Song Of The Day 2/5/2015: The Rustix - "Free Again (Non C'est Rien)"

Alt-Motown: I’ve just realized the last three songs of this week, including this one, were all released on the Motown subsidiary label Rare Earth. This was the label of Motown’s most successful, well, white act. They managed three Top 10 hits in America, two of which were covers of the Temptations. The other was “I Just Want to Celebrate,” which featured in the David O. Russell pic Three Kings and a series of Nicoderm commercials. Anyway, Rare Earth the label was, apparently, the repository for viable caucasian acts who’d wandered into the Motown fold. Most of them, from what I can tell, were better than the band after whom Rare Earth was named.

The Rustix – they are often referred to without the “The,” but not today – were the pride of Rochester, NY. They’re one of several groups attributed with being the first white band signed to Motown. The Messengers were another. I’m inclined to think it was The Messengers, actually, just because of the timing. The Rustix hung around for three years and loaded themselves up on a bunch of minor hits. “Free Again (Non, C’est Bien)” was one of those French numbers (like “Ne Me Quitte Pas/If You Go Away”) that attracted a lot of English-singing performers, including Barbra Streisand, Nancy Wilson and Jack Jones. The Rustix version was on the B-side of their 1970 single “Come On People.” It’s sufficiently evocative.

The final two songs of this week will come from someplace other than Rare Earth Records, I promise. I’ve already looked ’em up.

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