a member of Stealers Wheel (“Stuck In The Middle With You”).  As an alcoholic who suffered from chronic depression, his career suffered which is a pity as he obviously still had a musical gift right up to the end in Jan. 2011 as this 2009 album shows (Life Goes On).  Rafferty’s version of John’s beautiful Abbey Road song is pretty faithful with gorgeous harmony vocals and gentle keyboard instrumentation.

23.World Party – Fixing A Hole

Ex-Waterboy Karl Wallenger formed World Party as essentially a solo project starting in 1986 and is best remember for “Ship Of Fools”.  “Fixing A Hole” comes from the 2012 five disc Arkeology compilation and is pretty faithful to the Paul McCartney original found on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

24.Peter Sellers – A Hard Day’s Night

Sellers had been a part of the Goons, a comedy act produced by George Martin pre-Beatles.  He and the Beatles became fast friends and as a tribute Sellers recorded several of their songs in spoken form.  “She Loves You” and “Help” were both done comedically, but “A Hard Day’s Night” was in the style of a Shakespearean performance with recorders quietly backing the reading.  George Martin was again behind the glass for this 1965 recording of the title track to the Beatles’ first movie.

25.Lana Lane – Across The Universe

For such a fine Lennon song, it never seemed like he came up with a great recorded version (Phil Spector came close on Let It Be).  This version that starts mellow then adds driving drums is pretty darn good at capturing the tune better (though the Lennon voice can’t be beat to these ears).  Lane has sung on two albums by one of my fave neo-prog bands Ayreon and is married to producer Erik Norlander who played keys for seven years with Asia.  Lane’s first album Love Is An Illusion was released in 1995 while her most recent one is El Dorado Hotel – 2012.  This cover version is found on her 1998 album Ballad Collection.

GO LONG! – My 20 Fave Songs Over 14 1/2 Minutes

Why 14 1/2 minutes you say?  Turns out the Jimi Hendrix track included is a few ticks shy of the original 15 minutes your blogger intended hence the missing 30 seconds.  Anyway, this felt at first like a topic that would be tough to fill up, yet as the list grew there were many worthy long songs that had to hit the cutting room floor.  What originally got this going was the thought that in this ’30 second clip’ era, a song has to grab you quickly or else you move on without downloading it.  That led to the idea of how many great songs could be overlooked if the sample is of the wrong section of the song for immediate gratification.  The preponderance of these songs is from the genre progressive-rock which generally lends itself more to lengthy tunes since they are less inclined to need a quick hook for maximum chart action and radio play.  In the days of underground radio, a song like this could be useful to a DJ for a bathroom break, a ‘funny-cigarette’ interlude or even a few moments with a Biologically accommodating fan.  Lest you get irate at the placement of certain songs or omission of your personal faves, please understand that this is not a list of the best long songs – these are my own faves.  Feel free to send a comment with your own faves, but understand that after #1 the order is fluid.  Sadly, you will likely not have the time to spend the hours needed to listen to each from beginning to end, but if you find even one song that piques your interest then this posting was worthwhile.  Grab yourself a beverage and some carbs and dig in!

1.Procol Harum – In Held Twas In I

Inclusion in the rock and roll hall of shame-(er)-fame should be open to acts that created and defined new genres of music – pushing boundaries.  For that reason, Procol Harum (a band that helped move psychedelia into prog-rock) should be enshrined – they are not.  This track was side two of the 2nd LP by Procol named after their excellent 1968 single “Shine On Brightly”.  The odd title comes from joining together the first word to each section of the 17 1/2 minute song.  The lyrics are by Keith Reid while the music is from pianist/singer Gary Brooker and organist/singer Matthew Fisher.  Robin Trower was the guitarist, David Knights the bassist and the late/great B.J. Wilson was on drums (practically defining what progressive drumming would become going forward).  The payoff for me is when the beautiful choral theme is suddenly rocked asunder by Trower’s nasty guitar lead over Fisher’s powerful Hammond chords 15 1/2 minutes in only to have the choir regain the theme later with Brooker’s piano runs.  The whole band brings things to a thundering conclusion –  Goosebump time.  Four years later a new lineup of the band revisited the song with strings on their excellent album Live With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

2.Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

This, the fifth Pink Floyd studio album (1972) featured this nearly 24 minute song on side one.  For many fans of the Floyd this is a controversial track due to the heavy orchestrations by Ron Geesin who earned a co-writing credit with the band.  A large stretch of the song’s first third has a wordless choir singing over Rick Wright’s organ chords till the middle of the song.  Later the music gets decidedly spacey a la the album that preceded this one – the excellent Ummagumma.   As the song is wordless, a title was reportedly difficult for the band till they saw an article in the paper about a woman getting a nuclear-powered pacemaker.  The ever dour and contentious band members David Gilmour and Roger Waters don’t seem to hold this work in much regard – something at odds with this reviewer’s opinion.  The Hipgnosis cover art didn’t feature the name of the album or the band.  Why the cow?  Could be a joke – who knows.

3.Rare Bird – Flight

Graham Field was a brilliant classical organ player featured in the two keyboard, bass and drum English band Rare Bird who put out a couple of excellent prog albums before Graham left to form Fields.  That he was the driving force is rather obvious when you listen to the band’s pedestrian albums after he flew the coop.  David Kaffinetti on electric piano was quite good as well and later was the spacey keyboard man in the movie This Is Spinal Tap.  From their first album, “Sympathy” was a worldwide hit (except in the U.S.), but it is their 2nd LP As Your Mind Flies By (1970) that features the side-long track “Flight”.  Bassist Steve Gould sang and could get overly dramatic at times while drummer Mark Ashton was on backing vocals.  Curiously, just as Procol Harum’s Shine On Brightly, the U.S. album covers where far better than the dull U.K covers.

4.Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Well here is one that may cause some consternation amongst my prog rock brethren, but so be it.  This was classically stoopid rock and roll that in 1968 was what this kid was listening to –  and it still sounds great.  Supposedly a tipsy Doug Ingle (keyboards/vocals) was writing a song with the lyrics “in the garden of Eden” but they came out slurred.  The rest of the band liked the confused lyric and thus a heavy and  dopey psychedelic gem was born.  The beginning and end were joined on single with the middle lopped off, but you really need to hear the whole 17 minutes to appreciate the greatness.  Most of the song is taken with with the band jamming on the main riff.  At about 6 1/2 minutes there is a phase-shifted drum solo and every kid in homeroom used to tap their desks with their pencils in tribute to Ron Bushy’s skins-work (no doubt driving teachers insane).  Curiously, Iron Butterfly never really came close to another song as great as this.  On the Atco label for those that care.

5.Pink Floyd – Echoes

The sixth Pink Floyd album, Meddle (1971), yielded this 23 1/2 minute masterpiece.  You could easily move this to #2 and “Atom Heart Mother” down to #5, but either way the Floyd created two of the greatest long songs in musical history.  This is a Halloween classic around our Parker abode – truly spooky sounding stuff especially 11 minutes in.  It is said that what first inspired the song was the heavily Leslied piano ‘ping’ created by Rick Wright that opens the track.  David Gilmour plays some screaming guitar leads that sound just as good in person (having seen them with my buddy Dan at DU just before the release of Dark Side Of The Moon – the album that ruined them for me).  They also do a great version on the Live At Pompeii video.  This song would have fit in well when Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets played the Paramount earlier this year, but they didn’t do it (amazing show – thanks Paul!).  Perhaps if they tour again…?  By the way, the Hipgnosis cover art again doesn’t feature the name of the band or the album and is a close-up of an underwater ear.

6.Focus – Eruption

If you ask the average U.S. record buyer the only song they know by Focus, they would say “Hocus Pocus” which is a pity as that silly novelty riff-rocker has nothing to do with the great prog instrumentals the true fans know them for.  Their 2nd album Moving Waves (1971) did indeed contain that dopey #9 hit (1973), but the rest of the album is excellent prog including this 23 minute track on side two.  Thijs Van Leer (flute/keyboards) and Jan Akkerman (guitar) were the creative soul of the band (Van Leer still fronts a version of this Dutch group).

7.Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick

To reiterate a point (if the morons who vote for the r & r hall are reading):  inclusion should be open to acts that created and defined new genres of music – pushing boundaries.  When you think of rock and roll bands that played literate music, put out classic album after classic album and made playing the flute cool you immediately think of Jethro Tull.  Perhaps the voters don’t like leader Ian Anderson’s superior attitude or perhaps they would just rather vote for the rap-artist flavor of the month to sell tickets – too bad.  Well they did induct The Moody Blues and Yes so perhaps there is hope.  This was the followup to Aqualung and was ostensibly Anderson’s spoof of the idea of a concept album and was a single nearly 44 minute song split between sides A & B.  The cover was a pastiche of a local newspaper and shows one Gerald Bostock who supposedly composed the poem this 1972 LP was based on (nonsense of course).  The album hit #1 on the U.S. charts.  John Evan contributes notable keyboard work that meshed well with guitarist Martin Barre and flautist Anderson.

8.Savoy Brown – Savoy Brown Boogie

Proving that not all cool long songs have to be progressive, this live medley filled the whole of side two on the 4th album of blues/rock by a band still on tour under the leadership of Kim Simmonds (though he really needs a better singer than himself).  In 1969 bands like Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, 10 Years After, Chicken Shack, etc. were introducing black blues to young white kids like my buddy Dan.  DC was kind enough to play this for yours truly (no doubt while we were drinking Bubble-Up and eating Yellow Zingers snack cakes) and got the young me hooked.    This song was a medley of goodies like “Feel So Good” and “Purple Haze” recorded live in London.  Guitarist Simmonds is the only constant in the band over the years with this version being perhaps the best.  The rest of the act were Chris Youlden (vocals), Bob Hall (piano), Roger Earl (drums), Lonesome Dave Peverett (guitar/vocals) and Tony Stevens (bass).  After two more albums, those last three split off to form Foghat.

9.The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Chile

This nearly 15 minute track closes side two of the 3rd Hendrix album Electric Ladyland (1968).  It is basically an in-studio blues jam with Hendrix, drummer Mitch Mitchell, organist Steve Winwood of Traffic and bassist Jack Casady of the Jefferson Airplane.  Do not confuse this track with the heavier and more well-known “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” which closes that classic album.  This track doesn’t seem to be on youtube but then we all own the album anyway – right?

10.King Crimson – Lizard

At the tail end of 1970 a third King Crimson album (Lizard) appeared sans the excellent vocalist Greg Lake who was now in Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  Vocals were instead handled by Gordon Haskell with an assist on this track from Yes front-man Jon Anderson.  Side two was one 23 1/2 minute song broken into four parts.  For some reason, youtube doesn’t have the full song in one piece so here presented is the intro section.  Robert Fripp supplies guitar, mellotron and music while Pete Sinfield composed the lyrics.  The rest of the band was Andy McCulloch (who would play drums next in Fields with Graham Field), Mel Collins (sax/flute) and others including Keith Tippett on piano.  Truthfully due to the absence of Lake and the jazzier nature of some of the music, it isn’t as good as the first two Crimson albums.

11.Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant (Massacree)

1967 was known as the year of psychedelia and the summer of love.  1967 also saw the debut album from Woody Guthrie’s son Arlo.  The reason we bought the record at the time was due to this 18 1/2 minute live-in-front-of-studio-audience rap about getting arrested for illegally dumping trash and avoiding getting drafted into the Army.  The song was enough of a sensation that it was made into an Arthur Penn movie a couple of years later.  While Arlo is still going today, this continues to be his best-loved song.  The main folk-song riff is played over and over again on acoustic guitar with uncredited accompaniment.

12.Kraftwerk – Autobahn

In time for my birthday in 1974, this very mind-numbing track was the title centerpiece of the 4th Kraftwerk album (their first in the U.S.?).  The simple German lyrics along with the general feel are meant to evoke driving on the super-highway – the Autobahn.  The song has a gently catchy melody and an edit became an unexpected hit at #25 in the U.S. charts.  Engineer Conny Plank gave the electronic music a great headphone mix.  This album can be seen as the progenitor of synth-pop or even ambient music.

13.Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Tarkus

This is the song that nearly broke up the progressive rock super-group after only one album.  It is said that singer/bassist Lake didn’t like the music keyboardist Emerson was creating for their 2nd album and nearly left (the other member was drummer Carl Palmer).  After a reconciliation that saw Lake contribute some parts of the 20 1/2 minute song, the album was deemed a failure by some critics and a #1 U.K./#9 U.S. success on the charts.  Emerson’s Hammond organ dominates instrumentally.

14.Renaissance – Song Of Scheherazade

Song of Scheherazade is a 1947 movie while Rimsky-Korsakov composed a piece of music titled “Scheherazade”.  Supposedly this 24 1/2 minute masterwork has nothing to do with any of those, so let’s start over.  Scheherazade And Other Stories (1975) was the 6th and best album by the more acoustic prog band Renaissance that had been formed from the roots of the blues/rock band The Yardbirds.  The soul of that original band was singer Keith Relf and his sister Jane.  After Keith was electrocuted and Jane left to form Illusion, the mantle was passed to Annie Haslam and the late Michael Dunford (guitars).  The orchestrations by Tony Cox are glorious and are as much a part of the band as Haslam, Dunford, Jon Camp (bass), John Tout (keys) and Terence Sullivan (drums).  No cows or ears this time for Hipgnosis on creating the album cover.

15.Deep Purple – Concerto For Group & Orchestra

When fans think of Deep Purple they likely think of “Smoke On The Water”, “Perfect Strangers” or even “Hush”.  Certainly the band are known for their hard rock interplay between the late Jon Lord on organ and Ritchie Blackmore on guitar with the powerful tenor of Ian Gillan on top.  Oddly, however, the first album Gillan appeared as lead singer on for Purple was a live record made up of the mostly Lord composed “Concerto For Group & Orchestra” (song lyrics by Gillan).  The album was recorded with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold and juxtaposed the hard rock band  with the strings playing a classical style.  This, their 4th album, was also the first with bassist Roger Glover.  Drummer Ian Paice remained from the original band along with Lord and Blackmore.  As Blackmore wanted to play rock and roll, he was pleased when it didn’t chart here or in the U.K. – my friend DC was the one who played this for me originally.

16.Jethro Tull – A Passion Play

After the success of Thick As A Brick, Jethro Tull repeated the one-song-over-two-sides idea with their next album – 1973’s A Passion Play.  Yes it isn’t as catchy as the predecessor, but it is still good.  Critics hated it yet it again went to #1 in the charts.  These two albums are Tull’s most progressive.  The story seems to be about the death of one Ronnie Pilgram, his journey through Heaven and Hell and perhaps his rebirth.  The only part not solely composed by Ian Anderson is “The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles” (Anderson, Jeffrey Hammond, John Evan).   An edit managed a #80 placement on the U.S. singles chart.

17.Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Karn Evil 9

Brain Salad Surgery was the 1973 3rd album by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer charting at #2 in the U.K. and #11 in the U.S..  At just under a half an hour, “Karn Evil 9” is ELP’s longest song.  Emerson composed the music while Lake and former King Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield contributed the words.  At 8:42 you hear the line that is most associated with the band, “welcome back, my friends to the show that never ends”.  The story may be about the decay of humanity and how computers take over (this before anyone even thought of PC’s and the like).

18.Genesis – Supper’s Ready

Once again I can thank my buddy DC for exposing the younger me to a great band, Genesis.  Foxtrot was the 1972 followup to the previous year’s superior Nursery Cryme that was Genesis’ first with drummer Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett.  Bassist Mike Rutherford, keyboardist Tony Banks and singer/flautist Peter Gabriel rounded out the band on this their 4th album.  While this 23 minute song is a group composition, Gabriel is generally given lyrical credit.  Many consider this to be the best song by the progressive version of Genesis (not so this reviewer).  Interestingly on “Los Endos” from A Trick Of The Tail (after Gabriel had departed), there are references to this song.  On the wonderful musical cruise undertaken by Mrs. RnRDentist and myself (On The Blue 2019), Steve Hackett’s band performed a fantastic version of this song (the only former Genesis member not to abandon us prog fans – thanks Steve!).

19.Yes –  Close To The Edge

The sound you hear is that of prog fans everywhere screaming at their computers that this should be #1 (as the 1972 LP of that name was voted by fans a few years back in a Prog Magazine poll).  Parts of this song are excellent and a case could be made that if one could lop off the first three minutes it would come in much higher (definitely if the last 10 minutes were a free standing song I would like it even better).  When Rick Wakeman’s church organ comes it just after the 12 minute mark – oh my, that is glorious – so okay maybe it deserves to be higher on the list.  Placement be darned, it at least made our top 20.  This song wass composed by singer Jon Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe.  Bassist Chris Squire and drummer Bill Bruford round out the band (this was Bruford’s swan song before joining King Crimson).  Anderson says the lyrics are inspired by Hermann Hesse’s book Siddhartha.  The album charted #3 in the U.S. and #4 in the U.K. also containing the song “And You And I”.

20.Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells

Hearing just a few seconds of a song can evoke a movie instantly.  If you were of a certain age in 1973, all you need to hear are the first snippets of this song and you picture Linda Blair floating above her bed with green pea-soup spewing from her lips in The Exorcist.  This was the debut album for multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield and was a worldwide phenomenon (especially in the U.K. were it was the 3rd biggest selling album for the entire decade of the ’70s).  The song was comprised of two separate pieces of music on each side of the vinyl album.  Side one is the part we remember from the movie and from an edit done by his U.S. record distributor (Atlantic) that reached #7 in our charts (though not approved by the artist).  This was the first release on Richard Branson’s Virgin label.

Forgotten Albums

Sitting next to albums by the Beatles and the Stones, your Rock N Roll Dentist has a crazy collection of music that most folks ignored or barely noticed when it was first released.  It has been heartening over the years that great neglected albums such as Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake – The Small Faces, Odessey and Oracle – The Zombies, #1 Record – Big Star, etc. have been rediscovered and given another chance to find an audience.  You can thank the digital age for much of that with CD reissues of seemingly everything ever recorded plus the internet to spread the musical word via youtube and blogs.  There are still a plethora of fine albums (some by major artists) that deserve to be noticed.  This post, in no particular order, is an attempt to expose my readers to some goodies from my collection (mainly in the late ’60s) that deserved more recognition.  I love progressive rock music but it won’t be part of this list.  The style of these albums is mostly guitar based pop music with a memorable tune so don’t expect any avant-garde jazz, etc.

1.The New Society – The Barock Sound Of…

Randy Sparks was the man behind the creation of successful ’60s folk act The New Christy Minstrels plus their ‘farm team’ The Back Porch Majority.  In 1966 he created this seven member act that included Del Ramos the younger brother of Larry Ramos of the Association – a group with which The New Society shared at least vocal lushness with.  With gorgeous arrangements by heavy hitters Lincoln Mayorca, Jack Nitzsche & Mort Garson plus great songs they deserved better.  Several of those songs such as “Of You” and “(I Prithee) Do Not Ask for Love” were tried out by the Monkees later that year, but were never given an LP release till the Missing Links compilations. The New Society’s sound may have been too clean to make it – sort of like an Anita Kerr Singers of rock plus RCA Victor never had much luck breaking acts  (witness The Astronauts or The Liverpool Five).  Interestingly, today you can download their music on major sites which means it is likely easier to buy their music today than it was in the late ’60s.

2.Gary Lewis – Listen!

Gary Lewis (with the Playboys) was a great singles artist, but his albums were pretty lame being fjlled with so-so covers of hits from the day.  This 1967 solo album was by far his strongest album filled with psychedelia (“Don’t Make Promises”, “Jill”), sunshine pop (“New Day”, “Small Talk”) and wall-of-sound production (“Happiness”).  The presence of arranger Jack Nitzsche was responsible for the great sound here  just as Snuff Garrett had been for Gary’s early hits.

3.Gary Wright – Extraction

Spooky Tooth (formed in 1967) was four Brits and one Yank (Gary Wright).  Their 1969 LP Spooky Two is worth looking for.  In 1970 Wright attempted a solo career with this A&M LP his first release.  The songs are all hard edged catchy rock with instruments supplied by Hugh McCracken (guitar), Klaus Voormann (bass) and Alan White (drums) along with Wright’s keyboards.  He didn’t find success till 1976 with “Dream Weaver”.

4.Fanny – Fanny Hill

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the Beatles’ engineer Geoff Emerick handling the sound and production by Richard Perry (Carly Simon, Nilsson), this album came out in early 1972 on Reprise.  As an all-female band, many viewed them as a novelty act but they could play, sing and wrote most of their own material so deserved more success than they saw.  This, their third album, had more edge to the sound than their first records and included a hard rockin’ slide-guitar version of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar” which charted at #85.

5.Fat Mattress – Fat Mattress

This was Noel Redding’s band after leaving The Jimi Hendrix Experience (first formed as a side project while playing bass in that band).  The idea was to give Redding more chance to play guitar and sing than he had with Hendrix.  Needless to say, your young pre-Dentist was expecting more heavy guitar based rock and roll when he slit open this Atco LP in 1969.  Hearing mostly pastoral pop music, I can still recall my shocked disappointment by this album as mellow was definitely NOT a music style heard in my bedroom at that time (sorry mom and dad).  Used record stores didn’t exist back then and my buddy Dan Campbell wasn’t going to be tricked in to trading me something good for it so it sat idle in my collection for several months … but then something weird happened – playing it again I actually liked it.  The jazzy “Mr. Moonshine” is catchy, “How Can I Live” is a heartache in song and “Bright New Way” is a nice acoustic song sung by main vocalist Neil Landon.

6.Peter & Gordon – Hot, Cold & Custard

This last Peter & Gordon album from late 1967 had touches of psychedelia (backwards drums, odd orchestrations), but no chart hits which meant very little success.  Having heard the salacious “You’ve Had Better Times” on the radio (before it was sanitized on single), your’s truly wanted the album which turned out to be pretty good.  There were other goodies like “Greener Days”, “I Feel Like Going Out”, “The Quest For The Holy Grail” and “Cos You’re A Star”.   …And then there was no more band as Peter Asher was off to help out with the Beatles new label Apple.

7.Bobby Darin – If I Were A Carpenter

Bobby Darin isn’t given enough credit for the talent that he had.  If anything he is remembered as a Sinatra wanna-be on songs like “Mack The Knife” and “Beyond The Sea” or and early rocker with “Splish Splash”.  This 1966 Atco album was a huge change from his previous album of Broadway tunes which likely had something to do with it charting at only #142.   The songs were mostly low key folk including John Denver’s “For Baby” and Buffy St. Marie’s “Until It’s Time For You To Go”.  Of the eleven tracks, five were by Tim Hardin including the title track – a big hit for Darin.  “Reason To Believe” was arranged similarly to the hit while “Red Balloon” was more spare.  The album has unfairly been given short shrift in reviews which is a pity.  He died too young (of a heart ailment at age 37), but left some great music.

8.Chicken Shack – Accept

During the late ’60s there was an explosion of long-haired white blues bands mostly from England.  Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown, Ten Years After, etc.  Stan Webb led the group Chicken Shack which early on included Christine Perfect (who would marry John McVie and become a star after jumping ship to Fleetwood Mac seeing that band into a pop vein).  For this 1970 Chicken Shack album (their fourth), Webb branched out from the blues a bit.  “Tired Eyes” was a dreamy string-laden song that sounded like something from the early 1900’s while “Some Other Time” almost sounded baroque.  There is also good rock on the LP including “Diary Of Your Life” and “Telling Your Fortune” which hinted at the much harder direction of their next excellent album Imagination Lady which easily could be on this list too.

9.The Searchers – Take Me For What I’m Worth

Music styles changed so rapidly during the British Invasion ’60s that a group like The Searchers could chart eleven singles in ’64-’65 then fade rapidly.  The P.F. Sloan composed title track from this fine LP was their 12th hit though it only charted #76 in early ’66.  “Does She Really Care For Me” could be The Walker Brothers while “Each Time” has the distinct wall-of-sound like a Phil Spector hit (they even cover his “Be My Baby”).  “Too Many Miles” is folk while “Don’t You Know” has a Byrdsian country feel (all with great 12-string guitar).  The Searchers were always seen as a singles band anyway and with musical styles moving away from the U.K. Invasion this album didn’t stand a chance in the U.S.  You could easily include their two great Sire comeback albums (’79/’81) on this list as well.

10.Spring – Spring

Having read a glowing review of this United Artists album back in 1972 in Phonograph Record Magazine and knowing that Brian Wilson had produced it, the young me picked up a copy of it at his local Budget Tapes & Records.  The LP at it’s best definitely sounds like an early ’70s Beach Boys album with female lead vocals.  The artist is now listed as American Spring to avoid confusion with a U.K. band.  The Rovell sisters (Marilyn & Diane) originally were 2/3rds of The Honeys who in the early ’60s released non-charting Brian Wilson productions and sang backing on The Beach Boys single “Be True To Your School”.  Marilyn became Mrs. Brian Wilson and raised daughters Carney and Wendy while working on this album which flopped at the time, but is now sought after for the Brian Wilson connection.  Apparently Brian was in such bad shape that he couldn’t handle production for much of the record, but his sound is pretty apparent on tracks like “Forever” and “Good Time”.  The latter song was originally recorded for the Sunflower album (1970), but shelved at the time so Spring recorded their lead vocals over the original Beach Boys track and did some production additions.  The Beach Boys would later release the song on their 1977 LP Love You.

11.The Beau Brummels – Triangle

Target back in the early ’70s had a huge blow-out sale of old albums that were out of fashion – something like 59 cents each.  Oh that this starving Colorado University student would have had more money and musical knowledge to have picked up more than a handful of rarities for pennies.  Having remembered great singles like “Laugh Laugh” and “Just A Little”, this LP was purchased and plunked down on the old GE.  Whoa, gentle psychedelia, country and folk – not pop rock.  Warner Brothers in the late ’60s and early ’70s was at a creative peak thanks to folk like Lenny Waronker with great if non-commercially successful releases like this plus Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, etc.  There isn’t a bad song on this record.  Nine of the eleven tracks were originals including “Are You Happy” and “The Keeper Of Time”.  The covers were a folky take on Merle Travis’ “Nine Pound Hammer” and Randy Newman’s “Old Kentucky Home”.  At the time (July 1967) it could only manage a #197 placement on the charts, but has been acclaimed over the years as a masterpiece (though their follow-up Bradley’s Barn might be better remembered).

12.The Kinks – Something Else

It was hard to decide between this album or Arthur (Or the Decline And Fall Of The British Empire) as both are fantastic albums.  This one wins out as the bigger loser as it only hit #153 on the U.S. charts (plus none of the singles managed to chart here).   It may be unfair to include this as it has become an acclaimed album, but it is hard not to salute The Kinks as perhaps the most cruelly overlooked of the upper echelon of British Invasion bands.  Perhaps this album was too British for U.S. tastes which is the only explanation for a great song like “Waterloo Sunset” to never chart in the U.S.  There is not a weak cut on the whole record with excellent music like “Tin Soldier Man” and “Afternoon Tea”.  Ray Davies even let’s brother Dave get in to the act with fine songs “Death Of A Clown” and “Love Me Till the Sun Shines”.

13.The Music Explosion – Little Bit O’ Soul

The hot punky 1967 title track hit #2 (a cover of a U.K. single by The Little Darlings), but the equally fine album could only scrape in at #178 indicating that few kids heard nifty tracks like “Patches Dawn” and “Can’t Stop Now”.  Other Kasenetz-Katz productions like “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and “1, 2, 3, Red Light” would make ‘bubblegum’ a musical term, but this album was more garage rock in sound.  Lead singer Jamie Lyons may have been the only band member on the records.  Two songs were even recycled backing tracks including “Love Love Love Love Love” (Terry Knight & The Pack) and “One Potato Two” which with different lyrics was “Little Black Egg” by The Nightcrawlers.

14.The Everly Brothers – Two Yanks In England

Alan Clarke and Graham Nash have acknowledged how much the harmonies of The Everly Brothers inspired The Hollies sound so this album was a bit of debt repayment.  Eight of the twelve tracks were written by Clarke, Nash & Tony Hicks plus backing on most tracks was by The Hollies as well (along with session players like Jimmy Page).  Back in the summer of 1966 The Stones had “Paint It Black”, The Beatles had “Paperback Writer”, Donovan had “Sunshine Superman” so The Everly Brothers continued to be seen as a relic from the early days of rock.  Fine songs on the album include “Hard Hard Year”, “Somebody Help Me” and “Don’t Run & Hide”.  You could rightly call most of their ’60s album output to be neglected as virtually none of it charted (including the great Roots album from 1968).

15.The Hollies – Moving Finger

It seems only fair to follow up the last album with one by The Hollies themselves.  This was a re-titled and reorganized version of the 1970 U.K. album Confessions Of The Mind.  Sandwiched between the huge hits “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (1969) and “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” (1972), this album could only get as high as #183 without a U.S. hit single.  “Gasoline Alley Bred” and “Too Young To Be Married” were worthy of chart action while the Hicks written “Confessions Of A Mind” was a bit of an epic.  It should be noted that Terry Sylvester had replaced Graham Nash by this point.

16.Nilsson – Aerial Pandemonium Ballet

After Harry Nilsson had a touch of singles success, he went back in 1971 and picked some of the best tracks from his first two albums (which didn’t chart at the time) and redid vocals, edited and remixed.  The result was this record that only marginally charted at #149.  He was just a few months away from his biggest success with Nilsson Schmilsson  and “Without You”.  That success likely caused a few people (like me) to go back and pick up some of his early music and this was good place to start.  It contained songs he wrote that were done by others (“Daddy’s Song” – The Monkees, “One” – Three Dog Night, “1941 – Tom Northcott) plus his biggest chart hit to date “Everybody’s Talkin'”.

17.The Move – Shazam

The A&M label could generally be counted on to release great U.K. product back in the day (Procol Harum, Fairport Convention) so when this album showed up in 1970 I decided to take a flier on it.  This began my love affair with the music of Roy Wood who has never had the U.S. success that his music deserves.  From “Flowers In The Rain” to “Are You Ready To Rock”, he has never disappointed.  Cheap Trick deserve kudos for their great covers of his music (“California Man”, “Blackberry Way”), but you really need to hear the originals.  This album had only six tracks.  Side one was originals like the ballad “Beautiful Daughter” while side two is my favorite with covers of “Fields Of People” and “The Last Thing On My Mind”.  This was their last album with Carl Wayne as lead singer.  Wayne and his more theatrical voice left to be replaced by Jeff Lynne who would form Electric Light Orchestra with Wood (who then quit to form Wizzard).

18.Freddie & The Dreamers – Do The Freddie

Scoff all you want – heap your scorn, but this reviewer stands by the fact that this was a great album of British Invasion pop.  Freddie Garrity was goofy and sang a bit too earnestly for some, but the songs were all catchy and well-played by the cream of U.K. session musicians.  This was one of the first albums I ever got (from the Columbia Record Club) plus they headlined the first rock concert I ever attended (1965 in Denver with The Beau Brummels and The McCoys – thanks Mr. Steele for taking me and Rick!).  “Things I’d Like To Say”, “Over You”, “Just For You”, etc. were catchy album tracks.  The hit single “Do The Freddie” plus the excellent “A Little You” were highlights as well.

19.Mary Hopkin -Earth Song, Ocean Song

This was quite the departure from her 1968 hit “Those Were The Days” and her 1969 hit “Goodbye” which was more ‘produced’ in sound.  This 1971 album (her second on Apple) was a very gentle folk album with covers of Cat Stevens (“The Wind”), Ralph McTell (“Streets Of London”) and Gallagher & Lyle (“International”).  This was more the direction she wanted her career to go than the hits.

20.Family – Entertainment

It was tempting to put their classic debut Music In A Dolls House instead of this album just to play the brilliant “Peace Of Mind”, but that album does get a fair amount of acclaim while this their second album (1969) has been forgotten it seems (at least here in the U.S. where it never charted).  As opposed to the psychedelia of their debut, this was more straight-forward.  Rockers like “Second Generation Woman” stood beside gentler songs like “Dim” and “Observations From A Hill”.  Bassist Rich Grech left after this album to join Eric Clapton in Blind Faith which is a pity as he had a fine voice and compositional skills.  This track is sung by sax-man Jim King, but the main singer was Michael Chapman who has one of the oddest voices of any lead singer ever.  Listen to his style of their signature song “The Weaver’s Answer”.

Steppin’ Out With The Raiders & Paul Revere

Last month’s post reviewing all the Dave Clark 5’s LPs was such a blast that it seemed only fair to do the same with your blog-master’s other fave early teenage years group – Paul Revere & The Raiders.  To this day, I still love a musical act that puts on a show while playing their music.  While the Raiders didn’t have the laser lights of Genesis or Pink Floyd at their disposal in 1966, they did have revolutionary war costumes, choreographed dance steps and humorous mayhem on stage.  The second rock and roll concert I ever attended was this band at the Denver Coliseum around early 1967.  As opposed to my first (Freddie & The Dreamers), I recall this one as being essentially in a big echo chamber which made the concert experience less than musical, but at least it was fun to see them (along with a cavalcade of local bands).  Here is the old program:

From June 1965 till it was cancelled in March 1967 the Dick Clark created TV show Where The Action Is gave us kids a musical reason to race home from school to watch regulars like Steve Alaimo, Tina Mason, Keith Allison and Revere’s Raiders host.

There were also musical guests like The Turtles, Donovan, The Supremes, etc.  When that show folded, Revere and lead singer Mark Lindsay hosted a new Clark venture Happening ’68 on Saturday after American Bandstand plus It’s Happening during the week (1968-69).  Certainly that exposure went a long way towards making the Raiders stars, but they had the musical chops and the songs to make them America’s answer to U.K. bands like The Kinks and The Animals.  Whether it is some feeling of American inferiority or the costumes and comedy that have worked against their induction in to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, they certainly deserve to be enshrined strictly on their musical merit.  (But then as of this writing Jethro Tull, Neil Sedaka, Pat Benatar, The Doobie Brothers, Nilsson, The Go-Gos, et al are also not in – a hall of fame’s worth of snubs.)  The DC5 and The Raiders shared some similarities.  They were a five piece band with a sax player, guitarist, bassist, drummer and a keys man playing standing up behind a Vox Continental.  They also were good looking photogenic guys in sharp threads.  Their singles were catchy rockers that the band may or may not have played on.  Both bands took some time to settle on their classic line-ups, but unlike the DC5 whose membership during the hit years was stable, Revere’s band saw some major upheavals during their recording career.

Back in 1958, former barber and then Caldwell, Idaho restaurateur Paul Dick (age 20) decided to put a band together with him playing piano.  The story goes that a shy gawky nearly legally blind teenager took off his glasses at one of Revere’s shows and jumped on stage to sing a song then disappeared.  When Revere went to a bakery to pick up the buns for his restaurant he reconnected with that kid who worked there (with his glasses on) Mark Lindsay and an 18 year partnership was born.

The Downbeats played mostly rockin’ instrumentals with Lindsay on wailing sax.  Dick was always a hustler and got a demo to a small record label in California – Gardena Records.  On signing the contract, owner John Guss saw that Dick’s middle name was Revere and suggested naming the band after Paul Revere (either Night Riders or Raiders were debated).  The first Gardena single was a boogie woogie version of “Chopsticks” – “Beatnick Sticks”.  Eight singles were released with the third one (“Like Long Hair” – a boogie piano take-off on Rachmaninoff) making the U.S. charts at #38 in 1961.  The band used Leon Russell on piano for tours while Revere served his military obligation as a cook in an Oregon mental institution (due to his conscientious objector status).  Later, Lindsay relocated to Oregon and he and Revere put a new version of the band together with club owner and guitarist Mike “Smitty” Smith shifting to drums.  The rowdy Paul Revere & The Raiders played a style of music that became known later as frat rock since the bands all played amped up music for boozy fraternity parties and the like.  These bands mostly played the same covers including the song “Louie Louie” written and recorded by Richard Berry.   Within days of each other, two Northwest bands recorded that song in the same studio, but only one (The Kingsmen) had the hit with it.  Revere’s Raiders were given $50 by their new manager KISN DJ Roger Hart to record the song and formed the Sande label to release it.  During this time, as a gag Revere rented Colonial costumes for the band including jackets and tri-corner hats.  Crowds loved it and this became their trademark along with on-stage craziness and dance steps between the bassist and guitarist.  This all attracted the attention of the rock and roll shy Columbia Records label who signed the band as they sounded black but were white kids (Lindsay possessed one of the greatest rock and roll voices of that era).  A few months after the recording of “Louie Louie”, a new guitarist came on board – Drake Levinshefski.  The stage-named Drake “The Kid” Levin (since he was 16 at the time) inspired a young Seattle black kid during a show at the Spanish Castle Ballroom who complimented him that night.  Jimi Hendrix was impressed with Drake’s showmanship including playing on his knees and holding his guitar behind his back to play.  After recording their initial sessions for Columbia, bassist Mike “Doc” Holliday was replaced by a University of Colorado student – Phil “Fang” Volk and the classic line-up was cemented.

During their heyday they were a singles juggernaut, but what about their forgotten albums?  If you let me, I plan to recall an album track from each of their 12 inch pieces of vinyl.

1.Like Long Hair (1961)

To capitalize on the success of “Like Long Hair” nationally, Gardena Records released the only long player ever on the label – a rare piece of vinyl today (though you can stream the songs much cheaper).  The LP was made up of singles sides plus a few songs that Revere cut with the band on his off days serving as a mental institution cook.  Production was handled by Gary Paxton of the Hollywood Argyles (“Alley Oop”).  The album didn’t chart and if you are looking for The Raiders of the later ’60s, forget it soundwise.  This is, however, a pretty good album of rockin’ instrumentals.  The Revere/Lindsay original “Groovey” shows what an outstanding sax man “Mad Man Marcus” was.

2.Paul Revere & The Raiders (1963) also In The Beginning (1966)

When the band reconvened they recorded a cover of “Louie Louie” (inspired by The Wailers) plus an album of instrumentals and frat rock covers.  Songs like “Work With Me Annie” and a pretty good version of Ray Sharpe’s “Linda Lu” were released on the Sande label (which I think manager Roger Hart created for them – but don’t quote me).  Note that when The Raiders became successful, Jerden Records re-released this album as In The Beginning and the album track “So Fine” was sent out for potential chart action.  I recall hearing it a few times on Denver radio back in ’66 and wondering why it didn’t sound anything like “Just Like Me” or “Kicks”.  It tanked.

3.Here They Come! (July 1965)

Columbia Records picked up Paul Revere’s band and re-issued “Louie Louie” to no success, but didn’t give up on them releasing three more non-hits on 45.  In Sept. 1964 to capture their live excitement, Columbia paired the band with Bruce Johnston (The Rip Chords) as producer in a faux concert setting on a soundstage.  In front of an invited crowd, The Raiders played their stage show which was still rockin’ instrumentals and frat rock covers such as “Big Boy Pete” and “Money (That’s What I Want)”.  For me the stand-out track was a really hot version of “You Can’t Sit Down” with each guy in the band getting to shine.  The rhythm section of Smitty and Doc Holliday were like a driving machine and Lindsay’s sax is simply en fuego.  Keep in mind that at this time, British Invasion acts like The Beatles and Peter & Gordon had pretty much swept the charts of music like this, however.  Parts of that session ended up ten months later as the top side of their first Columbia long player while studio guys backing Lindsay in the spring of 1965 recorded so-so songs that made up the flip of the album (“Fever”, “Sometimes”, etc.).  Those sessions were produced by Terry Melcher (The Rip Chords) who would become like a sixth Raider for many years (his voice blended well with Mark’s).  When it came out, the back liner notes were fairly simple and listed the bassist as Mike “Doc” Holliday.  After their success on Where The Action Is, a newer version was released with longer Dick Clark liner notes listing Phil “Fang” Volk on bass (who by then had taken over from Holliday).  As a kid, it was that version I bought (after getting their next release first) and I was extremely confused by the cover picture who showed a guy holding the bass that definitely wasn’t Fang.  The album charted at #71.  By far the best way to get this music now is on the two CD Sundazed album Mojo Workout! which includes all the songs from the live set, soundcheck tracks plus studio tracks and alternate versions.

4.Just Like Us! (Jan. 1966)

Well this is where it all began for most of us kids with these guys after hearing the great singles “Steppin’ Out” and “Just Like Me”.  We bought enough for it to go gold and hit #5 early in ’66.  This was one of three albums that mom and dad let me pick out from the Columbia Record Club and I played it to death on their old KLH stereo.  Aside from the Animals/Kinks-like hits, the rest of the album was not unlike their old stuff being covers and even including an ancient instrumental version of “Night Train” in mono from the flip of “Louie Louie”.  They looked great on the jacket in their Colonial suits and played the heck out of their instruments (it has been reported that Revere didn’t like to record and “Steppin’ Out” was one of his last appearances playing keys).  Each guy got to sing and they all did pretty well including Revere on the old U.S. Bonds single “New Orleans”.  Smitty gets the humorous one with a silly version of “I Know” that was pretty endearing.  There is also a short band vocal version of “Action” from their TV show (Freddy Cannon had the hit version the summer before).  It would be unfair to say any of the band members could sing anywhere nearly as well as Lindsay, however, who did have one of the greatest voices of rock and roll.  Production was by Terry Melcher again.

5.Midnight Ride (May 1966)

This album came out to capitalize on their monster hit “Kicks”, an anti-drug song by “Mann and Weil who had offered it to The Animals as well.  Since I owned the 45, there didn’t seem to be any reason to get the album plus the cover was pretty non-descript.  The flip of the single would have made this a better record – a jammy harpsichord remake of their old Gardena single “Shake It Up”.  The album was okay, but had too much junk like “Little Girl In The 4th Row” and “Melody For An Unknown Girl” for my taste.  Nine of the eleven were originals – six by Paul and Mark (Smitty and Fang again got to sing as well).  Aside from “Kicks” the only other cover was the first waxing of “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” which would give The Monkees a hit six months later.  “Louie, Go Home” was a reworking of their single follow-up to “Louie Louie” that had tanked.  This Melcher production also went gold and charted at #9.

6.Spirit Of ’67 (Nov. 1966)

Around this era is when I saw the band with a new guitarist – Jim “Harpo” Valley late of the fine northwest band Don & The Goodtimes.   Valley’s picture was on the eye-catching cover, but Levin still supplied the guitar parts on record (he was serving in the National Guard and couldn’t tour).  Outside players augmented the band for sessions with Hal Blaine drumming on the big hit from the album “Hungry” which is perhaps the toughest song they ever recorded (another Mann and Weil cover).  With two other hits (“Good Thing” and “The Great Airplane Strike”) I decided to buy it rather than the singles and was rewarded with a pretty decent record.  This, however, was the last album I bought for many years as musical tastes were changing drastically.  They wrote all but “Hungry” with Melcher getting involved with that end of things for the first time.  The album track Louise” was good enough that it deserved to be a single and had a driving bass riff (Volk or session player?) and fine Melcher harmonies.  Fang wrote and sang “In My Community” and “Why Why Why (Is It So Hard)” while Smitty did the duty on “Our Candidate” – all worthy though not sounding like the hit Raiders.  This album also went as high as #9 in the charts and was given a gold disc.

7.Greatest Hits (May 1967)

By this point The Raiders were a band in turmoil though the cover showed the same band as was on the previous LP (though mostly with hands carefully placed to cover bulges in overly tight tights).  Valley left angry that he didn’t have a song on Spirit Of ’67.  Levin came back briefly but was rebuffed by Revere from appearing on their only Ed Sullivan Show appearance April 30, 1967 (he had hired Freddy Weller instead).  Volk and Smith had quit and knew that Sullivan’s TV show was their swansong with the band (they formed Brotherhood with Levin who released a couple of okay albums on RCA).  This hits album went back to “Louie Louie” and included a non-LP single in “Ups & Downs” plus a biographical song titled “Legend Of Paul Revere”.  This album was their third in a row to hit #9 and go gold.  Columbia charged a higher price for this record, but did include a booklet.

8.Revolution! (Aug. 1967)

A new trio of Raiders was resplendent in white uniforms with black trim and tight tights (this time mostly the bulges are hidden).  Keeping in mind that Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band had changed the game two months early, this album had little to do with what was going on musically then but I liked it alot.  This was the best album Paul Revere & The Raiders (now featuring Mark Lindsay in print on the cover) ever released.  The songs were all composed by Melcher and Lindsay and are all memorable plus the production is great as ever.  Session players abound with Ry Cooder supplying some swampy slide guitar.  The singles “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” and “I Had A Dream” were great if totally different animals.  The former is a classic guitar pop rocker with pounding drums on the chorus while the latter is a lazy organ driven production with a nice guitar riff over it.  “Mo’reen” and “Gone – Movin’ On” are fine pop songs while “Tighter” had a psychedelic production touch and was the hit that never was (Lindsay tried to make it a hit under the band-name The Unknowns on Parrot with no chart success).  Revere got a rare vocal on the humorous “Ain’t Nobody Who Can Do It Like Leslie Can”, but new guys Freddy Weller (guitar), Charlie Coe (bass) and Joe Correro, Jr (drums) were content to let Lindsay sing the rest.  The album closer “I Hear A Voice” was a very pretty piano driven ballad with celeste.  The chart action was slipping as they only hit #25.  I admit that I didn’t buy this till college when I found it as a cut-out.

9.A Christmas Past…And Present (Nov. 1967)

Pretty much Terry Melcher’s swansong with the band, this Christmas album wasn’t one of my faves frankly.  It tried to be a message album, but didn’t deliver musically.  The song about the post office (“Rain, Sleet, Snow”) was really the only song I liked.  The driving drum and cellos accompany a distorted Lindsay vocal.  I guess “Wear A Smile At Christmas” is decent, but if you can make it through the whole album you are doing better than me.  It charted at #10 on the Christmas charts that year.

10.Goin’ To Memphis (Feb. 1968)

In all but name, this is a Mark Lindsay solo album.  As a white man with a black man’s voice, it was decided to have Lindsay record with the funky studio band in Chips Moman’s American Sound Studio (plus he produced) and do mostly soul covers.  Songs like “Boogaloo Down Broadway” and “Soul Man” are not bad but do you need these versions?  The best of the lot were “I Don’t Want Nobody (To Lead Me On)” and the Lindsay original “I’m A Loser Too”.  The final Melcher holdover is the heavy single “Peace Of Mind” which is the best thing here though the use of wailing soul sisters on the chorus was pretty un-Raiders-like.  The cover drawing was from a never finished Hanna-Barbera Studios cartoon show idea.  The chart action saw a #61 placement.

11.Something Happening (Sept. 1968)

Lindsay was now the producer and songwriter.  He wasn’t up to a full album at this time I seemed, but there were a few nice pop songs including “Happens Every Day”.  That being said, the old Raiders sound is gone – this is pure pop.  The singles are “Don’t Take It So Hard” (bright guitar pop with an acoustic interlude) and “Too Much Talk” (very heavy fuzz guitar) and could only get the album a #122 chart placement. The version of the latter on the LP, however, inserts a wimpy middle section best forgotten.  There are attempts at psychedelia (“Free” and “Burn Like A Candle”).  Gone are the old costumes to be replaced by a casual look.

12.Hard ‘N’ Heavy (With Marshmellow) (March 1969)

This is the best post-Melcher Raiders album thanks to some good songs like “Ride On My Shoulder” which recalls the bubblegum pop of “Dizzy”.  The title of the album says it all really – sweet hard-edged pop (i.e. “Time After Time”).  They could have left off the attempts at humor between many of the tracks, but I guess it fits with their history.  There is a new member with old Where The Action Is pal Keith Allison taking over the bass from Coe making this a very southern band.  The #18 single “Mr Sun, Mr. Moon” is one of your bloggers’ guilty pleasures being very bright, poppy and very different than the heavy bands of the day.  The take of “Cinderella Sunshine” on the LP is a lighter version than the better and heavier single.  “Trishalana” is a gorgeous ballad with organ and an odd staccato plucked sound on the chorus.  The chart action was a least better than last time with a #51 placement in the U.S.

13.Alias Pink Puzz (Aug. 1969)

On the singles chart the song “Let Me” had managed to hit #20 and had first been released as by Pink Puzz since the band thought their name now carried a stigma of being uncool.  Frankly they were correct as they were still a singles band that were best at pop and needed to embrace it.  The song “Thank You” was a nice pop confection whose hook was a pounding drum on the catchy chorus. Six of the eleven songs were by producer Lindsay while the rest shared a co-credit with Keith Allison.  “Frankfort Side Street” is also catchy pop while the album closer “Freeborn Man” has become a country standard recorded by players like Glen Campbell and Jimmy Martin.  The album got to #48 on the charts.

14.Collage (April 1970)

Well, this is the most drastic attempt Lindsay made to toughen up the sound of Paul Revere’s band now known as simply The Raiders (maybe logical since his keyboards are nowhere to be heard).  The mix on this album is incredibly bass heavy with the bass drum being so deep and strong in the mix as to sound distorted.  Laura Nyro’s “Save The Country” and the Lindsay/Allison original “Think Twice” are my fave album tracks.   The single version of “We Gotta All Get Together” is a better mix frankly (and is shorter) while “Just Seventeen” with all the horns sounds very unlike the Raiders (and only got to #82 on the Hot 100).  Oddly Lindsay opted to remake two of his old Melcher co-writes in “Tighter” and “Gone Movin’ On” making them either faux southern rock (the former) or unfocused heaviness (the latter).  At this point Lindsay was having some success as a solo singer in a more adult vein.  A #154 chart placement showed how far they had fallen from favor in 1970 when The Beatles wanted us to “Let It Be”.

15.Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (1971)

Paul Revere & The Raiders were a spent outfit at this point with lead singer Mark Lindsay now a solo artist with hits like “Silver Bird” and “Arizona” so Columbia decided to try to milk some more cash out of the last batch of singles.  That didn’t work out so well as this LP only hit a dismal #209 on the charts.  I found this album in the cut-out bins back in the day and did enjoy the alternate mix of “Do Unto Others” which was the flip of “Peace Of Mind” and had charted here in Colorado.  This mix ended with a percussion solo track as the rest of the song had already faded out.  This stereo version isn’t on CD to the best of my knowledge.  They were still billed as simply The Raiders.

16.Indian Reservation (June 1971)

This song had been a smaller hit for Don Fardon in 1968 and was to be a solo Mark Lindsay track.  Instead the folks at Columbia suggested that this might be a great time to revive The Raiders name especially since there was a prominent organ part in the mix (played by Artie Butler – the same guy who played the same part on Janis Ian’s “Society’s Child”).  The single version of the old John D. Loudermilk song got to #1 so an album was needed.  By now Joe, Jr. had left so Mike Smith returned on drums (though Hal Blaine played on the single).  The other hit from the album was the Joe South tune “Birds Of A Feather” which helped make the album a #19 success.  There were okay cover songs such as the Wild In The Streets tune “The Shape Of Things To Come” and the old Easybeats track “Come In, You’ll Get Pneumonia”.  “Prince Of Peace” was a fair pop song while “The Turkey” (the only Lindsay composition) was a weird attempt at humor, I guess.  Melcher had a solo composition in “Take Me Home”.

17.Country Wine (March 1972)

This was the last Mark Lindsay produced and sung Raiders album and featured a couple of decent singles.  Back in the day I bought the excellent title track on 45 which got to only #51 on the charts.  The other charter was the Lindsay composition “Powder Blue Mercedes Queen” which was a heavy track sharing a guitar sound with bands like Mountain.  That #54 single couldn’t make the album get any higher than #209 for only two weeks.  “Ballad Of The Unloved” was an okay album track along with the Allison/Lindsay track “Golden Girls Sometimes”.  Lindsay helmed two more minor non-LP chart singles in “Song Seller” and “Love Music” then gave up.  He did appear as singer on the 1983 Era album The Great Raider Reunion which was re-recordings of their old hits.  Mark has gone on record saying that he was the only Raider on that album (the band pictured on the cover besides Lindsay were the group that Revere lead back then – Ron Foos, Doug Heath, etc.).

18.Special Edition (1982)

Well this version of the band wasn’t the version we want to remember, I fear.  Revere had a whole new cast that sounded nothing like the old band.  The only reason to see these guys was if you were desperate to hear the old songs played along with second-rate covers like “We’re An American Band”.  They self-released this new-wavy album with one side devoted to awful re-recordings of their old music (“Louie Louie” is especially horrible) and the other to band originals.  This track “Do You Really Mind” was the best of the lot and sounded like the current pop music of the day at least.

19.Rides Again (1983)

See #18 – obviously not this reviewer’s cup of tea.  LP was on the Hitbound Records label and had eight non-Revere oldies (“Rock Around The Clock” and “You Really Got Me”) and another version of “Louie Louie”.

20.Ride To The Wall (2001)

I am going to include this for completeness sake since I really don’t consider this Rhino album to be any more than Paul Revere & The Raiders in name only.  Till Revere passed away, he lead a version of this band that had little to do with the old days other than the costumes and the cover songs they played.  He interspersed music at his shows with comedy along the lines of Rip Taylor (look him up if you care).  This album featured this title track tribute to the folks who went to Vietnam and never returned – a very noble cause to be sure.  You would be forgiven, however,if you didn’t recognize any resemblance to the sound of the Raiders on this record even though it does include a cover of “Hungry”.  Mike Smith left us at only age 58 in 2001.  Drake Levin passed at age 62 on the 4th of July in 2009.  Revere was 76 when he went to rock and roll heaven in 2014.  Phil Volk was for years leading a band known as Fangs Gang and has remained married to Action album Tina Mason.  Mark has off and on performed including a fine show several years back in Golden, CO at which I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet him after a truly rockin’ performance.  Thanks for the rock and roll, guys!