Artist: Grand Funk
Genre: Hard Rock
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Member: No
Album: We're An American Band
Producer: Todd Rundgren
Release Date: July 15, 1973
Running Time: 39:48
RIAA Certification: Platinum
Peak Billboard Chart Position: #2
Singles: We're An American Band (#1)/Walk Like A Man (#19)
Disclaimer: All info that does not reside in my brain is gathered from wikipedia.com (mostly because Jon can't stand it).
This week we turn to the heavy-handed rock of Grand Funk Railroad. Actually, they dropped the Railroad part, and became simply Grand Funk. Their 1973 release, We're An American Band, is up for your consideration. First off, it is a Platinum awarded number two album. As you can see above, two top twenty singles were released, including the number one We're An American Band (one of two career number one hits for the band, the other being The Loco-Motion).
The album was the first of two produced by Todd Rundgren. He helped give the band a more professional, clean sound. Don Brewer, the drummer, also took on a wider role for this album. In addition to increased song writing credits, he sang lead vocals on the two hits. As a side note, the original vinyl and the original 45 single for We're An American Band were released on translucent yellow vinyl (supposedly symbolic of a gold record).
How 'bout a review:
On first examination the only word that crosses your mind is gold. Gold on the outside, gold on the inside -- even the plastic record is bright gold. Pompous for any other band, but for Grank Funk just another move forward, from silver to gold. And naturally the album had sold a million in advance orders before it ever left the plant. Grand Funk has dropped "Railroad," and acquired that New York wizard and true star Todd Rundgren to referee the mixing board. They have also taken their "on-the-road" keyboard player, Craig Frost (a truly dishy gentleman who should have been brought to the frontlines sooner), and put him in the photos and given him a more prominent place in the music. The result is what is easily the best album America's only Truly American band (no trace of England anywhere in this band's style) has ever recorded.
Just what takes this album and puts it miles in front of all the other Grank Funk albums is beyond me. The set is marvelously tight and controlled. Instead of being a band of unbridled energy they are now better thought out and better channelled. The once wild stallions have now been studio broken. Perhaps this is why "We're An American Band" has been the band's only successful single to date. Sure, "Rock and Roll Soul" crept up the charts, but it never made it to New York's toughest AM station WABC.
Another remarkable thing is that Mark Farner's always interesting voice has now moved into the "impressive" category. The man can really sing well. This is most evident on the Farner original "Creepin'" where the man's voice comfortably soars to heights it's never dared approach before.
Whatever went down before in the infamous recording careers of Grand Funk, it would appear they have found themselves at last. From the mild-paced rocker, "Ain't Got Nobody," through the comparatively complex "Loneliest Rider," Grand Funk are heading straight down the track.
- Janis Schacht, Circus, 1/74.
So what do you think of this album? It is readily available on Amazon in a remastered format along with four bonus tracks for a cool $7.99. But knowing Jon, he will be able to tell you where you can find it cheaper, especially if you have a coupon. Either way, you should buy it so you can honestly say you own it.
1. We're An American Band
2. Stop Lookin' Back
4. Black Licorice
5. The Railroad
6. Ain't Got Nobody
7. Walk Like A Man
8. Loneliest Rider
I enjoyed this album. I'll give a nod to the production as well. And I agree with Scott, Creepin' is a totally badass song. But in my opinion, so is the title track. I know it's been played to death, but it's just a killer hard rock song. Not a bad song here if you ask me.
OK here goes- YES, I WAS A GRAND FUNK FAN!!! (I still am & probably always will be but saying that was the first step to my recovery.)
This was a good album and it put Grand Funk into superstar status for a while. Todd Rundren's production smoothed out the edges on the GF sound also. He always had a magic touch. But to be honest, I kind of liked the rawness of the earlier albums. If you asked me what my favorite Grand Funk album was I would tell you all of the ones BEFORE this one.