I’m not the most Christmassy of people, if at all to be honest, but the challenge to find some decent Yule sounds was quite tempting, so here goes.
Rain, Sleet or Snow appeared on Paul Revere & The Raiders 1967 album, A Christmas Present…and Past.‘ The story behind this record is quite interesting too because, while few people remember Paul Revere and the Raiders these days, they were very popular back in the mid-’60’s. Often referred to as America’s Beatles, the band had their own TV show (like the Monkees), together with a large collection of solid blues-drenched garage rock albums.
So, just imagine that you’re an executive at Columbia Record handing out a sizeable budget to the band expecting an album of White Christmas and Winter Wonderland in return! What the record company actually got was an album of Vietnam protest, boozy singalongs, hippie humor, catchy tunes and studio shenanigans; like the two minutes of kazoo at the end of the record!! Columbia hated it, DJs hated it and even the liner-note author of the Complete Columbia Singles didn’t think much of it. But the fans loved it and continue to love it!!!
At the time of its release former lead singer Mark Lindsay explained this of the record:
“When CBS said they wanted a Christmas album, we couldn’t see giving them the one they probably expected. Then we’d flip on the news and see ’Nam in full colour, so that had to sink in. We were also travelling in the South at the time, so those kinds of civil rights issues came up. So most of our singles weren’t political, but the Christmas album totally was. It was a disaster, but it reflected what we were feeling at the time. It was a good time for flower power and protest. There was a lot of tongue-in-cheek involved”
Rain, Sleet, Snow” is a jolly, festive little blues/psych rock number about Christmas mail deliveries: “The Postmaster General says we’ll get by/ If you send all your cards before the Fourth of July”…its got a great hip-hop sounding beat too which I’m rather partial too! Get your baubles round that and listen above!!