Search and Nearness by The Rascals

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Search and Nearness by The Rascals
Search and Nearness by The Rascals

Album Released: 1971

Search and Nearness ::: Artwork

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1.Right On3:46
2.I Believe3:55
3.Thank You Baby3:09
4.You Don't Know4:10
6.Almost Home3:49
7.The Letter4:07
8.Ready For Love4:07
10.Glory Glory3:30


A title like Search and Nearness, from a band who dedicated their last album to the ‘divine inspiration of Sri Yogananda Paramahansa’, creates the impression that it’s going to be some cosmic sludge. Perhaps that’s why no one bought it (else the fact that it came out a year and a half after their last album, an eon in the pop scene of the late-60's).

But it's actually another ten tracks of the same quality pop/soul The Rascals had been giving their audience for half a decade. Unfortunately, while the performances are all great, some of the songwriting’s somewhat less inspired.

Search and Nearness is the break-up album (though the band's name got tagged onto another couple of discs, but The Rascals without Eddie Brigati isn’t really The Rascals). Brigati and Danelli sang most of their parts (though a Gospel trio subs for them on a couple numbers), but the band had a falling out over something (sources vary, citing either money or ill will among members) and Brigati left during the course of the recording sessions.

So the group photo inside the jacket shows Cavaliere, Cornish, Danelli, and an empty pair of shoes. But since the Cavaliere-Brigati songwriting team had already split, Brigati's departure doesn’t make a big difference to the sound, but the sorry state-of-affairs ends the group’s story on a sour note (Cornish’s "Away Away" and "Remember Me" on the last album could be interpreted as comments on the pending split).

The album is pleasant and offers plenty of great music, but nothing as refreshingly original as in the past. Instead of creating a unique hybrid of styles, the group falls into mimicing the trends of the day. So "You Don’t Know" is country/soul in the Joe South vein (although Danelli pumps it up with a near-disco hi-hat/bass drum shimmer); "Fortunes" is straight acid/rock; and "Almost Home" is mellow soul similar to Carole King. A big disappointment is the band's cover of "The Letter", which lacks propulsion.

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

Search and Nearness was The Rascals' farewell album, to both Brigati, and to Atlantic Records.

Again narrowing the band's sound, Cavaliere relaxed the music in keeping with the times, adding some Gospel touches on "I Believe" and "Glory Glory", and wah-wah guitar making a belated appearance on "Right On" and "Fortunes". His lyrics have also shifted, largely abandoning social statements or the mystical ("I Believe" is an exception), instead settling for the warm afterglow of the era.

The result is an album which is less intense, but still drawn from the old sources , and - in the case of "Almost Home", and the bluesy "Thank You Baby" - more generic. The funny thing is that Cornish's guitar style is well-suited to such a shift, even if he still lumbers about below competency.

Cornish's lone contribution is the vaguely country-ish "You Don't Know", which utilizes the same intervals made famous by The Allman Brothers, but has some pretty crappy lyrics. The song is also one of only three songs to which Brigati contributed lead vocals, the others being Danelli's "Fortunes", an exercise in nonsensical post-hippy optimism, and a surprisingly serious and dramatic version of The Box Tops' "The Letter".

Nothing really grabs though, so the album's best track turns out to be a Jazz instrumental - Danelli's "Nama" - which is a nice platform for his soloing in 7/4 time.

Lots of bands (The Rascals included) had done the slower soul thing by this time, and Cavaliere's better songs - "I Believe", "Thank You Baby", and "Glory Glory" - wouldn't beat out even See's finer tracks. And just like preceding releases, Search and Nearness failed to sell, peaking with the lowly chart position of No.198.

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by Reviewer: Obscurity (blogging at Obscurity!)