Simultaneously elevated and bypassed by the artistically prolific year in which it was released, the Young Rascals' Groovin' remains high-water mark of a collective Rolling Stone boldly proclaimed "the blackest white group of all" in 1970. Home to three Top 10 singles and a diverse array of pop music in step with the era's exploratory creativity, the set belongs aside the Beatles' Sgt. Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band, Love's Forever Changes, Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow, and 1967's other pioneering recordings. Particularly now that it boasts definitive sonics.
Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs believes that mastering systems should be neutral and transparent. The essential idea is to unveil all the detailed musical information on the original master recording without adding deterioration, colouration or other sonic artefacts.
With proprietary innovations such as GAIN 2™, general music enthusiasts and audiophiles alike have reaped the benefit of a higher consumer audio standard without investing in costly new hardware.
A1: A Girl Like You
A2: Find Somebody
B1: I'm So Happy Now
B3: How Can I Be Sure
C2: If You Knew
C3: I Don't Love You Anymore
C4: You Better Run
D1: A Place In The Sun
D2: It's Love
D3: A Beautiful Morning (Bonus Track)
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on dead-quiet vinyl at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's numbered-edition 180g 45RPM 2LP of Groovin' presents the album in fully restored mono. In addition, the painstakingly produced restoration includes "A Beautiful Morning," an early 1968 million-selling hit that reached the third spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and debuted as the first release under the band's then-newly truncated Rascals name. Blue-eyed soul and innocuous optimism have rarely sounded more contagious than on this audiophile-grade reissue.
Expertly portraying the quartet's unmistakable harmonies, the reissue captures the deep-seated personality and effortless melodies that seemingly occupy every passage. Reflecting the playfulness of the cover art, the members demonstrate a cohesiveness, chemistry, and charm made vividly apparent via the newly uncovered detail, airiness, and tonalities. Benefiting from the focus, immersion, and accuracy unique to mono, and free of any artificial panning or effects, Mobile Fidelity's edition lets the songs breathe and expand. Notes blossom and decay, voices rise and fall, and the craftsmanship of the arrangements emerges with revealing clarity. Long overlooked due to the dozens of other landmarks issued in the pivotal year, Groovin' now firmly earns its place in history as a masterwork.
Look no further than the opening "A Girl Like You," commandeered by Felix Cavaliere's confident singing and skated along by peppy jazz-rock architecture marked by exuberant horns, lilting piano lines, and splashing rhythms. Or "How Can I Be Sure," on which Eddie Brigati takes the vocal lead over a waltzing pattern that conveys joyousness, rumination, and the rollercoaster ups/downs that accompany the initial stages of a relationship. Brigati also does the honours on the reflective, subdued, albeit optimistic Motown cover "A Place in the Sun," while he and Cavaliere share the lead on "If You Knew," a strolling ditty underlined by a subtle, swift bass line.
Of course, no piece on Groovin' remains more celebrated or recognized than the smash title track – part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's collection of 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. As birds chirp and congas echo, the Young Rascals paint a picture of bliss, with R&B harmonies and a laidback harmonica whisking the listener to ecstasy. The original B-side, the Latin-inspired "Sueno," further puts the foursome's vocal aptitude on display. Sonically and lyrically ("I have been flying high above reality"; "Only thing needed is someone to come along and trip along with me"), it hints at the psychedelic experimentation the group would soon embrace to its detriment.
Indeed, Groovin' steers clear of any indulgence or falseness, wrapping its metaphorical arms around on the colours, moods, and possibilities of the age. Here, upbeat soul ("I'm So Happy Now") coexists with persuasive garage rock ("Find Somebody") and energized, fuzz-toned nuggets ("You Better Run") that prove the Young Rascals had their ears to the ground in both the States and England. In practically every way, it is thoroughly 1967 – and a quintessential part of any music library.
GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ is a proprietary cutting system built and designed by legendary design genius Tim De Paravicini, with consultation from one of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's founding fathers - Stan Ricker, an audio engineer responsible for many of MFSL's most heralded past releases.
The GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system is comprised of a Studer™ tape machine with customised reproduction electronics* and handcrafted cutting amps that drive an Ortofon cutting head on a restored Neumann VMS-70 lathe. (*It is worth noting that independent studies have confirmed that the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system can unveil sonic information all the way up to 122kHz!)
First and foremost, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs only utilise first generation original master recordings as source material for their releases. MFSL then play back master tapes at half speed enabling the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system to fully extract the master's sonic information. The lacquers are then plated in a specialised process that protects transients in the musical signal. (Due to this process, there may be occasional pops or ticks inherent in initial play back, but as the disc is played more, a high quality stylus will actually polish the grooves and improve the sound). MFSL further ensure optimum sound quality by strictly limiting the number of pressings printed for each release. These limited editions, in addition to being collectors' items, ensure that the quality of the last pressing matches the quality of the first.
Art Direction – Heather Harris
Artwork [Cover Illustration] – Lynn Rubin
Artwork [Cover Photo] – Dino Danelli
Backing Vocals [Vocal Background Effects] – Dave Brigati
Design [Original Cover Design] – Loring Eutemey
Drums – Dino Danelli
Engineer [Recording] – Chris Huston, Tom Dowd
Mastered By – Krieg Wunderlich
Vocals, Guitar, Bass – Gene Cornish
Vocals, Percussion – Eddie Brigati
Vocals, Piano, Organ – Felix Cavaliere
Mastered by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab on the GAIN 2 ULTRA ANALOG SYSTEM.
Label: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab – MFSL 2-503, Atlantic – MFSL 2-503
Series: Original Master Recording, Gain 2™ Ultra Analog 45RPM 180g Series
Format: 2 x Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM, Album, Limited Edition, Numbered, Reissue, Remastered, Mono, Gatefold 180g
Genre: Rock, Funk / Soul, Pop
Style: Pop Rock, Vocal, Soul