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Articles Home » 1976 Articles » Grand Funk Railroad - 1976 Good Singin' Good Playin'
Grand Funk Railroad - 1976 Good Singin' Good Playin'

ARTIST: Grand Funk Railroad
ALBUM: Good Singin' Good Playin'
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 1999, Hip-0 (USA), 40144


LINEUP: Mark Farner - vocals, guitar, piano * Don Brewer - vocals, drums, percussion * Mel Schacher - bass, background vocals * Craig Frost - keyboards, backing vocals * Frank Zappa - guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Just Couldn't Wait * 02 Can You Do It * 03 Pass It Around * 04 Don't Let 'Em Take Your Gun * 05 Miss My Baby * 06 Big Buns * 07 Out To Get You * 08 Crossfire * 09 1976 * 10 Release Your Love * 11 Goin' For The Pastor


Confession time. Despite being a child of the 1970's, I have never been a big fan of Grand Funk Railroad. Their mixture of hard rock, glam and Vietnam-era good time music never turned me on much, although singles like 'I'm Your Captain', 'The Loco-Motion' and especially 'Bad Time' (one of the great American pop songs of the 70's) are certainly worth hearing and owning, but overall like early Doobie Brothers and Black Oak Arkansas; thanks but no thanks with one exception. 'Good Singin' Good Playin' produced by none other than Frank Zappa is in my ever so humble opinion the best album the group recorded and unfortunately would be their last, before an ill-advised reunion in the early 1980's.

The Songs
On paper, combining the avant garde muso Frank Zappa with the ever patriotic and at times ham-fisted Grand Funk might appear like a train wreck from hell, but it's nothing short of genius. Zappa's production on this record is sharp and crisp and the band on the verge of self-destructing play for the fun of it, knowing their time has come to an end as if they didn't give a shit. The results are outstanding and it doesn't get much better than the album's opener 'Just Couldn't Wait' which is slightly reminiscent lyrically of the aforementioned 'Bad Time' although not as immediately catchy. It is one of Grand Funk's best and a good example of Mark Farner's guitar and vocal talents and why the band was such a success. 'Pass It Around' returns to past Grand Funk glories with a couple guitar chords seemingly pulled from a bevy of the group's hits. Again, it's a winner as is 'Miss My Baby' a sweet, near power pop ballad with Farner's vocals stealing the show. Yes, there is a bit of red neck Americana here with 'Don't Let 'Em Take Your Gun' getting quite political for 1976 and a song whose lyrics old Ted Nugent would probably wear as a t-shirt these days. The Spinal Tap-ish titled 'Big Buns' clocking in at just thirty seconds and the excellent 'Out To Get You' with Zappa on guitar is about all the influence the producer had on the album. He thankfully sat back and let the band do what they did they did best and the listener is all the better for it.

In Summary
Too often I think fans of classic AOR miss the boat when it comes to music pre-1977 that laid the groundwork for the golden age of melodic rock. In many ways, groups and artists of this period are far more interesting. Trial and error, with ties to the late 60's chaos and a slightly different set of influences (early Journey anyone?) bands like Grand Funk Railroad, Three Dog Night, The Guess Who, Sugarloaf and numerous others which we have covered or will cover soon on GD were on the right track but time was not on their side. If you are serious about melodic rock and curious about the complete history of the genre, start listening to albums like 'Good Singin' Good Playin'' and enjoy!

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#1 | Harvey Mettle on July 17 2007 18:42:22
Nothing new to add just that this is a REAL gem. Back in the 70's I walked into a local shop and this was sitting on the shelf. I knew I was going to buy it but also that my record player was broken. Sure enough I took it home and looked at it for two weeks before I took it around to my mate's house to listen to it. He was soley into punk bu let me play it twice - he HATED it! Finally got it on CD just a few months ago in the now defunkt Fopps.

I'm a big fan of the band generally but this is definitely number one IMO. Zappa's production and input really brought something good out in the band.
#2 | sabace on September 11 2007 14:42:20
grand funks best lp by far! zappa's guitar on '' out to get
you '' is amazing!
#3 | vinyldinosaurus on February 06 2008 17:25:29
GFR's 'Red Album' will always be my favorite, but this comes in at a close second. Very underrated.
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