is the first in a long string of dopey album titles that I’m sure caused the group’s reputation some damage (isn’t this just one 'collection'), and the release is something of a mixed bag style-wise.
The group at its most ambitious is working on highly-polished pop, but about half the album is more live-in-the-studio recordings of their stage act, with covers from the poppier side of R&B, like Motown. Both sides of the group are fantastic though, and it’s fascinating to hear the transition in progress.
Brigati gets in two ballads, and both are incredible examples of a really tight band at work. "Since I Fell for You" finds The Rascals building slowly, changing tempos on a dime, bursting into rocking mode, then dropping back out. Danelli's particularly good with the delicate cymbal work. And "More" is a luscious melody that allows Brigati to show off his warm throaty tone, while Cavaliere contributes another brilliant solo (notice how he gets the organ to shimmer with judicious use of the Leslie cabinet).
The rockers are aimed squarely at the dance floor, and don’t fail on that count. A nice touch in "Mickey’s Monkey" is when Cavaliere substitutes Brigati's name for the protagonist, and the medley into "Love Lights" lets Brigati show off his uptempo work, which is as powerful as Cavaliere's.
"Land of 1000 Dances" is oddly arranged - it doesn’t feature any verses, just a few repetitions of a chorus as the band gets louder and louder (by the end it sounds like Cavaliere is playing with all ten fingers and maybe a nose!) - but it’s a tremendous effect, like the stereo’s about to blow up!
by Reviewer: Steve Knowlton
(blogging at Steve's Record Reviews