All The Girls In The World Beware!!!

Grand Funk Railroad

Capitol, 1974

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


First things first: This album is nowhere near as corny as its title or truly awful cover art. It’s also the final reasonably successful album the band would make, containing their final two big hits, “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and “Bad Time.”

Like any Grand Funk album, there is more to it than the major hits, and unlike other albums, this disc is packed with a surprising number of advances on the band’s sound. Only one year prior, We’re An American Band had rejuvenated these guys – they added a new manager and a keyboard player in recent years – and that carries over here with Chicago-style horns, strings, hints of soul and a sense of fun missing from more serious mid-period albums like Survival.

“Life” is one of the better mid-period Funk songs that sounds like it should have been on E Pluribus Funk but was shelved. Punched up with keyboards and Mark Farner’s shouting of the title before leading into various lines of the verses, not to mention a fine guitar solo and a general sense of dramatic flair, it’s a reminder of this band’s often-overlooked depth.

“Responsibility” is as mediocre and dull as a song this band ever recorded; putting it as the opening track was a lousy move, but it is redeemed by the horn section and general grinning of “Runnin’,” which flies by in four minutes (“Responsibility” is the same length but feels twice as long). “Look At Granny Run Run” is ridiculously cheesy, sounding like a Ray Stevens song played absolutely straight,” and coming after “Life” and “Runnin’” is disingenuous at best. It’s the kind of song that should be buried toward the end. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Bad Time” and “Memories” are two takes on a power ballad, the former an efficient, catchy tune and perfect hit single and the latter a slow, country-styled ballad laden with strings that coalesces into something more, a feat these guys couldn’t pulled off a few years ago. The title song veers into the ridiculous with its cartoonish title character, but the song’s conga drums, keyboard swishes and funky bass make the song pop; at one point, only the congas and bass duel with each other, until Craig Frost’s keyboard guide the song back. It’s a creative approach that pushes the band in a direction one wishes they had explored sooner, or attempted to explore further.

Same goes for the Gothic overtones of “Good & Evil,” which rides a staccato, bottom-end bluesy bass riff for seven minutes while Farner’s mechanically-altered voice growls something sinister and Frost sustains his keyboard notes to create something ominous yet still catchy. The song doesn’t quite work because of its length and Farner shouting the title every so often, which catches the listener off guard and is unintentionally funny, but it’s still interesting and shows a band willing to push forward, like much of this album.

“Some Kind Of Wonderful” is the opposite, making the most of a one-note bass gallop for the band’s second-catchiest soul-pop cover song. It still receives solid radio airplay; in the context of this album, it sounds even better, yet another experiment with the sound on a disc full of them. It should have been the leadoff song, with “Responsibility” shunted to the end, but fans found it anyway and made it a hit.

The sweaty, blue-collar, blues-based and lyrically hopeless Grand Funk takes a backseat here; with a few exceptions, like “Life” and the so-so “Wild,” the band forges new paths and twists and the album is better for it. For those just discovering the band beyond the hits packages or fans who may have overlooked this one, All The Girls boasts more than a few gems worthy of unearthing.

Rating: B

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