GRAND FUNK RAILROAD — E Pluribus Funk

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GRAND FUNK RAILROAD - E Pluribus Funk cover
4.30 | 7 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1971

Tracklist

1. Foot Stompin' Music (3:48)
2. People Let's Stop The War (5:11)
3. Upsetter (4:18)
4. I Come Tumblin' (5:47)
5. Save The Land (4:13)
6. No Lies (3:57)
7. Loneliness (8:38)

Total Time: 35:55

Line-up/Musicians

- Mark Farner / vocals, guitars, harmonica, piano
- Don Bewer / vocals, drums
- Mel Schacher / bass

- Tom Baker / arranger, conductor

About this release

1971 - Capitol(US)(Germany)(Sweden)
2000 - EMI+(Netherlands) CD
2002 - Capitol(US)(Europe) CD: bonus tracks, remastered
2006 - Capitol(Japan) CD: CD sized album replica, bonus tracks, remastered, limited edition

Thanks to Time Signature, cannon for the updates

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GRAND FUNK RAILROAD E PLURIBUS FUNK reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

aglasshouse
One of the better power-trios out there, Grand Funk Railroad (like many other hard rock blues rock bands) made their debut in the late 60's, specifically 1969. Bands of their caliber were popping up left and right, including but not limited to Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Gun, etc. but GFR were able to make something of themselves rather well. A year after it was released the band's debut hit gold certification in 1970, their second album following suit. In 1971 GFR hit what was possibly the most prolific moment of their career, performing a live show at Shea's Stadium, with their ticket sales equaling that of the Beatles and their show in 1965. The only difference being The Beatles' took weeks to achieve, whilst Grand Funk took only three days. So it is pretty safe to say that the band was at their peak in the early 70's, at least commercially. When it comes to reviewing the music however, sales from other people are irrelevant to personal opinion, so here's my opinion on Grand Funk's first three years.

Grand Funk was doing very well for themselves it's true, but their album faced mostly critical panning regardless of their sales. This could be for a variety of reasons, but most likely the band was thought to not distinguish themselves from the flood of hard rock bands emerging in 1969. Now don't get me wrong, there were factors that differentiated these bands, but they were rather general and well-encompassing. On one side you have the loud and proud, bands that relied mainly on distorted guitars and blasting sound. On the other you had bands that experimented a bit more, incorporating more classic blues/bluegrass into their heavy style- a more progressive style if you will. I believe Grand Funk belonged mainly to the former category, while Humble Pie, Zeppelin, and Uriah Heep belonged to the latter. In general the bands from the more eclectic camp were lauded by critics and were (anecdotally) more likely to be cited as influence for bands in the future. Grand Funk, Thin Lizzy, and other bands like them remained more a product of their time rather than a lasting emblem of history. This is not to say that Grand Funk should not be given commended for their style, which as aforementioned they were in their early days. However it was obvious that after 1973's We're An American Band, thought of generally as the band's opus, GFR started to sag under the weight of their overbearing swagger and cockiness, becoming almost comical in their musical undertakings. Regardless it is always a treat to explore bands in their prime, and luckily in the same year of that famous performance, GFR released two albums, the second of which we'll be checking out today.

E Pluribus Funk, whose title is a jeu de mots of the United States' then-motto "E pluribus unum", was released in November of 1971. As previously mentioned, it is the second album the band released in 1971, the first being Survival. Survival wasn't as much of a commercial success as albums that preceded it, nor was it a creative one. For example, drummer Don Brewer never quite enjoyed the sound of the drums on the album due to producer Terry Knight's insistence that he cover the skins with tea-towels, a technique he learned from Ringo Starr in the 1970 Beatles film Let It Be. E Pluribus Funk tosses these inane ideas and substitutes it for a more raw and conventional construction. Knight's production quality is very organic, like many other blues bands at the time, making the record easily retain a 70's quality of sound. The track list for this album is quite short, but makes up for it with a few extremely good choice tracks. 'People, Let's Stop The War' is a funky, crunchy power trip, titularly repeating the same jargon in circulation throughout the decade. You know, hippies might have been taken more seriously if they made more music like this- just saying. 'Loneliness' is one of GFR's best; an orchestra-aided ersatz-progressive rock epic who's slow tone actually musters up some pretty legitimate emotional material.

All in all if you've heard of Grand Funk and you wish to get involved this isn't the worst place to start. It's a good introduction, and a good showcase of the band's talents. I'd say "magnum officium" to this one.

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