Rick & The Ravens

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Rick & the Ravens are solely known for including Ray Manzarek on keyboards and vocals and recording three rare mid-'60s singles before the formation of the Doors. Manzarek is the singer on all of these,…
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Rick & the Ravens are solely known for including Ray Manzarek on keyboards and vocals and recording three rare mid-'60s singles before the formation of the Doors. Manzarek is the singer on all of these, and the writer of four of the six songs. The first two singles, "Soul Train"/"Geraldine" and "Henrietta/"Just for You," are adequate but generic rock/R&B songs with "Soul Train" bearing a strong resemblance to Gary U.S. Bonds' "New Orleans." "Big Bucket T" (in which Manzarek sings with a slur that makes the title sound like "Big Fuckin' T") is a weird, R&B-colored hot rod song, while its flip, "Rampage," is a surf instrumental, again with heavier blues influences than most efforts in the genre. Both sides of the three singles have shown up on at least two Doors bootlegs, including Objects of Desire.

Although Rick & the Ravens do not sound at all like the Doors, they did play their small part in the early career of the Doors. As a result of recording for the small Aura label (a subsidiary of World Pacific), Rick & the Ravens used free studio time to record a six-song demo in September 1965. These demos were essentially the first recordings by the Doors, as they featured Jim Morrison on lead vocals, Ray Manzarek on piano, and John Densmore on drums. The only member of the Doors yet to join, and hence not on the recording, was guitarist Robbie Krieger. The lineup was filled out on the demo by an unknown bass player and two members of Rick & the Ravens, Ray Manzarek's brothers Rick Manzarek (on guitar) and Jim Manzarek (on harmonica). The six demos can now be heard on The Doors Box Set. Rick Manzarek and Jim Manzarek left the band soon after the demos, paving the way for the entry of Krieger and the establishment of the foursome that rose to stardom as the Doors.