Terry Melcher

Honoring a Musical Genius

Drake Levin is the coolest guitarist and has more finesse than any other guitarist -- in any genre of music -- that I have ever seen. He's amazing. If you haven't ever gotten to see this man play, you ought to check out YouTube for some Paul Revere & the Raiders (the original group from the 1960's) footage.

You know that groovy guitar work you hear on the song "Just Like Me"? Well that particular piece was the result of some pretty cool recordings in the studio between Terry Melcher's producing genius and Drake Levin's genius artistry. Each cut that Drake did for this song was major cool and great individually, then they melded them together into one track when Terry double-tracked it and there you have it -- one very groovy guitar piece!

Want to know just how amazingly talented a guitarist this man Drake is? At a concert in California in 1998 (or was it 1999?), Drake reproduced that same exact sound live on stage -- all at once -- on his Epiphone. His hand was a blur as he played this multitude of music notes in perfect precision with clear, crisp notes. How sweet it sounded!!!

A groovy little note here: besides this page, you can read more about Drake's music on my page entitled "Treasures of Record", where I am currently highlighting one of Paul Revere & the Raiders' albums, "Midnight Ride".

What would be really cool is if the 1960's television show, "Where the Action Is!", in which the Raiders starred, would be released in a DVD collection! Wow, that would be great! Paul Revere & the Raiders were the greatest entertainers with their music, their groovy sense of fun & humor, as well as their cool dancing! All of the guys moved in such fluid rhythm to the music; you could almost hear the music just by watching their movements. It was incredible. Drake always had that great grin and great dance moves; he's always been so cool and smooth, yet too modest to let it go to his head -- now that's refreshing!

The Raiders were blessed to get to have Drake as a member of their very cool group, especially since Drake could easily have been a success as a solo artist. He had everything he needed talent-wise (what a wonderful, husky voice!) and he was beyond "movie-star-handsome"! He did cut a single in 1966 while he was serving with honor in the Army National Guard. However, instead of pursuing a solo career when his military service was complete, he resumed his spot as essential guitarist of Paul Revere & the Raiders (Jim "Harpo" Valley of Don & the Goodtimes having done a nice job temporarily filling in for him while he served -- thanks Harpo!). We do get to hear Drake sing lead on several Paul Revere & the Raiders' songs and he either wrote or co-wrote quite a few more.

In 1967, around the same time that Terry left Columbia Records to form his own Equinox Productions, the classic Paul Revere & the Raiders became two individual groups. Founding members Paul Revere and Mark Lindsay naturally kept the name, while Drake, along with Phil "Fang" Volk and Mike "Smitty" Smith, left to form The Brotherhood. These three guys weren't wavering from the Raider path; they left in order to continue that great Northwest garage-with-soul sound that the Raiders had been known for. They didn't dig the new path that had been chosen for Paul Revere & the Raiders, because that new path was not true to their musical souls. Drake, Phil, and Smitty's group carried on the great Raider tradition without letting trends and the declining good taste of radio stations deter them from following their true musical path. Three awesome albums were recorded by these music warriors; hopefully someday soon they will be released on CD for everyone to get to enjoy this great depth of talent, soul, and pure musical satisfaction.

Drake has been in music ever since he was in his teens. In the 1970's he even had his own guitar shop, called "Drake's Guitars"; boy, would I have loved to have gone there! He's worked with various artists over the years, including Jimmy McCracklin, Shankar, Lee Michaels, etc. He has also done concerts with all-star line-ups that featured fellow Raiders, members of The Flamingos, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams, as well as other cool people like Tina Mason and bluesman Billy Dunn. Now that's a lot of great music!!! I saw some footage of Drake from just the other year, sitting in with a band to lend the special music that flows from his soul, right through his fingertips and out through the guitar - it was breathtakingly awesome.

Drake showed amazing strength and determination as he continuously fought and recovered from his many struggles with health over the recent years. He continued to play his music (even recording a solo album!) and make the most of each day he had here. On 7-4-2009, Independence Day, Drake's battle was over -- he gained freedom from pain as he joined his friends and former co-workers Mike "Smitty" Smith (2001) and Terry Melcher (2004) in Paradise. Drake lived a brave, inspiring life, giving us great gifts of music and love, which live on forever.

Drake's loving wife, Sandra, could be greatly blessed by words of love, comfort, and encouragement right now. We all understand the financial burdens involved as well. We can use the same P.O. Box and e-mail addresses for her now, that she had provided for us to help Drake in recent months. Here they are again:

Sandra Levin

PO. Box 297

58 West Portal

San Francisco, CA 94127

Drake at crestlinegroup dot com

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