Country Wine was released not long after the Raiders (now billed sans Paul Revere) had revived their career with the chart-topping "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)." It nonetheless continued the group's nearly uninterrupted commercial downslide, though it did contain a couple singles, "Country Wine" and "Powder Blue Mercedes Queen," that just missed the Top 50. That couldn't be solely blamed on changing trends, though the Raiders adapted to the changing times to some extent with good-time, gospel-tinged boogies ("Country Wine"), slightly heavy guitar chording ("Powder Blue Mercedes Queen"), and Beach Boys-influenced piano-dominated balladry ("Ballad of the Unloved"). Under the surface tweaks, the Raiders remained an amiable good-time band that rocked a little harder than most pop-oriented acts, though "Baby Make Up Your Mind" was about as AM pop-flavored a production as anything they did in this era. But the songs, whether original or supplied by outsider writers, weren't outstanding, and the resemblance to the band's classic mid-'60s garage pop had grown so tenuous that it nearly sounded like the work of a different act. For those who want a thorough collection of the Raiders' post-"Indian Reservation" work of the early '70s, the Australian CD reissue on Raven offers considerable extras in historical liner notes and, more vitally, 11 bonus tracks. Those include eight tracks from 1971-1974 singles, as well as three (originally targeted for an unreleased Columbia LP) from the era that didn't show up until the 1990 CD The Legend of Paul Revere. Among them are some oddities of note, if more odd than good, such as "Terry's Tune," the Booker T. & the MG's-like instrumental B-side to "Indian Reservation"; Mark Lindsay's bluesy "It's So Hard Getting Up Today," easily superior to any track on Country Wine; Jimmy Webb's unsubtle swipe at the music business, "Song Seller," and one of the more unlikely covers of an obscure Bob Dylan song, the 1974 single "(If I Had to Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It) Over You."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger