Illustration from The Redemption of Marie Gordon: The Tragic Story of Wronged Womanhood #2 by Cora Lane Sherman, 1926
By the late '60s, Paul Revere & the Raiders were one of the biggest-selling rock groups in America. They had a decent string of hits, and they were well-known for their regular appearances on Dick Clark's shows to perform in their goofy Revolution-era uniforms. But, as singer Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere took more control of the band in an attempt to take the Raiders in a more serious direction, three of the band's core members got fed up and left. By '69, FM radio was the new place for rock music, and, wanting to be seen as a more "serious" rock band, Lindsay wanted an FM radio hit. The Raiders couldn't get any airplay on FM radio because they were a "Top 40" band, so Lindsay sent the stations the band's new harder-edged single "Let Me!" in a sleeve saying it was from a new band called Pink Puzz.
"Let Me!" was a hot single until the DJs found out who was really behind the song - then they dropped it like a hot potato. Paul Revere & the Raiders then put out Alias Pink Puzz, a new album including "Let Me!" with a set of Lindsay-penned and -produced songs. A lot of the songs on the record are about the Raiders' experiences on the road, particularly their tour of Europe, and these songs are among the strongest on the record. The album also has straight-forward pop songs ("Thank You" and "I Need You") and a dreamy ballad ("I Don't Know"). There are some nice psych tinges to the songs, and much of the album has an easy-going, rambling feel like Creedence Clearwater Revival. Most people prefer the early R&B-flavored records the Raiders did, but I think this album shows that their late-'60s albums were pretty strong as well.
"Frankfort Side Street" is one of those songs Lindsay wrote after their tour of Europe, and it's one of my favorites on the album. It has a folky feel that would have been out of place on an earlier Raiders record, and the wistful "sitting in my hotel" lyrics don't come across as corny as most songs of this genre. It has some great guitar work by Freddy Weller, and the tinkling electric piano is a nice touch as well.
"Frankfort Side Street" by Paul Revere & the Raiders