Rick & the Ravens

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Rick & the Ravens
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Blues rock, rock and roll, surf rock
Years active 1961-1965, 2011-present
Labels Aura Records
Associated acts The Doors, Butts Band, Nite City, Manzarek-Krieger, Tribaljazz
Members Rick Manzarek
Rob Stanfield
Steve Cress
Pete Tebow
Paul Estrip
Scott Ferris
Past members Patrick Stonier
Roland Biscaluz
Vince Thomas
Ray Manzarek
Jim Morrison

Rick & the Ravens, founded in 1961, is the band Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Jim Morrison were in before renaming themselves The Doors in the latter half of 1965. The band recorded three singles on Aura Records and a historic demo tape that included later Doors songs.

Line-ups[edit]

The band initially consisted of Rick Manczarek on guitar, Jim Manczarek on organ and harmonica, Patrick Stonier on saxophone, Roland Biscaluz on bass and Vince Thomas on drums. The drummer and bass player were initially not permanent members, but asked to join whenever a gig was upcoming. The moniker "Rick" in the band name was Ray Manczarek's brother Rick Manczarek.

In 1962 Ray Manczarek, having moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, joined on vocals and occasional piano. At the time the Manczareks wrote their name with the letter "c" at the end, as did Ray. He changed the spelling upon joining The Doors.

Because of his voice, with a timbre closer to the traditional blues delivery than rock and roll, Manzarek was also known as "Screamin' Ray Daniels" (Manzarek's middle name is Daniel), "Screamin' Ray", "the Bearded Blues Shouter", or simply "the Screamer".

Performances[edit]

The band used to perform on weekends for college crowds, mostly from UCLA Film School, at a bar on 2nd Street and Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica, California, called the Turkey Joint West,[1] a British pub operated by the Santa Monica Soccer and Social Club,[2] since 1974 known as Ye Olde King's Head.[3] Their setlist consisted of their own originals, padded with standards such as "I'm Your Doctor, I Know What You Need," "Louie, Louie," Barrett Strong's "Money" and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man."

In an interview conducted by Rainer Moddemann, Manzarek stated the first song Jim Morrison performed with Rick & the Ravens was Richard Berry's "Louie Louie." Morrison was not officially part of the band at that time; Manzarek simply invited his former college colleague on stage, much to everyone's surprise. Morrison was reportedly not prepared for this, his first public performance, and sang himself hoarse.[4] Morrison and Manzarek had met previously and found each other sharing a lot of musical and artistic interests. Later Manzarek asked Morrison to join the band; Morrison accepted.

The 1965 World Pacific Demo[edit]

On September 2, 1965 the band entered World Pacific Studios and recorded six songs that would eventually become Doors songs: "Moonlight Drive", "My Eyes Have Seen You", "Hello, I Love You", "Go Insane" (known simply as "Insane" on the acetate), "End of the Night", and "Summer's Almost Gone". The recording session was a relatively quick affair, only lasting three hours in total.[5] Singer Morrison was reportedly delighted to hear his voice on a record for the first time. The demo was released in its entirety on The Doors' box set in 1997. The tracks on the box set were mastered from what was originally Rick Manzarek's acetate which was one of only five made.

Transformation to The Doors[edit]

The 1965 Rick & the Ravens demo features Jim Morrison on vocals, Ray Manzarek on piano and background vocals, John Densmore on drums, Rick Manzarek on guitar, Jim Manzarek on harmonica, and Patricia "Pat" Hansen (née Sullivan, from Patty and the Esquires, the band she had with Chuck Oakes whom she later married[6]) on bass guitar. The only future Doors member not in the band and not featured on the demo is guitarist Robby Krieger. [7]

Both Jim and Rick Manzarek were disappointed in the response the demo got after attempting to promote it, and they, along with Sullivan, were additionally not impressed with Morrison's songs[8]. Subsequently, Rick and Jim Manzarek quit the band, stating they felt it was "going nowhere fast".[9]

At Morrison's suggestion[10], the band changed its name to The Doors a month after they had recorded the demo. Robby Krieger joined on guitar in October 1965, having earlier performed with Densmore in the Psychedelic Rangers.[11] The Doors was thus initially a quintet, but when Manzarek decided to handle the bass duties with the newly introduced Fender Rhodes Piano Bass, Pat Sullivan was dropped from the line-up[12] in December 1965, ultimately ending up with the "classic" Doors quartet of Morrison, Manzarek, Krieger, and Densmore.

All songs from the Rick & the Ravens demo appear, in re-recorded and sometimes amended form, on later Doors releases. "End of the Night" appeared on The Doors' 1967 self-titled debut album, "Moonlight Drive" and "My Eyes Have Seen You" appeared on the band's second album Strange Days, and "Hello, I Love You" and "Summer's Almost Gone" appeared on 1968's Waiting for the Sun, both included as a result of Morrison's struggles with alcoholism and lack of new songs at that time. The verse section of "Go Insane" became part of the "Celebration of the Lizard" suite under the title "A Little Game"; a live version of "Celebration of the Lizard" was released on 1970's Absolutely Live, with a rough studio attempt featuring on 2003's Legacy: The Absolute Best.

2011 reformation[edit]

In 2011 Rick Manzarek gathered a new band for Rick & the Ravens, playing guitar with Rob Stanfield singing and playing rhythm guitar, Steve Cress on lead guitar, Pete Tebow on bass, Paul Estrip on drums, and Scott Ferris playing harmonica. With a sound ranging from traditional blues to garage rock, they started recording a new demo in October 2011.

Members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Release year Name Publisher Release Number
1965 Soul Train / Geraldine Aura Records Aura Records 4511
1965 Henrietta / Just For You Aura Records Aura Records 4506
1965 Big Bucket "T" / Rampage Posae Records Posae Records 101

The singles were meant as promotional material only. They were never in wide circulation, nor were they even meant to be published outside the promotional circuits. On the "Soul Train / Geraldine" single, the artist is labeled "Ray Daniels feat. Rick & the Ravens", with "Ray Daniels" double billed. The last singles were initially meant as vehicles to promote Ray Manczarek (billed as "Ray Daniels") as lead artist, with the Ravens merely a backing band. Promotional material presented the artist as "Rick & the Ravens featuring the Voice of Ray Daniels". These plans were discarded when Morrison joined the line-up.

Mislabels[edit]

All of these promo tracks have later ended up on various Doors bootlegs, erroneously labelling the tracks as songs by the Doors.[citation needed]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Louie Report: "Jim Morrison before the Doors, and other dead people"". 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  2. ^ "Southern California Dart Association". Archived from the original on 2004-03-08. 
  3. ^ "Ye Olde King's Head history". Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  4. ^ "Stardust Memories, Los Angeles CityBeat". Archived from the original on 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  5. ^ "The Doors, a Chronology". Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  6. ^ "Who was The Doors bass player?". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  7. ^ "Rockmine Archive: The Big Manzarek / Krieger interview". 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  8. ^ "Eye on the Doors Story". Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  9. ^ "The Doors FAQ at Super 70's". Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  10. ^ "The Doors' History Site". Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  11. ^ "Rockmine Archive: The Big Manzarek / Krieger interview". 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  12. ^ "Missoulapolis: "Lost" and Found". Retrieved 2008-06-25.