Caught In The Act

Grand Funk Railroad

Capitol, 1975

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


For some reason, it was mandatory for all arena rock acts in the late 70s to put out a double live album. Kiss, Peter Frampton, Genesis, Ted Nugent, and now Grand Funk. Much like those others, this captures the band at a sweaty peak; after this, their popularity and songwriting would drop off considerably with the bleak my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Born to Die album.

Because they write basic rock and roll, the band sounds far better live than in the studio on most days, and this is simply an exciting concert document that also works as an overview of the band's career. A few mundane tracks are here, sure, and the lyrics are as simple as ever, but in this context - with the audience playing along - the experience is better than you would expect.

The addition of keyboard player Craig Frost adds some juice to the sound, elevating songs like "Footstompin' Music" and "Rock and Roll Soul," far better here than the studio counterparts. "Black Licorice" and "The Railroad," album tracks from the smash hit We're an American Band, combine with the overplayed title track to keep the momentum going. Even "The Locomotion," "Some Kind of Wonderful" and "Shinin' On" improve in this setting. The live warhorse "T.N.U.C." is shortened and therefore improved, a relic from the early days worth hearing, and "Inside Looking Out" is another highlight. Only "Gimme Shelter" fails to generate heat save for Mark Farner's guitar solo at the end.

Points are docked for "I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)," because that seemed more of a studio creation and it cannot be recreated live with the same majesty. Worse, the song simply fades out near the beginning of the "Closer to Home" portion.

If you'd written off Grand Funk, this may be the place to start, as it captures them at their commercial and creative peak and showcases the live energy this Michigan band could create. Not every track is worthwhile, but a solid two-thirds of them show that this band could deliver the goods as well as any party-ready rock band of the 1970s.

Rating: B

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© 2006 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.