Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mod boys

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 12:00 AM

These Ann Arbor working-class dandies had a penchant for Brit invasion and Yankee soul that even foreshadowed town-mates the Stooges on the rock 'n' roll tip, and, to a certain extent, the hugely mainstream Rascals on the national soul-pop tip. The Rationals simultaneously embraced, and then smashed, the veneer of Carnaby Street-attired rocker 'n' rollers (bowler hats, natch!); their gloriously unkempt 'dos and harmonies had the perfect sexual tension for little girls while the blue-eyed, twin-guitar soul kicked out the noisy template to make boys shout. 

See, the Rationals had it all, from scorching spins of Brill Building pop ("Hold on Baby") to Detroit-via-the Who ("Leavin' Here" — Pearl Jam's take, it's said, is based on this version) to Otis Redding ("Respect" – which, you'll note, predates and slays the Aretha version) to self-penned, shoulda-been hits ("Someday"). But having it all and pop stardom are most often mutually exclusive (just ask band head Scott Morgan), and aside from a lone regional hit, these teen hullabaloos floundered in relative obscurity. 

But an increasing international Rationals fanbase of crate diggers, songwriters, DJs and music lovers has lived long enough without a Rationals collection, and this lovely, anecdote-rich two-disc set has them creaming. It documents with sharp-eyed precision the band's most productive four years (1965-1968) on A Square, Cameo/Parkway and Capitol. The set is primed with the glorious singles, the outtakes and the B-sides, cutting off before the band's only LP. Think Rational! is essential din then for any fan of blue-eyed soul, pure rock 'n' roll and garage, much less aficionados of Mitten-made music.

Scott Morgan plays the music of the Rationals on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555. Morgan's band will feature Jeremy Wheeler of the Bang!, Chris "Box" Taylor of Powertrane, Eddie Baranek of the Sights, Dave Shettler of SSM, and Jim Diamond of Ghetto Recorders. Doors at 9:30 p.m.

Brian Smith is the features editor of Metro Times. Send comments to bsmith@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 9, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation