Paul Revere & The Raiders, Midnight Ride, Columbia CS-9308, 1966
I think this band had some incriminating evidence on Columbia Records. While they had a few decent hits after being heavily promoted daly on national tv, with songs written by Brill Building all stars, virtually anyone would have found success. And even as the hits dried up, Columbia kept on releasing Paul Revere & The Raiders records well into the mid 70s. Blackmail is about the only thing I can think of as to why this happened.
The big hit here is Kicks. Turned down by Eric Burden & The Animals, this Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil composition was an anti-drug anthem that came out just as the LSD fueled counter culture was kicking in. Anti Drug songs were not heard at the Monterey Pop Festival, and Paul Revere & The Raiders were not invited to perform. It was right about the time that this record came out that they began fading out their Revolutionary War outfits, another thing that might have endeared them to corporate media but not necessarily the creative direction that music was taking. And yet the major label releases kept on coming.
Critics say that if you want to get one Raiders album, make it this one. The original version of I’m Not Your Stepping Stone, later a B-Side smash for The Monkees is here. Kicks has also aged well for its Beatles-esque guitar work and placed at #400 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Songs Of All Time list. If this was a Standells record, or any group that wrote and performed their own music, it would be a $100 record. The Raiders just happen to be a competent little band from the Pacific Northwest that won the lottery by getting signed to Columbia. It’s still listenable album, but fairly priced at $2.
Cost: $2, $192 Remaining
$70 Spent, $2.33 per record
The Monkees, The Monkees, Colgems COM-101, 1966
When an album sells over 5 million copies, it’s generally very easy to find, even after 50 years. So easy to find, in fact, that it’s hard NOT to find this album wherever you look for low cost records. The problem is not finding one, it’s finding one in good condition. You’re looking at a total of $13 spent on these three records, and the plan is to combine the best of them into the one I’ll keep.
The middle copy still wears its original shrink wrap, so that’s where I’ll begin. The left hand one has a crisp inner sleeve (to my knowledge Colgems never had a promotional inner sleeve) so that’ll be the one I’ll keep. But the third album, the one on the right, plays the cleanest. Monkees fans weren’t what you’d call audiophiles who would have played their records on the finest equipment. It’s really hard to find a good, clean copy of their records, and you may have to do what I did and cobble together several of them to end up with a near mint copy.
But you should. Monkees records are very well done, even the early ones where the Prefab Four did nothing more than sing. The show needed so much music that several A-List songwriting teams were called in to write Monkee Music. That means that there’s usually very little filler. This record spent 13 weeks at number one, and only gave up the top spot to More Of The Monkees. That wouldn’t have happened if this wasn’t a really good pop album.
Cost: $5, $364 Remaining
Davy Jones, David Jones, Colpix CP-493, 1965
“I saw The Beatles from the wings of The Ed Sullivan Show and the girls were gong crazy. I said to myself, this is it, I want a part of this”. So said 18 year old David Jones about his February 9, 1964 appearance on what became the most watched show in TV history when it aired. He was appearing on Broadway as The Artful Dodger in the cast of Oliver!, for which he would earn a Tony nomination. With every American record company looking for British singing stars to sign in the wake of that night, it’s no surprise that young David Jones was signed to Colpix RecordIt was a fine pairing actually. Colpix was the record division of Screen Gems, the television arm of Columbia. In 1966, it would evolve into the Colgems label and sell a bazillion Monkees records. But in 1965, Colpix’s new teen sensation was given some really lame material to try to sing. None of these songs were ever performed on The Ed Sullivan Show.
So imagine you’re an executive at Colpix Records, and your teen idol sensation of 1965 totally flops, but appears in 1966 as one of the brand new Monkees who quickly outsell even The Beatles. This record did chart (#185) and produce a charting single (What Are We Going To Do? # 94), but it must have been a massive disappointment. But hey, why not slap a big orange sticker on it and call attention to Monkee fans that, hey, here’s a Davy Jones record you don’t have!
Of course, it didn’t work. The record was quickly forgotten, rightfully so. It’s a fun listen (once) just to hear Davy Jones singing Dylan’s It Ain’t Me Babe, but in all honesty, I blew $2 on it for the orange sticker.
Cost: $2, $951 Remaining