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Grand Funk Railroad - 1970 Live Album

ARTIST: Grand Funk Railroad
ALBUM: Live Album
LABEL: Capitol
YEAR: 1970
CD REISSUE: 2002, Capitol 72435-39326


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


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.

The Songs
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 70s American rock and 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.

In Summary
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.

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#1 | sabace on June 21 2012 12:15:06
fair enough review - just dumb ass rock n roll at its best!
#2 | rkbluez on June 21 2012 21:55:50
Have to agree one of the worst sounding live albums...still it is what it is Grand Funk "Live" Eric said no tweaking here...this is as raw as it gets.
#3 | dangerzone on June 22 2012 00:20:00
Hard to believe 'Live at Leeds' was the same year. The greatest live album to this day.
#4 | sabace on June 26 2012 12:48:12
live at leeds is a fine lp but is it the greatest ?
#5 | Eric on June 26 2012 17:04:29
It's an awesome album (Live at Leeds) although taste is always subjective. My list of the best live albums is a bit oddball but I really like 10cc's 'Live and Let Live' double set, Roxy Music's 'Viva' and of course Queen's 'Live Killers' are all up there for me.
#6 | Eric on June 27 2012 00:35:25
Oh, forgot Be Bop Deluxe 'Live! In The Air Age'.
#7 | sabace on July 02 2012 11:51:16
yes its certainly subjective! the problem is everybody has an opinion and to quote a famous wag ' opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one ' unquote . So here are my faves . Kiss alive, Goddo live (best seat), Foghat live, GO live from paris, Hendrix band of gypsies, Thin lizzy live and dangerous
#8 | tompa on November 14 2012 00:43:07
Easily my favourite live album of all time. And I'm not a big fan of Grand Funk in general as their studio albums left a lot to be desired. Mostly in the shape of many good songs enough to fill an album. The LIVE album however is a perfect ten as far as live albums go; the cover, the intro, the drawnout songs, the energy, the inbetween songs-chat. Songs that didn't do much on the studioalbums come alive here. Don't care that much for livealbums but beside this one I really like Bloodrock's live album and the Live 4/8/76 by Truth and Janey.
#9 | tompa on November 14 2012 00:45:04
It should of course be 'in the shape of not that many good songs to fill an album'.
#10 | aaasreg on August 02 2014 17:46:23
Maybe the rawest sounding album in my collection. Earlier I didn't loved this sound but now I'm more a friend of it.

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