Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Rascals: Anthology, 1965 - 1972

Some of the best music of the 60s was released by the Rascals (also known as the Young Rascals in their earliest years). When their self-titled debut hit in 1965, they came out of the gate hot - "Good Lovin'" set the world on fire and ran up the charts as fast as you could say "New York Soul". That first Lp was an instant party-rock classic, with covers of Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" and "In The Midnight Hour" that got almost as much radio play as the originals, and "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore", one of the best take-a-hike-baby songs ever.

They cranked out 7 albums in the next seven years, dabbling in anti-war protest songs and psychedelia along the way. Some of their stuff was way out - the 4th side of "Freedom Suite", wherein Eddie Brigati was given free reign for a side-filling drum solo, was a bit hard to take no matter what you might've been smoking. But they made great music right up to the end, when Eddie and bassist Gene Cornish left the group to leave Felix and Eddie to soldier on by themselves.

This 2-disc Rhino collection is one in their classic tradition, which means it not only collects more than 40 songs, but includes a well-researched and thoroughly annotated 30-odd-page booklet. Totally worth having if you can find one, as it documents some of the best blue-eyed soul the Sixties had to offer, including all the hits and then some. I'll bet that some of the later tracks, like "See" and "Glory Glory" will bring back memories you'd forgotten; if not, they'll turn you on to some great music you missed.

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