The (Young) Rascals had a very simple concept: play soul/Motown/R&B as a band, keep the vocal harmonies, but add a bit more rock to the sound.
Granted, the band continually did other things, but I like to think of them more as indulgences: singer Eddie Brigati has his neo-crooner songs, and guitarist Gene Cornish has a pile of mediocre folk and pop songs scattered throughout the band's catalog. However, their basic sound remained the same: Felix Cavaliere leading the band on either organ or piano, and then often his soul baritone singing lead.
For good soul music, you need good singers, and Cavaliere and Brigati were good. Musically the band was a little weak though - Cornish's guitar work is nothing special, though Cavaliere and drummer Dino Danelli were pretty good (they had no bassist). Brigati didn't play an instrument, but did write most of the band's lyrics, so that was his role.
Even if they weren't technical wizards, The Rascals did have the benefit of being tight in their early days, although their drift towards lighter poppier music brought in session players that diminished that somewhat. The band is also notable for their interest in race relations and equality, which started to crop up on their albums in the late-60's.
You will notice that I constantly award low ratings for the band's albums. The reason for that is simple ... early on the band didn't write much of their own material, and their work is highly uneven. Then, when they started to crank out their own material, the quality began to suffer a bit. And their albums were always watered down by a bunch of mediocre songs, self-written or otherwise.
by Reviewer: Obscurity
(blogging at Obscurity!