This is big, stoopid early 70’s American rock from Grand Funk Railroad, not up there with ‘Live At Leeds’ album, but it’s as raw as it gets.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Grand Funk Railroad
ALBUM: Live Album
SERIAL: SWBB 633
CD REISSUE: 2002, Capitol 72435-39326
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Mark Farner – guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals * Don Brewer – drums, vocals * Mel Schacher – bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 Introduction * 02 Are You Ready * 03 Paranoid * 04 In Need * 05 Heartbreaker * 06 Words Of Wisdom * 07 Mean Mistreater * 08 Mark Say’s Alright * 09 T.N.U.C. * 10 Inside Looking Out * 11 Into The Sun
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Quite some time ago we reviewed Grand Funk Railroad’s 1976 album ‘Good Singin’ Good Playin’ and was surprised to learn there are more than a few readers who hold this powerhouse trio in high esteem. Since then someone suggested on our ever active forum that 1970’s ‘Live Album’ was one of the greatest live albums of all time. Huh?
Some expected disagreement from the fraternity including this reviewer but hey, since it had been literally decades since I last heard anything from the now legendary double set, picking up the CD reissue and getting reacquainted with Funk’s prime period seemed like a wise choice.
Recorded just weeks after the release of the ‘Closer To Home’ album in three Florida cities, my opinion of ‘Live Album’ I’m not ashamed to say has altered somewhat although it’s still one of the worst sounding live records you’ll ever hear.
Seriously, Bootleg quality at best with no tweaking whatsoever from manager/producer Terry Knight and yet it feels like you are right in the moment. With deafening crowd noise, bounced off the walls distortion and endless buzz. This is big, stoopid early 70’s American rock.
While Grand Funk have never been considered virtuoso’s unfairly or not, jumping Jehoshaphat these guys kicked some serious ass. Sweaty and raw with fuzzed out bass, relentless drumming matched with Mark Farner’s six-string attack and unearthly pipes and you have a recipe for some of the meanest bluesy jammin’ ever committed to vinyl.
Sorry, no ‘I’m Your Captain’ to be found as only ‘Mean Mistreater’ from ‘Closer To Home’ made the cut, but ‘Heartbreaker’ and the blistering feedback-riddled instrumental ‘Mark Say’s Alright’ are the album’s biggest draw.
Intense stuff and I’m perplexed why it took me so long to give ‘Live Album’ another listen. One of the greatest concert releases of all time? The jury’s still out on that one but it’s definitely a keeper.