Grand Funk Railroad
We're An American Band


3.5
great

Review

by Zesty Mordant USER (24 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist


Artist: Grand Funk Railroad (or Grand Funk)
Album:We're An American Band
Release:Nov 1973
Label:Capitol
Produced by Todd Rundgren

Track Listing:
1. Creepin' (7:04)
2. The Railroad (6:12)
3. Black Licorice (4:47)
4. The Loneliest Rider (5:14)
5. Walk Like a Man (You Can Call Me Your Man) (4:07)
6. Ain't Got Nobody (4:23)
7. Stop Lookin' Back (4:54)
8. We're An American Band (3:28)

Grand Funk is:
Mark Farner- Vocals, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Piano, Conga
Don Brewer- Vocals, Drums, Percussion
Mel Shacher- Bass
Craig Frost- Organ, Clavinet, Electric Piano, Moog


"Nobody knows the band Grand Funk? The wild, shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bong-rattling bass of Mel Shacher? The competent drum-work of Don Brewer? Oh, man!"
-Homer Simpson

About a year ago, I would've been the subject of Homer's disbelief and frustration. all i knew of this band was that simply the fact that my dad owns a ton of their records on vinyl, along with other stoner seventies arena rock greats like Uriah Heep, Ozark Moutain Daredevils, The Sweet, Nazareth, April Wine, and a dozen other bands that the youth of today would only know from watching Dazed and Confused too many times. Finally after hearing the title track from this album being blasted out during a crazy, booze-and-drug infested weekend during the summer, I was instantly hooked and set out to pick this album up.

Now to my disappointment, and probably Homer's, Grand Funk doesn't seem to get much respect on these forums or in general. But its somewhat understandable. I mean, Grand Funk back in the day was the probably the first real arena rock band, a band that didn't sell a lot of records and was critically lambasted by the 70's music snobs of the time, but sold out stadiums all over the world, especially in the US. In fact its safe to say that Grand Funk was the first "people's band" in rock history, where Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd at the time could accoplish just the same, they at least had the "artistic cred" and "labels" to support their proliferation. Grand Funk back in the day, confused the hell out of record CEOs simply by the way they were able to sell out huge arenas, yet no one would buy their albums in the same respect. These guys were way before KISS, or U2, or any of the sub-par "people's bands" of today like Linkin Park, Dave Matthews Band, etc.

Though, its probably recommended for any first time listener to pick up the greatest hits album, or even better, any of their live albums, this record, in my opinion is their most solid and rocking standard release that is able to catch the intensity of their indulgent live playing, catchy hooks, and just straight-up ability to rock.

1. Creepin' - The song title perfectly describes the general feel of the song. the lowly but smooth bass riff blends brilliantly with the subtle organ trills, giving the song a very sinister and mysterious vibe. Farner's vocals really incorporates that "live" sound and gives the sound as if he's got plenty of space to sing. Farner also lays down some killer guitar solos, and the all-out jamming at the end is awash in 70-hard rock-style psychedelia. a strong operner. 4.5/5

2. The Railroad - The song kicks off a nice blare of psychedelic organ and slowly segues nicely into a quiet guitar melody, that provides an interesting texture for Farner's soulful vocals. The vocal hook in the chorus is very catchy and arena-worthy. a nice jam in the bridge of this 6-minute workout features the skills of Farner's playing as well Brewer's manic and primal drumming. and Frost's powerfully soulful melodies on the keys. the use of trashcan-style percussion really adds to the intensity of the song as well. 4/5

3. Black Licorice - With a ridulously infectious bass riff and a funky guitar rhythm, this song right off the bat is very catch. Farner's vocals in this song just kill, and reiterates the dangerously sexual themes of the lyrics perfectly, especially in the chorus. the drumming is just wonderfully ferocious and the intense organ solo is just orgasmic. wow. 5/5

4. Loneliest Rider - The song has a pretty cool groove, but Farner's attempt at story-telling (on more serious material at least) doesn't really fly with me. there's some nice production techniques on this track- the heavily reverberated guitar and organ really gives the song that wash of psychedelia it needs. 3/5

5. Walk Like a Man (You Can Call Me Your Man) - This song has an a very catchy shout-a-long chorus and the electric piano riff and heavy drumbeat really emphasizes the machismo nature of this song. Farner's vocals works nicely with the soaring guitar licks that litter the song throughout. once again the bridge shows off their jamming skills very well, with a very blues-rock heavy guitar solo. 4/5

6. Ain't Got Nobody - This song is pretty standard fare, which is a little unfortunate. the verse and chorus are both a little bland and forgettable, though the vocal harmonies are pretty sweet. This song is all about the jazzy kind of piano progression that occurs throughout, giving the song a kind of Steely Dan/Chicago vibe. there also some sweet guitar solos in here that one can certainly indulge in. 3.5/5

7. Stop Lookin' Back - This song is chockfull of catchy and groove-oriented 70s-style riffs from every instrument. the song changes form and direction in the beginning and really demonstrates the band's ability to jam tightly as a group and still remain within a tasteful framework. plenty of psychedelic organ washes and a manic tom-infested drum beat at the end really makes this a very fun song to just lay back and enjoy. 4/5

8. We're An American Band - Here it is, the pinnacle of the album. this song is argubly to say their biggest hit, and deservingly so. this song has just a killer riff and the thunderous bass just owns. the vocals are awesome and when coupled with the lyrics, which are about partying and gettin it on with groupies, really adds to simple and fun nature demonstrated. the guitar solo is very solid and the organ really builds on the poppy psychedelic element. and did i mention this song has cowbell? Yup, this song just plain rocks. 5/5

well there you go. Grand Funk didn't try to write any pretentious concept albums nor did they try to showoff any artistic integrity or whatnot. they are a perfect example of living in the seventies was like: carefree attitudes, partying, and being able to listen to poppy & catchy rock songs without shame. this was a band that knew how to do one thing, and that was rockin'. and this album shows that they did it well.

Final Rating 4.5/5

recommended tracks:
We're An American Band (duh)
Black Licorice
Creepin'
Stop Lookin' Back



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Badmoon
December 2nd 2004


384 Comments


Great review :thumb: I like this album. I don't own it, but I have heard it a variety of time.

Kingadamx
December 2nd 2004


120 Comments


I love Grand Funk, I bought their Live in 1971 album and was rather dissapointed. I guess I'll have to just buy their greatest hits. I'm Your Captain and Closer to Home are my favorite songs by them even though neither are on this album. Pretty good review even though the only song I have heard off of this album is the title track. They were one of the arena rock giants along with one of my favorite bands JETHRO TULL.

40 oz 2 freedom
December 2nd 2004


96 Comments


My dad's favorite band. Good album.

Two-Headed Boy
December 17th 2005


4527 Comments


ha what a terrible name.
i never really got into these guys... not my style

Bron-Yr-Aur
April 14th 2006


4405 Comments


pretty good review. I don't like the title song though.Come to think of it, I don't really like the band. This Message Edited On 04.14.06

Zesty Mordant
April 14th 2006


1196 Comments


'sup really old review.

clairvoyant
April 2nd 2007


765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i do believe you have all of the tracks out of order...

Zesty Mordant
April 8th 2007


1196 Comments


nope, that is the original tracklisting

711
April 8th 2007


1341 Comments


Great band. My dad has the album, Ill give it a listen

iarescientists
April 8th 2007


5863 Comments


The Lacey Chabert train is chugging down the Grand Funk Railroad!

CHOO CHOO!

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 8th 2007


17945 Comments


hoo hah

metallicaman8
April 8th 2007


4677 Comments


Darth Vader's mask kinda looks like the front of a train, sooo

711
April 8th 2007


1341 Comments


chugga chugga

Regulator
April 3rd 2008


609 Comments


grand funk seriously kicks some ass. but they were WAY better as a three-piece. the fourth member just lead to really mediocre albums i think. E Pluribus Funk, and Phoenix, plus the Live Album, that's where it's at man!

MrSirLordGentleman
August 25th 2013


4870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Final Rating: 4.5/5"


Creepin' is perfection

manosg
May 2nd 2014


6700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was between a 3 and 3.5 but I'll go with a 3 since I expect much more from Grand Funk. The album has its moments such as Creepin' but overall lacks the energy of previous efforts.

Digging: Witchfynde - Give 'em Hell

MrSirLordGentleman
May 2nd 2014


4870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, this could've been better, but t/t's still a classic and Creepin' is the best shit ever

manosg
May 3rd 2014


6700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah t/t is great also.

MrSirLordGentleman
May 16th 2014


4870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So yeah, they were even better live, I love when bands do that

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lvq9Amzaco

manosg
May 16th 2014


6700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yup, truly great bands do that. Great track too man.



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