Friday, 17 June 2016

"The Young Rascals" by THE YOUNG RASCALS (In Rhino's 2011 'Original Album Series' 5CD Box Set Of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...We Got Good Love..."

Forever associated with two huge 60ts anthems - "Good Lovin'" and "Groovin'" - The Young Rascals started out as a straight-up raucous R&B outfit in 1966 with good vibrations in their hearts, Atlantic and Chess Records in their Souls and the occasional flower stalk in their hair. By the time they'd reached December 1969 - they'd shortened the moniker to THE RASCALS and released six studio albums and one 'Greatest Hits'. En-route they'd become increasingly more sophisticated in their output (ending up sounding like WAR on Freedom Suite's funky workout "Cute") and vocal in their wish to see the USA buck up and move on from all that was tearing it apart socially at the time.

And that's what this dinky little 5CD box set in the "Original Album Series" inadvertently proves. The Rascals were so much more than a rapid-fire happy-wappy hits group and a Summer of Love phenomenon - but an evolving musical force trying to get heard. But as the Sixties closed – like The Monkees - less and less were listening let alone buying their records - making a lot of this music in 2016 almost unknown to the average listener. Time to rectify that oversight. Here are the details...

UK and Europe released October 2011 (August 2013 in the USA) - "Original Album Series" by THE YOUNG RASCALS on Atlantic/Rhino 8122 79834 8 (Barcode 081227983482) is a 5CD Card Slipcase housing 5 x 5” Mini LP Repro Sleeves. Their debut LP "The Young Rascals" is Disc 1 and plays out as follows (36:15 minutes):

1. Slow Down
2. Baby Let's Wait
3. Just A Little
4. I Believe
5. Do You Feel It
6. Good Lovin' [Side 2]
7. Like A Rolling Stone
8. Mustang Sally
9. I Ain't Gonna Eat My Heart Out Anymore
10. In The Midnight Hour
Tracks 1 to 10 are their debut album "The Young Rascals" - released March 1966 in the USA on Atlantic 8123 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 8123 (Stereo) and in the UK on Atlantic 587012 (Mono) and Atlantic 588012 (Stereo) - the Stereo mix is used. It peaked at No. 15 on the US LP charts.

As with all of these releases you get 5 x 5" card sleeves that repro the front and rear US LP artwork for the Stereo versions - and how cool is it to see these increasingly hard to find album covers. OK you might need a magnifying glass to read the details (there are none on the last two) - but at just about two quid per album - who’s complaining.

From what I can hear these are the BILL INGLOT/DAN HERSCH Rhino remasters and each sounds great - even if the inherent hiss of the first LP is still on these transfers. And once again I can't overstate how good these albums are. Let's get to this underrated music...

Quite apart from Gene Cornish's garage-guitar rocking throughout the self-titled debut - like a beast on a boozy mission – the group was also possessed of three Lead Vocalists (out of a four-piece band). Felix Cavaliere handled most of the bigger tunes whilst laying down that groovy organ - Gene Cornish wielded his choppy axe and sang too - Eddie Brigati provided voice number three whilst playing Percussion – and all the while Dino Danelli laid down the backbeat on the Drums. 

Their debut is top heavy with R&B and Soul covers - least not of all the opening blaster "Slow Down" - a hit for Larry Williams in 1958 and explored by The Beatles on their "Long Tall Sally" EP in 1964. Even their take on Bob Dylan's perennially overdone song "Like A Rolling Stone" is better than most. Also dig their chugging guitar/organ groove on Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour". The Beau Brummels had a hit with "Just A Little" in 1965 (Autumn Records 10) – The Rascals rein it back to an almost slow-burn Bluesy pace (bit hissy this track). Overall a great start to what would become a hugely successful career...

The Young Rascals would morph into The Rascals as the 60ts moved on. But their debut is pure pop for now people and "Good Lovin'" the song still thrills. The record's not all genius by any means - but the better stuff is (if you'll forgive the pun) groovy and groovin'...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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