The Rationals: Anthology (1964-70, US Garage)


Out of Ann Arbor, this was one of Michigan's top sixties bands. Essentially an R&B outfit, they often covered popular songs and Respect was actually a minor U.S. hit in late 1966 after it was leased to Cameo Parkway for nationwide distribution. They signed to the Crewe label for an album, which may become a minor collectors' item before long.

When serious collectors compose lists of the top shoulda-been-bigger bands of the '60s, the Rationals are often among them. Coming out of the same Ann Arbor, MI scene that gave birth to the MC5 and the Stooges, the group's forte was a sort of garageish take on blue-eyed soul, built around the fine R&B-hued vocals of frontman Scott Morgan. Their mid-'60s singles, however, didn't break in many areas outside of Michigan (where they had some big local hits), and by the time they got to record an album, they had long passed their peak.

The Rationals actually predated the MC5/Stooges by quite some time, both chronologically and stylistically. When they began recording for the local A2 label in 1965, they were, like many garage bands, heavily influenced by the British Invasion, although they gave their material a more soulful flavor than most similar units.

The Rationals broke up in the summer of 1970. Morgan continued to build his cult credentials over the next 25 years on sporadic recordings with Sonic's Rendezvous Band (which also featured the MC5's Fred Smith), the Scott Morgan Band, and Scot's Pirates.

A 21 compilation of this frat-garage band, one of the most complete recordings ever released of this band. Coming from Michigan, they were partner of MC5 and the Stooges, they broke up in 1970. There was a reissue of a live album of the band, but never this ofiacilly a compilation, so here you have it. Dig it. Some modern-garage sounds of 68/69/70 period, great instrumentation using some wind instruments and great background sounds.
A lot of mix here! for example you´ll find a soft balad like "ha-ha" and in the other hand you have the wild "turn on (Danbys)", "leaving here", and the rare-good cover of Aretha F. "respect" ! . Also the Kinks song "I need you" (alt. take), also... an obscure cover of "Gloria". Something quite odd for a garage band, the "sing" song with some girls vocals, (also in "cut in the street"). Yeah...something to sleep/dream too, "Deep Red", "glowing" and "handbags and..."
For those rare-garage-hunters this will blow your heads off.

Buy their live album (Tempation 'bout to Get Me)



Pablo "Pochola" Cazorla said...


henry said...

"look what you've done", man - put up another killer band i never heard of, but i think i'm gonna like. they do a really good version GLORIA, that's for certain. gotta get some free time next week (i hope) to listen to it all, but the tracks i sampled are just outasite. bravo pablo, another gem on the loose. take care. this was worth the wait.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this album. Never heard it before.

StevenK said...

Great album! Thanks so much!


Anonymous said...

Gracias Pablo! (se me pasó...) :)


Anonymous said...

My respection for this really fantastic beat band!

honkBoy said...

A favorite from the Michigan suburbs in days gone by - Thanks

Anonymous said...

Is there anything on this compilation that is from their mid 60's "blue eyed soul" period that was not released on a single? Better yet, is there a track list anywhere for this comp?

This is an excellent blog, and thank you very much for posting. I had pretty much given up on hearing some of these rare recordings.

Pablo"Pochola"Cazorla said...

I dont have the tracklist here, check it if you get it.
tracks are with the info.

Miles said...

thank you pablo. a great, great band that should have gotten more attention. i appreciate being able to hear the singles collection.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, I grew up in the mid 60's with the Rationals!

A great blue eyed soul band with a few local hit singles and always working the sock hops. They were one of those bands that you knew all the songs in their set from the repetition of seeing them.

They wore the same suits, traveled to gigs in a van with their name on it, and often appeared on the local teen tv program "Swingin Time". In '66 there was no other local band that showed more promise then The Rationals!

Unfortunatly during the ballroom days they were not as front and center as The Dukes, Five, SRC, or Stooges. They did play the Grande a few times (a poor boot exhists). Finally in '69 they recorded an lp on a small label, I saw them play it a few times, but it was too late. The Detroit sound had gone bust, the record company did nothing to promote it, and for personal reasons they broke up.

Most have heard that Scott Morgan was asked to audition for Blood Sweat & Tears II (prior to David clayton Thomas), but he turned down it down. Scott was a great vocalist back then, played alot of instruments very well including the harp, and he had that charisma on stage. He just seemed to shy away from the limelight. Maybe the local singles were enough? In contrast Bob Seger had as many local hit singles and the same stigma, but persisted until his breakthrough. I'm sure The Rationals would have made it too!

Anyways, has anybody seen the A2 (A Square) singles collection out there?

Many thanks for your great site, keeping the links cool, and all your hard work!

Weekend Hippie

Pablo Cazorla (a.k.a. The Bomber) said...

Uff... honor guest.

lucky you are man! seeing all those bands live, close up & personal...aahh.

Is that so? a boot exists from the Rationals, didnt know, I ll keep an eye for it, (if you have it or know where to find, let me know pliz)

A2 singles, havent found about em yet, I ll keep an eye too.

Cheers mate, lets keep in touch.

Anonymous said...

On the Rationals live at the Grande ballroom cd, it's accually not a boot but a 1995 John Sinclair release on Total Energy records.

I found the "A-Square (Of Course)" Detroit area singles compilation. This contains SRC (Scott Richard Case), MC5, Thyme, and Frost, plus the Prime Movers with Iggy on lead vocals.


Once again, thanks for your great site, keeping the links cool, and all your hard work!

Weekend Hippie

Pablo Cazorla (a.k.a. The Bomber) said...

yeah already checked the link, and its great!

I ll post the Rat`s live album at the G Ballroom, data 1968 (right?).

So lets keep in contact.
see ya!

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, in 1999, members and relatives of MC5 members alleged that the Total Energy releases of MC5 material were not authorized, i.e. bootlegs. Not sure if the Rationals recording was issued officially.