The Rascals: Sativa / Sattva (Atlantic, 1968)
I just found this down in the basement. I thought I'd lost it, so you can imagine my pleasure on discovering that this classic piece of sitar-jangling hippy-bandwagon jumping pop soul hadn't disappeared forever. This will, inevitably, make you think of these people, but the difference is, The Rascals actually meant it. At least, I like to think they did. Anyway, this record contains three of the elements I most require from a pop record if I am to love it without limits.
1. It must have an element of "otherness" - there must be a sense that people are trying to do something they can't quite manage but, by Jiminy, they're going to have a crack at it. For instance, when The Beatles, say, decided to whack a bit of sitar on a record, they went to the main guy and worked at it. The Rascals, on the other hand, just seemed to have borrowed one off someone and tried to play it like a guitar. This doesn't make them better, or worse, it just means they're having a go. Commendable.
2. Drones. Incredibly important, obviously. There's not a pop record in existence that's not been improved by a drone.
3. Great, great lyrics. My favourite being, "Walking down the flower street, all the colours melting at my feet..." There are others.
As for the title. The sleeve calls it Sattva, the label calls it Sativa. To be honest, I sort of like that kind of thing too.