The Young Rascals – Groovin’ (1967): On Second Thought

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Formed 1965 in Garfield, New Jersey, the Young Rascals featured vocalist Eddie Brigati, vocalist and keyboardist Felix Cavaliere, vocalist, guitarist and bassist Gene Cornish and drummer Dino Danelli. Slaying crowds with electrifying live shows, the band quickly became the toast of the town, and it was only a matter of minutes before such energy and excitement would be transferred onto vinyl.

The Young Rascals certainly did make an immediate impact on a widespread scale, nabbing a pair of hits in 1966 with the rollicking organ-driven “Good Lovin'” (which rocketed all the way to No. 1) and the stomping hard rock of “You Better Run” that cracked the Top 25. Early 1967 saw the band garner subsequent success, as the soul popping “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long” soared to the No. 16 spot on the national charts.

Groovin’, the Young Rascals’ third album, raised their profile even higher. Not only did the disc produce further hot-selling singles, but revealed tremendous artistic growth. Although the Young Rascals were already tuned in and tight, Groovin’ (Atlantic Records) dispensed a new-found sense of maturity and sophistication.

Climbing to No. 1 in the spring of 1967, the title track of the album strolled casually alongside rippling waves of Caribbean-flavored rhythms. Soulful and sensuous, “Groovin'” articulated the joy of “groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon” in vivid splendor.

Peaking at No. 10 that summer, “A Girl Like You” glistened with buoyancy. The gorgeous power ballad “How Can I Be Sure,” which crooned to a jazzy big-band tenor, then clocked in at No. 4 the following September. (The stand-alone single “It’s Wonderful,” anchored by a zesty clip and the band’s signature stellar harmonies, also clasped the Top 20 at the tail end of the year.)

At the time Groovin’ was recorded, a riot of revolutionary sounds raided the radio dial, and portions of the album reflected the adventurous atmosphere. Absorbing and assimilating these surrounding influences, the Young Rascals brought their own industrious ideas to the table. As examples, the Spanish-scented “Sueno” entails looping psychedelic effects, where “Find Somebody” is dimpled with the piercing bite of a sitar.

Exuding personality and professionalism, Groovin’ portrays the Young Rascals moving forward, yet still staying true to their poppy blue-eyed soul origins. The band’s perfectly pitched vocals and in-the-pocket musicianship are simply amplified in spades throughout the album.

Following the release of Groovin’, Cavaliere and company shortened their name to the Rascals. More great music was to be had, right up until they dispersed in the early ’70s. But as far as albums go, the melodic songcraft, crisp arrangements and positive vibes found here make Groovin’ their master stroke.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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