Felix Cavaliere was the blue-eyed soul singer of one of the America's finest groups of the 1960s, The Young Rascals.
Felix being of Italian heritage is probably brown eyed.
Blue-eyed soul is a term used to describe white singers who sing rhythm and blues and soul music or pop and rock and roll in a black soul style.
The Young Rascals were at their best, and best known for their, danceable blue-eyed soul pop songs but they extended themselves and could do anything (and even had hits) whilst dabbling in other styles, garage rock, am pop, psychedelic rock, gospel, jazz, Latin, and Eastern, music.
They were kids who grew up in New York and their roots were in the New York area twist and bar bands of the early 1960s. It was about dancing and keeping the customer's happy. As they got older, they weren't adverse to sticking a message, a mood, or a whole philosophical meditation in the music but they did always reverted to the bottom line which is: keeping up with the times and keeping the customer satisfied.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, you have to pay the bills.
They had their ear to the ground, or rather to the airwaves and kept it tuneful but the hits stopped.
The band broke up in 1972.
Cavaliere embarked on a solo career.
Felix Cavaliere was born in 1942. Allmusic, "Cavaliere studied classical piano as a child and joined the Stereos in his hometown of Pelham, NY, before attending Syracuse University, where he formed the Escorts. He then moved to New York City and got his professional start as a backup musician for Sandy Scott and later Joey Dee & the Starliters. Other future members of the Young Rascals were also in the Starliters, and the group was launched with performances in the New York metropolitan area during 1965. They were signed to Atlantic Records and began releasing records by the end of the year. From then through 1969, the Rascals were one of the biggest groups in the country, their hits including the Cavaliere-sung "Good Lovin'," "Groovin'," "A Girl Like You," "A Beautiful Morning," and "People Got to Be Free," as they evolved from blue-eyed soul (a term coined to describe them) to psychedelic pop and jazz fusion. Their fortunes declined thereafter, and they disbanded in 1972. Cavaliere then went solo and has since released several solo albums without matching the group's commercial appeal".
"Castles in the Air" was his fourth solo album.
1979 was not a good year for singers from the 1960s looking to maintain careers. Disco was the order of the day for black music, soft rock was the order of the music for white music.
And here Cavaliere has embraced both.
Having said that there is exceptional disco music and there is some exceptional soft rock music.
This is neither and even if it was I need very little of both to keep me happy.
This is anticipates all that bad soundtrack music to bland Hollywood erotic thrillers of the early to mid 80s. Luckily the full synth hasn't kicked in but it is creeping in.
The saving grace is Cavaliere's voice. He could write a tune or two but his voice was his real gift.
And, you can put this record on and it can lull you into a (sort of) happy state, though there is no substance here, and, maybe even a little rot. You feel like one of the "The Stepford Wives", manipulated, screwed but empty happy.
It perfectly explains the emerging popularity of punk though.
Produced by Felix Cavliere and Cengiz Yalykaya.
Tracks (best in italics)
- Good To Have Love Back – (Felix Cavaliere) – this is hard going
- Only a Lonely Heart Sees – (Felix Cavaliere – Jay Tran) – this is marginally better but well sung by Felix.
- All or Nothing – (Felix Cavaliere) – hmmm, he shouldn't give us those options.
- Castles In the Air – (Felix Cavaliere) –
- People Got To Be Free – (Felix Cavaliere – Eddie Brigati) – A cover of a Rascals #1 from 1968 from their "Freedom Suite" album. A great track in its original form this is a pointless but at least it's a muscular cover.
- Dancin' the Night Away Felix Cavaliere) – white disco anyone? Comes with the "Star Wars" ping, ping space shots. Or was it "Battlestar Gallactica"?
- Love Is the First Day of Spring -( Eddie Brigati – Felix Cavaliere) – This is better and moves into Frankie Valli territory.
- Outside Your Window – (Felix Cavaliere – Dan Beck – Willie Young) – a toe tapper
- Don't Hold Back Your Love – (Felix Cavaliere) – hmmmm, again.
- You Turned Me Around – (Felix Cavaliere) – This is 100% fluff but Felix sings the hell out of this.
This is hard going. I don't have enough soft rock come disco in my collection and I do like Cavaliere … I'm keeping it, grudgingly, to fill out The Rascals collection.
1980 Only A Lonely Heart Sees Adult Contemporary #2
1980 Only A Lonely Heart Sees The Billboard Hot 100 #36
Good To Have Love Back
Only a Lonely Heart Sees
All or Nothing
Castles In the Air
People Got To Be Free
Dancin' the Night Away
Love Is the First Day of Spring
Outside Your Window
Don't Hold Back Your Love
You Turned Me Around
- Band line up: Felix Cavaliere (lead vocals, Fender Rhodes, Oberheim, Hammond Organ, Piano) / Hiram Bullock (guitars – except on track 7) / Steve Jordan (drums) / Vinnie Cusano (guitars on track 3 and 7, provides guitar solo on track 9)/ Background vocals by : Luther Vandross, Yvonne Lewis, Annie Sutton, Dennis Collins, Eddie Brigati, David Brigati, Davis Lasley, Lynn Pitney, Arnold McCuller, Diva Gray.
- Vinnie Vincent was later in KISS 1982-1984
- This was a Rascals mini-reunion of sorts with David and Eddie Brigiatti providing backing vocals on three of the songs.