The Rascals – People Got to Be Free (written by F. Cavaliere and E. Brigati and arranged by Arif Mardin and produced by The Rascals)
It’s really hard for me to find a song by The Rascals that I don’t like. I’m overwhelmed by their soulfully sincere lyrics and their arrangements. Any group that sings in rounds or over each other I just adore. I’ve already played this one track four times just reviewing it because it’s too moving.
It was a difficult choice between “People Got to Be Free” and the “A Beautiful Morning”/”Rainy Day” singles that we have. I’m quite excited that we picked up the Platoon and The Big Chill soundtracks which both have The Rascals tracks, but back to this song. I chose it in lieu of recent polarizing world events, i.e. Charlie Hebdo and Boko Haram in Nigeria etc., and its poetic message of empowerment. With hints of R&B, soul, folk, and classical arrangements, “People Got to Be Free” is a well-rounded song for many occasions.
Whether you just want to groove to a classic hit or put a soundtrack on your freedom protest videos, The Rascals have created one of my favorite tunes that is about an urgent, currently relevant and depressing topic while still maintaining a positive vibe. I never really thought about who might be my favorite Motown act, but I’ve decided it’s The Rascals as they’re kind of an underdog from that record company and often forgotten by new-age collectors like ourselves. Just because somebody has a few crates of easy to find and seemingly random records doesn’t make one an audiophile or a music connoisseur or even necessarily hip to the program.
All I’m asking is that you don’t forget about The Rascals this upcoming Black History Month, because they are amazing. When I found out that Frank’s daughter was near to cataloguing their singles, I specifically had her put them aside.
– Mr. Richard
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