The Rascals

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The final album the Rascals released on Atlantic in 1970 is perhaps a bittersweet memory for the band's members, and indeed certainly is for their die-hard fans. Its pluses included some of the best (if under-recognized) songs Felix Cavaliere had ever written, including the brilliant, rocking gospel number "I Believe," with vocal backing by the Sweet Inspirations. It also included the gutbucket gospel-ized funk of "Right On," with a smoking horn chart by Arif Mardin. Gene Cornish wrote one of his better songs, a the straight up rocker "You Don't Know." And Eddie Brigati turned in a stellar vocal performance on a cover of the Box Tops hit "The Letter." And "Ready for Love" is one of the most consistently jazzed-up soul groovers (with a smoking Hubert Laws flute break) that the band had turned in since "Groovin." But there was sadness too: for starters, Brigati left the group before the album was released and is not pictured on the back cover. And then there were the sales or, more accurately, the lack of them: the album barely scraped the bottom of the Top 200, and the singles, "Glory Glory" (with the Sweet Inspirations as well as a beautiful vocal solo by Cissy Houston), never got into the Top 40, but it was a positive note upon which to close the Rascals' relationship with the label. There are some really uneven moments here, but there are some stellar ones as well, and no serious fan of the Rascals should be without at least half the cuts here. In fact, in many ways, this is a stronger effort than See had been. The Rascals issued just two more records after this for Columbia. Gene Cornish left the group before the release of 1971's Peaceful World, and Cavaliere and Dino Danelli finally parted company after Island of Real appeared in 1972.

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