Last night, I was listening to the 12-12-12 telecast for Hurricane Sandy relief. Among the many acts featured were such sixties heavyweights as The Rolling Stones, The Who, and of course Sir Paul McCartney. It got me thinking about what an incredible time the sixties were for pop music. As proven by the wildly influential Nuggets collection, there were literally hundreds of bands wailing away in garages and basements, waiting for their one big break that would propel them to superstardom, playing shows at Madison Square Garden well into their seventies. Unfortunately for the vast majority of these bands, that never panned out. The hit didn't get the right ears, didn't get the radio play, the bass player dropped out, the band broke up. They fizzled out and died, like a can of soda that's been left out on the counter for too long.
I swear to God, based on this collection of songs by the Rationals, these guys could well have been the Rolling Stones. The story here is not complicated, four guys from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Two guitarists, a bass player and a drummer. Playing a collection of Chicago blues standards, as well as northern, blue-eyed soul from across the pond.
This stuff is just vicious. What sets the Rationals apart from most of their garage-rocking ilk is the incredibly soulful lead vocals delivered by frontman Scott Morgan. Check out the soul on the track, Temptation 'Bout to Get Me, the intricate guitar play on Sunset, and the spirited cover of Howlin' Wolf's classic Smokestack Lighting. This band was legit.
It's a shame that they didn't make it big, I would've much rather listened to them than watch Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend wade through a half an hour of half-baked Who songs.
Roger, Pete, guys, if you're reading this, retire.