Frank Gutch Jr: The World Had Paul Revere & The Raiders, But the Pac Northwest Had Paul Revere & The Raiders!!!; Halloween (Because Life Must Go On); and Those Ever Popular Notes…

FrankJr2

I would have placed a few more exclamation points behind the header but that would be overdoing it and while Paul Revere would occasionally go over the top, it was usually onstage.  No doubt about it, Paul Revere & The Raiders lead the all-Pac NW rock ‘n’ roll team, no disrespect to the likes of The Wailers, The Sonics, The Frantics and other bands of their era, nor to Heart and Nirvana and Soundgarden and others of the more recent past/present.

The band’s songs have been ringing in my head since I read about Revere’s demise this morning— all of them early, all of them great to me if not great to the rest of the world.  You see, I was lucky to have found the band early and held them close to my chest until others began to  catch on.  By the time they came under the Dick Clark umbrella, the Action years, they had changed and I moved on.  The music changed.  The attitude changed.  The whole world changed.  They were no longer “our” band, they became everyone’s.

paulreveresalemauditorium

Paul Revere & The Raiders at the Salem Armory Auditorium, Mid 1960s

Most people do not understand how regional and local the world was back then.  The tiny town I grew up in— Sweet Home, Oregon— was somewhat isolated, positioned at the base of the Cascade Mountains in the Willamette Valley.  The roads were just beginning to catch up to the automobiles of the time (we’re talking early fifties and even sixties here) and many were still unpaved.  Driving to another town was a major undertaking for those not already entranced by the wonders of travel (our big trip each year was to Lebanon, thirteen miles distant, to buy school clothes).  Us students knew few of the other schoolchildren in our district until junior high (we were a “unified” school district, elementary schools in outlying areas and only the kids starting seventh grade bused into town).  We had television but the reception was sometimes wewantbeerhorrid, the screen filled with so much “snow” that you could barely see movement.  Even radio reception was spotty, thanks to the town’s “valley” status (we were surrounded by hills except in the direction of Lebanon, which gave Lebanon radio station KGAL a definite advantage in the radio wars.

(Photo: It should be no wonder why I loved growing up in Sweet Home.  Here, the whole town turned out for a rally.  What did they want?  BEER!  When did they want it?  THEN!  And probably now, too)

KGAL indeed shaped who I was, musically.  They were #1 on my radio dial and it can be partially attributed to Paul Revere & The Raiders.  (An aside:  Us early and truly devoted fans of the band would never revert to calling them “The Raiders” as they later became known— they were always Paul Revere & The Raiders)  When all other stations were couched in early versions of the Top Forty, KGAL played them, even their earlier Like Longhair tracks.  And The Wailers and The Sonics and even the lesser-knowns such as The Live Five and Little John & The Monks and The Dimensions.  I owe a lot to that station.  They shaped my early days in rock music.  They gave me direction.

That direction led to my early band, The Survivors, covering Paul Revere tunes.  Louie, Louie, of course, but Louie Go Home, their versions of Night Train, Money, Have Love Will Travel and Oo Poo Pah Doo, and a weak attempt at Swim, weak because we had a piano but no organ.  When we became The N Crowd, we expanded our Revere repertoire.  Did I mention that they played dances?  So did we.

I had a couple of Paul Revere 45s early on— Over You b/w Swim and Louie Go Home, but it wasn’t until Here They Come that I knew how good those guys were.  I’m not really 100% raidersheretheycomesure that the live side was live, but it sounded like it, and the studio side was something new— for them, at least.  I was working at a grocery store then and would come home on my lunch hour to put on a side before returning to work, I loved it that much.  I loved everything about it, starting with the personnel listing on the back cover— I mean, Drake Levin was eighteen, for chrissakes!  Only one year older than myself.  Guys used to tell me that they called Revere “Grampa” because he was ancient at 23.  This was my favorite lineup— Revere (23), Levin (18), Mark Lindsay (21), Mike Smith (21), and my favorite Raider, Mike Holiday whom I always referred to as Doc just because I thought it was cool.  Holiday was also 21.  Five guys from Boise who steamrolled Oregon and then Washington and then the West Coast before becoming superstars.  The band manager, Roger Hart, wrote the liner notes— short and sweet— though he gave himself the title of “Music Coordinator for Paul Revere & The Raiders”.  I met Hart at the very first NAMA (Northwest Area Music Association) awards show.  He was hawking freshly pressed double albums of The Wailers, a compilation which I could not pass up.  I would have asked him about his time with Revere, but was too busy fondling my brand new copy of the album I had just purchased.  By the time I came to, there was a long line of people, every man-jack  of them asking questions and purchasing albums.  Opportunity missed.

reverehartThe band had its detractors, of course.  We all have opinions.  I never really cared what people thought.  Their opinions were usually based upon a soundbytes worth of information in a box set of discs.  Their music lost that early edge, yes, and they did have colorful costumes.  Some people outside the Northwest thought they were caricatures of rock musicians, but they were wrong.  They were leaders and, more importantly, they were fun!  Though many bands took up uniforms of one kind or another, Paul Revere and the Raiders made it fashionable.  Tri-cornered hats, revolutionary war uniforms, dance steps The Temptations probably envied, and lots of good music and laughs.  I gave them a 98 (I think Clark would not allow a 100), you could dance to them and they ate hooks for breakfast.  The argument against uniforms?  Here are some of the bands who followed the trend the band promoted if not started.  Photo: Roger Hart and Paul Revere, then and more recent.

dgoodtimestrisha

Don & The Goodtimes—  Don Galucci the keyboard player for the first Kingsmen recordings, formed his own band after his short-lived existence with the guys who would take Louie Louie to the top.  Donning top hats and tails, the band was a step behind Paul Revere in capturing a Northwest audience.  They eventually tied up with Dick Clark and became an Action staple toward the end of that programs TV run.

Hearsemen1

Paul Bearer & The Hearsemen— Twenty-nine miles west of Sweet Home in Albany, The Hearsemen minded the funereal aspects of rock.  I seem to remember seeing a poster of them dressed up in old time mortician’s garb, but I don’t see any now.  Perhaps it was my imagination.  These guys were a staple of Pac NW rock, playing the Willamette Valley circuit regularly.  They were crazy men by reputation.  The closest I ever came to seeing them was outside the VFW Hall in Sweet Home.  Luckily, it was a hot summer night and they kept the doors open.  They sounded damn good.

mrlucky 001

Mr. Lucky & The Gamblers— What can I say?  Gamblers were all over television and the whole riverboat thing had wings for awhile.  The whole idea came out of a TV program, Mr. Lucky.  Diamond Jim had nothing on him.  Or them.

LiveFive5

The Live Five— This might not qualify as exactly a uniform, but these guys had one thing other bands did not.  They had Ed Dougherty‘s wife, who sewed these from, I believe, canvas.  I think it was the Stones’ Brian Jones who begged to have a pair, but things just didn’t work out.

I never had the opportunity to meet any of the band members, but they were family.  Their 45s graced my record player constantly and their music was the core of most Pac NW bands playing the jr. high/high school/armory circuits in the early- to mid-sixties.  Rumors about them were constant— that they owned The D Street Corral in Portland;  that Mark Lindsay hung from the rafters while singing at The Cascade Club;  that Smitty broke his fingers playing a gig somewhere in Washington and couldn’t play until the bones mended.  Rumors worthy of the Clapton-blew-his-ears-out-while-playing-a-gig-with-Cream and Hendrix-killed-himself-shooting-smack-into-his-carotid-artery (this was long before his actual death).  The point is that the boys from Boise were ready for the Big-Time.

NCrowd

The one chance I had to see them came when The N Crowd was invited (thanks to a KGAL Radio disc jockey) to play the Teenage Fair at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum in 1965.  It was a sea of bands from all over the Pac NW.  Paul Revere & The Raiders were scheduled to top off one of the nights (Sly & The Family Stone were, too, but they were fashionably late if they showed at all).  We couldn’t stay, having played early afternoon.  Ninety miles was a long drive back then and driving that distance at ten or eleven at night was out of the question.  It rankled me and I am sure the rest of the guys because Paul Revere and his band were legend.  Another opportunity missed.  Above is a shot of the band digging through the Fender exhibit with the obvious tears in their eyes.  Equipment like that was a band’s wet dream.  I don’t know where I was when this picture was taken.  Probably out somewhere, smelling like teen spirit.

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled when Revere and crew made it.  I have always been a selfish sonofabitch and sharing is not my strong suit.  Still, I could not fault the world for accepting them.  They were truly the best the Northwest had to offer at the time and I will always think of them as good guys.  Especially Paul Revere.  Lindsay’s was the voice but for me, Revere’s was the face.  You don’t think Paul Revere and The Raiders weren’t something really, really special?  Then you didn’t really know them.

In Memoriam

No disrespect to Mr. Revere, but if there is anything I am learning these days what with many of my favorite musicians tripping off this mortal coil, it is that life goes on.  And what is going on this year seems to be…

BobbyborispickettHalloween!

No Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett for this guy this year.  I have spent a lifetime hearing that old chestnut over and over at Halloween parties and, in fact, around Halloween, party or not.  Not much out there when it comes to this holiday, is there?  (Now watch the messages and emails come in by the busload pointing to a plethora of songs about good ol’ October 31st)  There really isn’t, you know— not compared to Christmas or even Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July and even individual birthdays.  Until now.  For some reason, the holiday is gaining traction and you have to look no further than The Green Pajamas and Gabe Rhodes to see it.  And why leave out the kiddies when they are the present-day reason for even having the day in the first place, right, Linn Brown?

I don’t know what the hell happened this year but these three could be the spearhead of a national if not international movement.  Halloween is the neglected cousin of so many holidays and even days (I mean, fer chrissakes, they even have Secretary days even though you get sued if you call them that).  It is a time of wonder for the extremely young, an excuse to party for the terminally socially challenged, a reason to whine for the fundamental Christians and a perfect ploy for businesses to amp up their game (candy corn, anyone?  And while you’re at it, why don’t you wash them down with a bottle of pumpkin ale?).  Elementary schools love it— you can keep a student occupied for hours making pumpkins and goblins.  City politicians don’t mind it so much anymore now that the outhouse has gone the way of the kerosene lamp.  So, what say, musicians?  A pro-Halloween stance?

grpajamashalloweenYou bet, and no one better to help bring it back to its original stature (meaning when I was a kid) than The Green Pajamas, eh?!  I tell you, I have the Pajama gene in me.  They can do no wrong!  To look back and realize that my obsession with the band started with a single (Kim the Waitress) handed me by cohort Howie Wahlen, my head spins.  Word out of Green Monkey Records is that the number of albums by the band and individual band members have topped thirty.  That’s monumental when you take into account that so few people seem to know who they are.  For the whole story, allow me to plagiarize (read, steal) from the

Monkey’s press release

Forget Al Capone’s vault, Happy Halloween! is finally here. The grand finale in Green Monkey Records’ series of early, damn-near-unreleased Green Pajamas material will be in fine stores and internets October 21. The original 8-song Happy Halloween! cassette was self-released by the band exactly thirty years ago this month, on October 20, 1984, a mere four months after the release of their psychedelic pop debut, the magnificent Summer of Lust. A stunning total of ten cassettes were made for the entire world. Those eight songs are featured here as the current tracks 4-11, in their original order. For this 2014 release we have added 13 mostly unreleased PJ’s songs recorded in an 8-month period between Lust and their first single, Kim the Waitress. A few, like Thinking Only of You (Lust Won’t Last) saw very limited release on obscure German comps and the like; they have been highly sought commodities among the Pajamas aficionados.

greenmonkeylogoThis collection of obscurities was curated by Pajama Joe Ross, keeper of the band’s secret history. Only Joe would have known of never-performed gems like The Hate Song and She’s So Weird. For those looking for high fidelity, you won’t find it here. These songs were recorded sometimes on 4-track, sometimes right to cassette tape. They were mastered from thirty- year old cassettes. What you will find is (mainly) two West Seattle lads Jeff Kelly and Joe Ross setting the crucible of creativity on fire with all due haste. You will find a great bunch of songs that are already accelerating away from the psychedelic label they got with Summer. of Lust. By the end of these recordings, they are becoming the Kim the Waitress band, with Steven Lawrence and Karl Wilhelm joined as members.

We will be releasing a video for Thinking Only of You (Lust Won’t Last) with footage captured at Seattle’s legendary Gorilla Gardens in 1985.

Jeff Kelly and The Green Pajamas are Seattle’s most excellent conundrum; a band who have made over 30 albums in the last 30 years – a consistently intriguing body of work and yet they remain largely unknown. This is their second album. They perform in public occasionally.

They go on from there giving us a string of sites where you can read about or hear The Pajamas, but rather than copying that, why don’t you just head over to the Green Monkey site itself (click here) and find out what all is going on with the label and the band.  Why the hell not?  It’s almost Halloween!

gabrielrhodesAnyone heard what Gabe Rhodes has been up to lately?  That Texas boy always has his hands in a bunch of projects, all worthy of attention and some downright outstanding.  Like the two Fiery Blue albums he helped piece together.  Well, he’s stepped out on the same limb that The Pajamas stepped onto, by jeezus, and done himself proud with some odd Halloween music a lot of us are going to dig.  The album is titled A Halloween Night and here is a thumbnail review of the tracks, one-by-one:

Halloween Night— A walk through a graveyard at midnight with a side of Italian dressing.

Trick or Treatin’— Cartoon music with a touch of Western Swing?

The Moth— An actual composition with classical structure and everything!  Eerie in mood and beauty (Hey, it IS Halloween, right?) with a spooky fugue finale.

Los Muertos—  This should be latino, right. But it sounds more Italian to my ears, maybe with Spanish overtones.  A sea covered by fog.

Sad Ghost— Ambient intro which gives way to floating and haunting eeriness.

Candy Corn— A cross between circus and cartoon music.  You can visualize goblins and ghosts in their All Hallow’s Eve glory.

halloweendittiesIt’s all instrumental, folks.  All Gabriel Rhodes with help from only a few.  And perfect for All Hallow’s Eve with the lights turned down.  Truth be told, though, I’ve been following Rhodes for a few years now and he has never disappointed.  He’s another Dan Phelps— talented as hell and all over the place.  You can check out his Facebook page here.

And if you love the kiddies (or maybe have one or two attached to you in some way), Linn Brown has that covered.  How about Halloween for the tots?  Linn has put together an album of songs geared for the very young titled Halloween Ditties for Kiddies.  Isn’t that what Halloween is supposed to be about?  Dig these titles:  Skeletons; A Bat Can’t Wear a Hat; Who Ate the Candy?; Halloween Hullabaloo.  Kids love this stuff.  And if you are really shopping for tots, check out her 3 and some other catchy little numbers.  There is a conceptual piece titled 3-2-1 Rocket Opera which takes kids, storybook-like, into the deep regions of space.  You can check out all of her childrens albums as well as some pretty fine adult music as well  by clicking here.

I am getting older by the minute, so what say we head over to the…

Music Notes smallNotes…..  Good friend Mark Allen Tinkle down San Diego way has been all over me to check out a lady named Cleopatra Degher, saying she’s the real deal and every other phrase he could think of to get me to take a listen.  She’s real enough to have caught the attention of NPR and at first glance I thought, NPR?  She doesn’t need me writing about her.  But Mark is tenacious if nothing else and I plugged into this video this morning.  She’s on bandcamp.  I’m going there next.  You know what, Mark?  I am as impressed as you are.

Speaking of impressed, Anna Maria Rosales impresses the hell out of me with her new Washed Up On Your Shore album.  Solid vocals, great songwriting, outstanding production— everything in its place.  Here is a live version of a song from the album featuring none other than Rich McCulley, who is impressive in his own right.

arboreaI used to hate cover songs.  I really did.  Then The Big Bright twisted eighties songs to my liking (I Slept Through the Eighties) and there is the new and stunning album by The Winterpills (Echolalia), soon to be released if it has not been already (More on those two albums and more next week).  Not to be outdone, Buck Curran and cohort-in-crime Shanti have pummeled one of my least favorite CCR songs (Bad Moon Rising) into submission and have me thinking the song wasn’t so bad as was CCR’s version.  Set yourself.  This is so different, it’s like getting dessert when you expect the main course.  Listen here (and buy it— they are raising money for their next album and if it’s anything like the last few, it will be another acoustic stunner).

I finish this with a nod not to Halloween but to rock ‘n’ roll.  Back a few years, I used to catch a comic strip by one Ramon Collins (then calling himself Ray): Cecil C. Addle & Dipstik Duck.  Ramon had the wit and candor of a Morning Drive AM Radio disc jockey and loved everyuthing he did for that very reason.  Whilst working at Peaches Records in the late seventies, I found that I was working next to his son, one Ryan Collins (known to the music world as Ryco).  When I happened to mention the strip one day, Ryco said hey, that’s my dad, and went home and told him that he had a fan.  Ramon sent me a few of his proofs as a thanks for being a fan, I suppose, one of which was this one.  While working in Seattle, he was printed in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  This one is from The Boulder City News.  Dedicated to Ry and Stuff (Ryan and Stef, Ryco’s wife).  For dinosaurs like myself, it pretty much says it all.  No thanks… I already had lunch.  Here’s to you, Ramon.  God loves rock ‘n’ roll and Dipstik, who remains a favorite to this day.

ramoncollins 001

=FGJ=

Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonFrank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.” 

2 Responses to “Frank Gutch Jr: The World Had Paul Revere & The Raiders, But the Pac Northwest Had Paul Revere & The Raiders!!!; Halloween (Because Life Must Go On); and Those Ever Popular Notes…”

  1. I inadvertently left out the link to Green Monkey Records, where you can stream many Green Monkey releases including the new Green Pajamas Halloween album. Here it is:

    http://www.greenmonkeyrecords.com/

  2. […] before the superstar contingent formed.  When Revere died, I posted a column paying tribute.  You can, if you so desire, read that here.  I loved that band.  I still […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: