The Raisins (1983)
Excellent Precursor To The Bears
Guitar whiz Adrian Belew stumbled on Ohio’s best kept pop secret in the early 80s and signed on to produce this debut LP from The Raisins. The union was so mutually satisfying that Belew dropped his many lucrative sideman gigs (which had included Bowie, Zappa & Talking Heads) to join the band, who then re-named themselves The Bears, eventually releasing five albums. If you’re already a Bears fan, you don’t need a sell job. They’re simply one of the sharpest and brightest pop outfits of any generation. As for this long lost Raisins debut, you can expect more of the same, as the core configuration already had all the necessary ingredients in the mix even before Belew came on board (just ask any bar-hopping Ohioan). It sounds, for all intents and purposes, like The Bears, from a retrospective point of view. Original Raisins’ followers don’t require any comparisons to justify how cool this release is. “Fear Is Never Boring” was revamped for the first Bears album and, as you can hear below, it was already fully formed here. Independently released, and long out of print (though, there’s a re-sequenced re-issue featuring 3 bonus tracks available at Amazon). If you’re into exuberant, expert intelli-pop, go no further. Many thanks to BC for the help on this one. Do not miss Vols. 1-3 of the group’s Everything And More collection.