“Just Like Me” is a song which is instantly recognizable to me over four decades after its release. It was a part of my youth and I played the battered old 45 to death back in the day. And it still resides proudly in my record collection.
Paul Revere and singer Mark Lindsay met during the late fifties and formed the Downbeats. By the turn of the decade they had taken the name Paul Revere & The Raiders and later added "featuring Mark Lindsay." In 1961 they released “Like, Long Hair” on the small Gardena Label. This song, based on Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude In C-Sharp Minor,” rose to number 38 on the national charts in The United States and prompted the large Columbia label to sign the group to a contact.
Over the course of the next twelve years Paul Revere & The Raiders would release some of the best pop/rock singles of the era. They were catchy, well crafted, and slickly produced. They were a singles band as their albums did not have the same consistent quality. When you gather their singles output into one place, though, you have an outstanding album and a nice slice of mid-sixties to mid-seventies music.
Collector’s Choice has now assembled the group's sixty-two A and B-sides onto the three-disc set, The Complete Columbia Singles. Included as bonuses are the single they recorded for Chevrolet dealerships “SS396/Corvair Baby” plus a commercial for Pontiac and a special record which came with Mattel’s “Swingy Doll.”
Their memorable hits form the heart of the release. “Just Like Me,” “Kicks,” “Hungry,” “The Great Airplane Strike,” “I Had A Dream” and “Too Much Talk” are sixties pop music at its best.
During the early seventies the group shortened its name to The Raiders and tried to create more serious music. While these attempts were hit or miss, they did produce one of the best singles of the time period. “Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian)” would become their only number one hit, doing so in May of 1971.
Many of the B-sides and failed singles have never been issued on CD or at best have long been out of print. Some of their mid-seventies work, which failed to chart, shows a musical evolution and growing sophistication. “Birds Of A Feather,” “Powder Blue Mercedes Queen,” “Golden Girls Sometimes,” and “Seaboard Line Boogie” demonstrate that they could change with the times.
Everyone hopefully has musical memories and one of mine is “B.F.D.R.F. Blues,” which was the flip side of “Just Like Me.” I have a huge 45 collection and this may be the worst B-side in music history. At the end of the track you can hear someone telling the band, “You guys have got to be kidding me.” It’s so bad it's memorable.
The Complete Columbia Singles is a wonderful trip down memory lane and it’s nice to have this material available again. Paul Revere and The Raiders are still out on the road and their music are still worth a listen today. This is an essential release for any sixties collection.