Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) ~ Paul Revere & the Raiders

Paul Revere and the Raiders is an American rock band that saw enormous mainstream success in the second half of the 1960s and earlier 1970s.

Initially located in Boise, Idaho, the Raiders started as an instrumental rock outfit led by organist Paul Revere (born Paul Revere Dick on January 7, 1938). In his early twenties, Revere already owned several restaurants in Caldwell, Idaho. and first met singer Mark Lindsay (born March 9, 1942, Eugene, Oregon) while picking up hamburger buns from the bakery where Lindsay worked (this circumstance was later referred to in the tongue-in-cheek song “Legend of Paul Revere”). Lindsay joined Revere’s band in 1958. Originally called The Downbeats, they changed their name to Paul Revere & The Raiders in 1960 on the eve of their first record release for Gardena Records. The band scored their first Pacific Northwest hit in 1961, with “Like, Long Hair.” The song had enough national appeal that it peaked at #38 in the Billboard charts on April 17th, 1961. When Revere was drafted for military service, he became a conscientious objector and worked at a mental institution for a year-and-a-half of deferred service as a cook, while Mark Lindsay pumped gas in Wilsonville, Oregon. Lindsay, on the strength of their Top 40 hit, toured the U.S. in the Summer of 1961 with a band that featured Leon Russell filling in for Revere on piano.

By the summer of 1962, Revere and Lindsay were working together again in Oregon with a version of the Raiders that featured drummer Mike “Smitty” Smith, who would spend two long periods with the band. Around this time, KISN DJ, Roger Hart, who was producing teen dances, was looking for a band to hire. Hart had a casual conversation with a bank teller who told him about a band called “Paul Revere-something.” Hart obtained Revere’s phone number and they met for lunch. Hart hired the band for one of his teen dances. Soon afterwards, Hart became the group’s personal manager. It was Hart who suggested they record “Louie Louie”, for which Hart paid them about $50, producing it and placing it on his SANDE label. This attracted the attention of Columbia Records. According to Mark Lindsay, the Northwest Raiders were a “bunch of white-bread kids doing their best to sound black. We got signed to Columbia (Records) on the strength of sounding like this.” Whether the Raiders or The Kingsmen recorded “Louie Louie” first is a matter of some controversy; however, both groups recorded it in the same studio in Portland, Oregon. Although beaten in the charts by The Kingsmen’s version, Paul Revere & The Raiders enjoyed a longer career. By then, Paul Revere and the Raiders included Revere, Lindsay, Smith, guitarist Drake Levin and bassist Mike “Doc” Holliday, who was replaced in early 1965 by Phil Volk.

Indian Reservation
(The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)

Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” is a song written by John D. Loudermilk. It was first recorded in 1959 by Marvin Rainwater and released as “The Pale Faced Indian”. Rainwater’s MGM release stayed unnoticed. The first hit version was a 1968 cover by Don Fardon, a former member of The Sorrows. In 1971 the Raiders recorded the song.

The song refers to the forcible removal and relocation of Cherokee people from southeastern states of the United States to territories west of the Mississippi River. This removal in the 1830s has been popularly referred to as the “Trail of Tears.” It followed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This action was part of a larger United States policy of Indian removal.

The lyrics vary somewhat among the recorded versions. Rainwater’s version omits the “Cherokee people!” chorus but includes instead a series of “Hiya hiya ho!” chants. Fardon’s version is similar to the Raiders’ through the first verse and chorus, but differs in the second verse, which includes the lines “Altho’ they changed our ways of old/They’ll never change our heart and soul”, also found in Rainwater’s version. Rainwater includes some of the elements found in the other versions in a different order, and his first verse has words not found in the others, such as “They put our papoose in a crib/and took the buck skin from our rib”.

At the end, where the Raiders sing “…Cherokee nation will return”, Fardon says “Cherokee Indian…”, while Rainwater omits the line and ends with “beads…nowadays made in Japan.”


They took the whole Cherokee nation
Put us on this reservation
Took away our ways of life
The tomahawk and the bow and knife
Took away our native tongue
And taught their English to our young
And all the beads we made by hand
Are nowadays made in Japan

Cherokee people, Cherokee tribe
So proud to live, so proud to die

They took the whole Indian nation
Locked us on this reservation
Though I wear a shirt and tie
I’m still part redman deep inside

Cherokee people, Cherokee tribe
So proud to live, so proud to die

But maybe someday when they learn
Cherokee nation will return, will return,
will return, will return, will return

  • Audio from the 1971 single, Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) on the 1990 compilation album, The Legend of Paul Revere

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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