RICK CAPPETTO - reviewing the
"New Live Album"
A Great friend of mine and GFR fan let me borrow his promo copy of the new GFR release (June 4th 2002).
1. The introduction first has the fans chanting We Want Grand Funk then the recorded Sprach Zarathustra (2001) come on and stops and an announcer says. Welcome, Closer To Home, Grand Funk Railroad.
2. Are You Ready - Rocking version equal to Live Album. This is a 24 bit remastered CD it sounds like Live Album without the pop corn sounding audience. It is not clean, well it is clean but GFR is not clean, they are, or were nasty, brutal, sexual, and rude. The 24 bit remastering provides for us to even hear the mistakes which are extremely charming throughout even GFRs mistakes sound good. This CD is extremely bass-heavy as the early GFR was. The power trio fans (aren't we all) will have a huge orgasm when they hear this CD. Those who have Live Album as there favorite GFR Album may change to this one.
THIS WAS A SUGGESTED LAYOUT
3. Footstompin Music, this must be the survival version it is different than the regular version and really its like Footstompin Music on steroids. This one has a longer intro before the singing, it starts off with Don on drums by himself and then Mel comes in and then finally Mark on keyboard. Its really cool. It is heavier than the normal Footstompin Music. When Mark gets on the guitar he starts off like the normal guitar lick, but then changes it up to sounds like a bit of In Need, it rocks. Mark's guitar is feeding back real easy so it must have been on eleven.
4. Paranoid - Mark starts off "Anyone getting off? Well, we gonna try to get you off a little more." This version is real similar to Live Album except Marks guitar playing is better, more crisp. Mark is on funkin fire. I give this version a slight lead over live album version. For those of you who have get funked this version is like that one but with better recording and 24 bit remastering. The feedback is fantastic on Mark's guitar on this one. Someone get that man another messenger.
THIS IS NOT AN ORIGINAL COVER
5-6-7. - Medley - I'm Your Captian/ Hooked On Love/ Get it together. Each song has a CD break (unheard of course) so there are three songs 5, 6 and 7, but its a medley. I mush prefer this medley to having Mean Mistreater on the CD. I'm Your Captian starts off like the Caught In The Act version at first, but then Mark comes in with some cool chicken scratch guitaring and then they come to an end and start up I'm Your Captian like the album version. Mark seems to sing in a lower key than normal (ever so slightly) which sounds cool, Mark and Dons harmonies are great as usual. About half way through the normal version then changes in a short rendition of Hooked On Love and then changes into Get It Together. Really cool stuff. Again Like Get funked but a hugely superior recording.
8. T.N.U.C. - WOW, 16 plus minutes the best version of the drum solo I ever heard. Don is on funkin fire. Kick ass version, reminds me of the Hyde Park Version, at times Don's drum sounds like a machine gun. Then at the 10 minute mark, Mark shouts everybody help us out, Mark and Mel hop on the drums as well. Drum thing 71 style. :) Na na na na, na na na na woooo!
9. Inside Looking Out - 15:30 version Mark dedicates the song to all the people in Washington for you and me, and for everyone out that that smokes marijuana. Similar version to one on Anthology (but better). Mel is just on funkin fire, he is throughout every song. This CD is so bass-heavy its like all the music revolves around Mel's bass playing. It should be Mel Funk Railroad. One Nickel Bag (Mark sings) in this version. Marks guitar work rules it is much like the anthology version but better, Mark is very bluesy, then he is on fire, in a glorious feedback frenzy. This was what GFR was all about, baby. There is even extra juice on the harmonica part. Then it ends in a distorted feedback frenzy. And the fans chant Grand Funk, Grand Funk. This is probably the best power trio version ever. But I will have to give it some time to be sure. Live album's version rules too.
10. Gimme Shelter - (First encore) Marks says "Ah this song is like hmm Are generations national anthem" Kick ass POWER TRIO version. Mark cooks, Mel cooks, Don cooks then all funkin cook. Don sings it in a powerful way (and Mark does as well), Don and Mark's harmonies rule. 7 plus minute version. Don is just pounding his drums as he sings, incredible. Mark starts at the half way point to go nuts on the guitar and rips off some fast bitchin playing. Then Mark holds a long distorted note and GFR keeps it going as they bring the song back up. And then Mark comes back in again with some home cooking fast frenzy guitar playing, then into all kinds of stuff - wait until you hear it. Easily the best GFR version ever. Fans chant for GFR to return. Announcer comes on, asks fans to get off of the stage and he will ask GFR to come back. Give the people some room, spread out,.....etc., someone stole Marks volume peddle and they have to get it back. Well I won't say more, this is funky cool. 1, 2, 3, 4
THIS IS NOT AN ORIGINAL COVER
11. Into The Sun - (final encore) - the funkin' long version. Much the same type of version like Live Album; but not all the damn audience noise tracked over Marks guitar, this version beats live album hands down. Much clearer thren live album, and Mark is ON FIRE! Mel is ON FIRE. Don is ON FIRE. But this is Mark's song to shine and he is shinin on baby. The most obnoxious guitar work you will ever hear, it rules. And no audience noise to block it out. I absolutely LOVE it! Boy, this is the most fun I have had listening to old GFR in three years. 71 had to be the peak live year for GFR. Get that funking video out for God's sake!
The CD sounds great - David Tedds rules. The 24 bit remastering allows one to hear all the distortion in its meant for hearing glory. Its 79 minutes that will fry your ass. Get ready. 79 minutes of wild guitar playing; 79 minutes of pounding drums; 79 minutes of throbbing bass playing. This CD is a GFR fan's wet dream. People get ready. CD is supposed to be released around June 4th 2002.
Sorry no copies, it will be coming out soon, get it then, get two just in case.
See http://www.grandfunkrailroad.com for further details.....
Guitar Player Magazine:
"In its'70's heyday, Grand Funk packed concert venues, sold oodles of
records, and was usually quite viciously slammed by rock scribes for
being talentless and uncool. Live - The 1971 Tour proves the band could be monumentally dorky ("Also Sprach Zarathustra" as opening music? ) but its members were far from no-talent slobs. Throughout these documented shows in Detroit, Chicago and New York, the band is absolutely masterful at igniting an audience and guitarist Mark Farner seems to be on a personal mission to get everyone off. To that end, he unleashes an insane overload of brilliant and pretentious solos, heavy and hilarious riffs and and propulsive rhythm chops. But whether your mouth is open because you're listening in awe or laughing your ass off,you can't deny that Farner and company are fearlessly committed to serving the crowd's need to boogie. Everything else be damned-egos, technique, and, most of all, critics. If you think you've got what it takes to drive an arena audience insane with the pure fury of a single guitar, listen to this CD and prepare to be humbled."
AND OFCOURSE....The Slaughter Must Go On!
Read this typical review: (the song remains the same:-)
Album Review top:
Replacing 1970's out-of-print Live Album, this concert recording from
Detroit, Chicago, and Shea Stadium on the band's enormously successful 1971 tour captures them in all their mega-stadium excess. Extended beyond the breaking point versions of "T.N.U.C." (nearly 18 minutes), "Inside Looking Out" (over 15 minutes, including a pro-pot intro), ten minutes of "Into the Sun," and nine minutes of what has to be the most plodding version of the Stones' "Gimme Shelter" ever recorded for better or worse portray this trio in all their over-the-top glory.
In concert, the least funky band ever to have the word "funk" in their name pounded out tough, workingman rock with as little subtlety as possible, aiming to please the fan sitting in the last row of the stadium. While that may have made for an invigorating concert experience, having to endure this music without the live stage show as distraction is a headache-inducing chore. The sound, while acceptable for 1971 standards, is still brittle and harsh, and Mark Farner's wah-wah-heavy guitar is exactly what Spinal Tap had envisioned with their amps that went to 11.
Since this was recorded in the band's earliest period, none of the more pop elements that gave them the hits that softened their sound are in the set. That leaves this as the definitive live document of these years. It's not nearly as listenable or eclectic as 1975's Caught in the Act, which they recorded as a quartet, but does depict the group in all its uncut power, glory, and volume. Brash, noisy, and abrasive, Grand Funk Railroad earned their money by giving the people what they wanted in a show full of raw energy and blistering hard rock.
In retrospect, its appeal is limited, but if you were there, you'll appreciate this souvenir. If not, after hearing this warts-and-all recording, you may wonder what all the excitement was about.
I am sick and tired of these stupid reviews. The most amazing thing, is that the song remains the same. I don't really know what is bugging these scumbags most - is it the fact that GFR earned recognition among ordinary people - or is it the fact that it was the PEOPLE that discovered this group instead of - and out of control by - THE MEDIA? - Seems to me that a lot of clever brains took this music to their hearts - other less equipped minds took impression of what the so called ESTABLISHMENT said from the very beginning - GFR is a HYPE......THEY CAN'T PLAY!
The ESTABLISHMENT decides the definitions of culture. The establishment decides the definition of funk - for us - the people, the consumers, the music magazine readers.....
BUT... culture is what you do - what you feel - what you experience - by your FREE mind.
It is ugly if it is commercial - It is ugly if it is loud - It is definately ugly if the excitement gets out of control. Thing is: less talented, so called rock heroes, now dead by overdose of drugs and booze, remain icons of the rock history - while Mark Don and Mel, who were brave enough to try and save people from drugs, have to put up with ignorance and disrespect.
My nineteen-year-old son is addicted to the second hard rock wave that started in the late seventies. Thanks to the massive mobbing against GFR, he knew absolutely nothing about Mark, Don and Mel. But he was seeking the roots of heavy metal from common sources. He found a lot of stuff about Purple,Heep and Hendrix - but absolutely NOTHING about GFR. Watching the VH1 - Behind the Music GFR-session, was a very astonishing experience. He was surprised about how BIG this group once was. And ofcourse as confused as I still am, about how it became such an unknown part of the rock history. He likes the music very much - even if he represents a generation that was born just before the third hard rock wave began.
It takes a fool to remain sane
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