With the kind of hindsight now properly explored in Alec Palao’s sleevenotes accompanying this long overdue reissue, it appears that Ann Arbor’s Rationals did everything the wrong way round after forming in the mid-60s. Under the strict control of Hugh ‘Jeep’ Holland, they released six well-received singles on his A-Square label, before realising they were being stifled and freeing themselves in 1968. Casting around for a deal, they ended up on Bob Crewe’s tiny Crewe imprint, which released the group’s first LP in 1970.
Though favourites at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom, The Rationals went against the flash, high-energy grain which epitomised the likes of MC5, The Stooges, SRC and The Amboy Dukes, sporting a garage-mod image while musically mixing amped-up soul (Barefootin’), San Francisco-style guitar flights (Deep Red), traditional Michigan energy (supercharged Grande Ballroom anthem Guitar Army) and the heartfelt, harmonised ballads which were their forte (Temptation About To Get Me, Dr John’s Glowin’). Here, the original album is joined by single mixes, a Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah outtake and a 10-minute noodle through Wang Dang Doodle.
By the time they released the LP, The Rationals were falling apart, with its lack of sales precipitating their split. Had it been released earlier, Michigan rock’n’roll legend might well have seen another major twist.