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Monday, June 17, 2024

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Rascals will be Groovin’ at Sixties Concert

 

By Jack Fichter

When The Rascals started their string of hit records in 1965, radio was being dominated by the British Invasion, yet the Rascals were as American as Brooklyn, baseball and cheeseburgers.
The band, led by Felix Cavaliere, will be part of the Sensational Sixties Concert in Wildwood April 25.
The band’s half dozen or so hits including “A Beautiful Morning,” “Groovin,” “Good Lovin’” and “People Just Got to Be Free,” also became rock n’ roll classics with the soulful voice of Cavaliere.
His first instrument was piano, coming from a classical music tradition, before switching to the Hammond B3 organ. Cavaliere said rhythm and blues (R&B) music spoke to him.
“I don’t know if it was the emotion or the tonal quality, certainly there is a sweetness in the voices,” he said.
Cavaliere said he wanted to achieve the depth of the vocal performances he heard in R&B music. He said he remembers watching shows staged by New York DJ Alan Freed at the beginning of the rock n’ roll era and listening to Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Marvin Gaye and The Flamingoes on WINS Radio.
“I found out the word “production” from people like Phil Spector and Barry Gordy…” he said. “And then I learned about how people actually write their own songs, I think Dylan was the first one I remember writing his own songs.”
A common misconception about the band’s name is it came from the “Little Rascals” films that featured Spanky and Alfalfa.
Cavaliere said the name actually came from comedian Soupy Sales who had a popular TV show and a hit record with a song called “The Mouse.”
Cavaliere said his band offered to become Sales’ backup band. Sales referred to the guys in the band as rascals and the name stuck.
The Rascals other signature song “Good Lovin’ was propelled by drummer Dino Danelli who Cavaliere calls one of the finest drummers with whom he has worked. Danelli was left-handed drummer who played his set as a right-handed drummer and had a background in New Orleans funk and New York jazz, he said.
The Rascals started in New Jersey with two of the band’s original members from this state, Danelli and Eddie Brigati.
Based in Nashville, Tn., Cavaliere said he looked forward to kicking off his summer tour in Wildwood.

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