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Grand Funk Railroad - On Time, Closer To Home, Grand Funk, Live Album
Capitol Records
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2002-06-21
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Artist: Grand Funk Railroad (www.grandfunkrailroad.com)
Title: On Time, Closer To Home, Grand Funk, Live Album
Advance CDs, Release date August 13, 2002
Label: Capitol Records (www.hollywoodandvine.com)
Genre: Rock
Format: Digitally Remastered 2002

Three guys from Flint Michigan got together 34 years ago to form one of the most potent rock trios of all time. The called themselves Grand Funk Railroad, after Grand Trunk Railroad. Mark Farner (Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals), Mel Schacher (Bass, Backup Vocals) and Don Brewer (Drums, Vocals) were the American band.

Capitol Records is in the midst of an extensive reissue program covering 12 of the bandís releases. "The Trunk Of Funk" will look like an old leather trunk and will include the first 4 reissues already inside and space to hold another 8 classic GFR reissues that are to be released over the next year. Each box will be individually numbered and there will only be 10,000 copies manufactured worldwide. Each box will also include stickers, so you can decorate the trunk anyway you like.

These four releases are the prototypical GFR. The sound recorded on these four albums was the basic blues rock foundation sound that propelled them to a long and successful career and garnered a huge fan base due to tireless touring. All of this was managed without any support from the media. This was before they added keyboard player Craig Frost and took on a decidedly pop sound. And although that would give them some success, it would also contribute to their eventual demise.

"On Time" was the first GFR album and it served as a good introduction to the groupís basic hard rocking blues influenced sound. "Are You Ready" and "Heartbreaker" would soon become an important part of their live shows. "T.N.U.C.," the nasty play on words, was their first full fledged jam session bordering on the very edge of progressive rock, clocking in at over 8 _ minutes long. For a debut album it was better than average. This was the beginning of a much heavier and technically advanced sound, particularly on guitar.

"Grand Funk" was their metal classic. Although the blues influence was still present on "Mr. Limousine Driver" and "High Falootiní Woman," they pushed the boundaries of that sound on the extended heavy rock psychedelic workouts "Paranoid" and "Inside Looking Out." For three people they made a lot of noise, and the talent of all three men reached its full realization on this album.

"Closer To Home" was the over the top album that they needed to launch their career to the next level, and it did with relative ease regardless of unsupportive press and limited airplay. Their fan base was growing in numbers as quickly as their albums were selling. "Mean Mistreater" and "Iím Your Captain" put them into the rock stratosphere, and later on the songs would become AOR staples. The clarity and crispness of this remaster is notable.

"Live Album" provided an up close and personal look into their live performances and it also gave a nice overview of the three previous studio albums. I remember when I first heard this album back in the early 70ís. I listened intently to Mark talk to the crowd about not taking things that were handed them, namely drugs (too bad I didnít take his advice), and also asking all the brothers and sisters in the front rows to keep people off of other peoples shoulders so people in the back could see them perform. Itís interesting how I remember those details after all these years. This however is no match for what was to be released in the future. "Caught In The Act" blows this one away. Thanks to the careful remastering it sounds a lot less muddy on the bottom end. Itís extremely good for a live recording that was taped on inferior equipment by todayís standards. This is a wonderful memento to GFR and their early raw and raunchy years. Itís a snapshot of the hot and sweaty pot filled arenas of the 70ís.

The bonus tracks are always welcome, as it adds to the substance and longevity of each recording. There are no throwaways here, its all top shelf GFR. I am absolutely thrilled that all of this music will reach a new generation. It all sounds better than ever now that itís been given a new lease on life thanks to the remastering processes. GFR was one of the very first rock bands I ever got into, so all of this music took me back to when my love for rock and roll really caught fire. I am sure there are many of you out there that will experience the same thing.

The Band:
Mark Farner - Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
Don Brewer - Drums, Vocals
Mel Schacher - Bass, Backup Vocals

On Time-1969
1. Are You Ready (Farner) - 3:28
2. Anybody's Answer (Farner) - 5:17
3. Time Machine (Farner) - 3:45
4. High on a Horse (Farner) - 2:56
5. T.N.U.C. (Farner) - 8:42
6. Into the Sun (Farner) - 6:29
7. Heartbreaker (Farner) - 6:35
8. Call Yourself a Man (Farner) - 3:05
9. Can't Be Too Long (Farner) - 6:34
10. Ups and Downs (Farner) - 5:01

Bonus Tracks
11. High On A Horse (original version)
12. Heartbreaker (original version)

Closer To Home-1970
1. Sin's a Good Man's Brother (Farner)
2. Aimless Lady (Farner)
3. Nothing Is the Same
4. Mean Mistreater (Farner)
5. Get It Together
6. I Don't Have to Sing the Blues
7. Hooked on Love
8. I'm Your Captain

Bonus Tracks
9. Mean Mistreater (Alternate Mix)
10. In Need (Live-Orlando Sports Center, FL. 6/25/70
11. Heartbreaker (Live-Orlando Sports Center, FL. 6/25/70
12. Mean Mistreater-(Live-Orlando Sports Center, FL. 6/25/70

Grand Funk-1969
1. Got This Thing on the Move (Farner) - 4:40
2. Please Don't Worry (Brewer/Farner) - 4:20
3. High Falootin' Woman (Farner) - 3:02
4. Mr. Limousine Driver (Farner) - 4:27
5. In Need (Farner) - 7:54
6. Winter and My Soul (Farner) - 6:39
7. Paranoid (Farner) - 7:52
8. Inside Looking Out - - 9:31

Bonus Tracks
9. Nothing Is The Same (demo)
10. Mr. Limousine Driver

Live Album-1970
1. Introduction
2. Are You Ready
3. Paranoid
4. In Need
5. Heartbreaker
6. Words Of Wisdom
7. Mean Mistreater
8. Mark Sayís Alright
9. T.N.U.C.
10. Inside Looking Out


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