Freedom Suite by The Rascals

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Freedom Suite by The Rascals
Freedom Suite by The Rascals

Album Released: 1969

Freedom Suite ::: Artwork

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1.America The Beautiful2:50
2.Me And My Friends2:42
3.Any Dance'll Do2:19
4.Look Around3:03
5.Ray Of Hope3:40
6.Island Of Love2:22
7.Of Course2:40
8.Love Was So Easy To Give2:42
9.People Got To Be Free3:02
10.Bab I'm Blue2:47
12.Adrian's Birthday4:46


1968 was not a good year for peace and liberty. The Tet Offensive was a major setback for the forces fighting to keep South Vietnam out of the clutches of Communist tyranny; Communism also ruthlessly clamped down on the Prague Spring; student radicals sparked a general strike that shut down the economy of France; Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated; race riots raged throughout America’s cities; and George Wallace got 10 million votes for president (13% of the total) on a blatant segregationist platform.

In the middle of all that, The Rascals put out a single that topped the charts for five weeks that summer - not only for its musical virtues, which include a powerful pushing beat, an exquisite horn line that whips the bridge into a frenzy, an organ line that appears at exactly the right time to complement the melody, and another great combination of Cavaliere’s passionate lead and the Brigatis’ soulful backing vocals - but also because its title distilled all the commotion into one simple phrase: "People Got to Be Free". I admit it's my all-time favorite song, so you’re not going to get an objective review from me. The fierce joy embodied in the song - inspired by an abstract principle that actually makes lives better - moves me to tears sometimes, and never fails to give me goose bumps.

At the end of that tumultuous year, The Rascals put together an album to complement the hit, and it follows through on the themes of the single. With the true spirit of inclusiveness, the band never point fingers or name names - in fact, they rarely even call out a problem without simultaneously calling out its solution. And because the group was working at the peak of their musical powers, it’s all gloriously uplifting.

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by Reviewer: Steve Knowlton (blogging at Steve's Record Reviews)

For once, The Rascals do almost everything right - they ditched the Brigati crooner material, most of the psychedelia, and the gimmicks. Instead, this album is one soul track after another, often with themes concerning equality, as typified by the hit "People Got to Be Free".

Sure, most of this stuff sounds like Motown, but that isn't a bad thing, it's just that there's not much by way of innovation - Cavaliere and Brigati do an interesting reworking of "America the Beautiful", and "Of Course" features something like a wah-wah electric piano - but the band's focus is a decent trade-off after Once Upon a Dream.

If the band had restricted this to just one LP instead of a double, Freedom Suite may've been their strongest album - a socially conscious soul release with mass appeal. But the second LP, subtitled Music Music, cashes up some of that goodwill - it's consists of either the band playing around and keeping the results, or it's an attempt to demonstrate their technical skills for critics ...

The second LP's first side has a bluesy jam, entitled "Adrian's Birthday" (for engineer Adrian Barber), and has a Super Session-lite feel. Danelli's "Boom" occupies the rest of the side, and - listener beware - it's a drum solo. A long drum solo. Aside from Cavaliere, Danelli was The Rascals' strongest musician, and he could probably outplay almost any other East Coast drummer from his era, without being flashy. Still, a drum solo is a trial of patience, and the best that can be said is this one is not corrosive.

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by Reviewer: Obscurity (blogging at Obscurity!)