Year 6, Day 27: Grand Funk Railroad – We’re an American Band
- We’re an American Band
- Stop Lookin Back
- Black Licorice
- The Railroad
- Ain’t Got Nobody
- Walk Like a Man
- Loneliest Rider
About the Album
We’re an American Band is the seventh studio album from American rock band, Grand Funk (Grand Funk Railroad). The album was recorded June 12th through 15th 1973 and released one month later on July 15th 1973 through Capitol Records. The album peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 and single We’re and American Band peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Thoughts on the Album
It’s hard to believe that only genre I really ever listened to was classic rock. I guess I have my dad to thank for that; for playing classic rock and oldies radio stations in the car on car rides and during bath time when I was wee lad. I was introduced to a shit-ton of awesome bands and songs. One such band is Grand Funk Railroad and their album We’re an American Band. I’ll let Homer Simpson explain it.
Grand Funk Railroad, better known as Grand Funk, was one of the bigger names in American hard rock throughout the 1970’s. The band hiring Todd Rundgren, who was a rock artist in his own right, to produce the album was the best thing they did. Gone was the muddy predecessors that just plodded along aimlessly, in was a tight, sharp, and concise album that could fill arenas.
The album opens with the titled track, We’re an American Band, an autobiographical song about life on the road as a band. The track is the pinnacle of the album and the fact, is the opener, makes perfect sense. The track was the band’s biggest hit and for good reason. That opening drum fill combined with a killer, instantly recognizable riffs and that thunderous bass just own. Absolute ownage. Don Brewer‘s vocals and drum work on the track are excellent and his songwriting is sharp and strong. Did I mention it has a cowbell on it? Oh yeah.
Now then, Walk Like a Man is an incredibly infectious, shout-along song. Especially with it’s chorus, I found myself shouting along to it, as if I was there in the crowd. The electric piano riff and the heavy drums emphasize the more “machismo” nature of the song. Mark Farner‘s vocals are great and the bride of the track shows off the band’s ability to jam. Farner‘s vocals also works excellently with the soaring guitar licks. The Railroad opens with a strange psychedelic rock organ riff before a quiet guitar melody takes over and provides a great (and pretty interesting) backing for Farner‘s vocals. The hook in the chorus goes heavy on the arena rock infectiousness. The bridge in the middle of this six minute affair highlights Farner‘s skills on guitar, along with Brewer‘s manic and pounding drums. Creepin’ is a perfect name for that track title as it slowly creeps along. The low and smooth bass grooves along and blends together excellently with the subtle organ work of Craig Frost. The killer guitar solos from Farner are another highlight from this track.
Nobody knows the band Grand Funk? The wild, shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher? The competent drum work of Don Brewer? Oh, man!
Sadly Homer, not many do. But for those that do, it’s because of We’re an American Band, an album that is a piece of American rock and roll history. It’s an album that paved the way for both hard rock and arena rock in the United States. Grand Funk did what they had to do: instead of writing some pretentious concept album or some artistic ingenuity. No. We’re an American Band is a simple album that appeals to the masses. It’s an album that was carefree and lived up to the attitudes of the 1970’s.
Grand Funk Railroad paved the way for Jefferson Airplane, which cleared the way for Jefferson Starship. The stage was now set for the Alan Parsons Project, which I believe was some sort of hovercraft…
Now then, for more information on Grand Funk, consult your school library!