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THE YOUNG RASCALS
A song has haunted me for a day and a half. Certainly not a new song: it is more than fifty years old because it dates from the mid-sixties, 1966 to be precise. It's called Good Loving and the accompanying band went through as the Young Rascals, later turned into The Rascals for quite obvious reasons. With Good Loving they had their first big hit in America.
Every now and then I search Youtube for these kinds of memories. Then I came across this:
They were never really big in the Netherlands. They had some nice hits: People Got to Be Free and Groovin ', but that was it. At the time, I made my own chart every week, but almost every single released by this American band was good for me. Tracks like Come On Up, Too Many Fish In the Sea, Lonely Too Long, You Better Run, Ain't Gonna Eat Out my Heart Anymore, but also the rather musical-like (but what a beautiful song) waltz How Can I Be Sure, and some more songs that I still like to hear. Blue-eyed soul was called the music style. For lack of better I can join that.
The Rascals consisted of four men. And when you watch the clip, you come to the striking conclusion that the band did not have a bass guitarist. In what I could find on Youtube dating from that time ('65 -'68), the four of them just played. Live and on the first album vocalist / organist Felix Cavaliere played organ bass pedals in any case, later they started using the bass guitar.
Why am I writing this? Because that song has been haunting me for over a day and I wonder why. Is it a special song? Well, actually not, very contagious - but the chord progression is extremely simple and based on the famous La Bamba. (Cavaliere once co-starred with Ringo Star's all-star band and effortlessly switched from Good Loving to La Bamba and back on that show where they played the song.) But what the Rascals did with it I found and still think is amazing.
Who are / were the (Young) Rascals? First, there is therefore Felix Cavaliere. His ripping, howling and roaring Hammond organ made Good Loving a first-class rock song. Felix was also the lead singer of the band, and with its thousands of recognizable sound Good Loving became an energetic soul song at the same time (but without blazers). Drummer Dino Danelli provided the driving and playful drive with unmistakable South American influence from the original - his playing is midway between Keith Moon and Gene Krupa. You could say Danelli also had a curiously colderic appearance - a kind of mr. Bean on speed behind the drums, who agilatedly rotated the drumsticks during the counting rest. Gene Cornish was on that guitar, held almost to his shoulder, not so striking but oh so functional. Finally Eddie Brigati, who as a musician (he mainly played tambourine and maracas) might not have been indispensable, but he was also a co-writer of many of their hits. In the beginning the whole was completed by now extremely clownish clothing, which turned out to be very decisive for their image. With those short ties, white blouses with round collars and breeches and tights, the band looked like a kind of old boarding school kids.
The question is, however, if this song came out now - you can hardly imagine it - would I be just as excited? Or is my enthusiasm triggered by nostalgia? What exactly is it that touches me? At the time of this clip, the Rascals were between 22 and 25 years old, so no musicians with years of experience, but there is a stupid band. Is it the youthful energy, almost hubris, that bursts from this performance that completely blows you away? I think so. Of course, the song is infectious and you can only sit still with difficulty. But youth, that is something, no matter how good you are, fifty years later, for that reason alone, you cannot do or match it. As an aging musician, you may be more proficient in your instrument, and at some point you can (or should you) go into depth for compensation - but that is difficult with Good Loving, because that song doesn't lend itself to that at all. Despite the somewhat worrisome text, in which the doctor's I-person is told that only love helps against all his ailments, it is here that it is a joy and joy. It did then, and it still does. And with the knowledge and years of today, perhaps even more than before.
The Rascals have now all passed over seventy. They did some reunion tours at the beginning of this decade with a still very good voice Caveliere - of course in a luxurious, extensive line-up - but I think it is now done for good with the band. We cherish the still existing recordings, and watch and listen to them, especially with amazement and thinking: is that already half a century ago?