This 1967 Young Rascals album (their third) sounds like a heavy soul band effortlessly playing pop—not a pop band attempting to play soulful R&B. As much as they’d mastered white soul and R&B, The Young Rascals had evolved under the songwriting of keyboardist Felix Cavaliere and singer Eddie Brigati. That’s evidenced here on the hit singles, which include the suitably titled “Groovin’,” the killer, brass-drenched “A Girl Like You,” and the slow-stinging (and often covered) “How Can I Be Sure.” By now they’d begun to explore West Coast psychedelia too (listen to the raga guitar drone in “Find Somebody”), while “You Better Run” blends scrappy psych with Southern soul to create a stunner of a rock ’n’ roll side (later covered by Pat Benatar). “If You Knew” is pure soul-pop bolstered by Gene Cornish’s cool Kinks-y riff and drummer Dino Danelli’s perpetual groove. There’s even folk with some Latin percussion (“I Don’t Love You Anymore”) and a wink at Motown (Stevie Wonder’s classic “A Place in the Sun”). It’s a wholly essential album for any fan of '60s music or rock ’n’ roll in general.

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