Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"All the Girls in the World Beware!!!" by Grand Funk Railroad (1974)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

Filed between: Goose Creek Symphony and Eddy Grant

Fun Fact:
This gets my vote for one of the worst major label album covers of all time

Obvious filler & Swings-and-Misses:
It's like they wanted to lead the LP off with the two worst tracks - Responsibilty and Runnin'...

Key Tracks:
...And it's like they were just killing time until they got to the last two tracks - Bad Time and Some Kind of Wonderful.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Average (2/4 stars)

Unless you remember them coming onto the scene, it's almost impossible to recall your first memory of a musical artist, what with all the radio and video and so on - especially one so ubiquitous to classic rock as Grand Funk.  I can honestly say that this is one of the bands that predates my memory, but I still remember exactly when they popped up on my radar.

I wish I could tell you that it was that awesome Simpsons Lalapalooza episode where Homer breaks down the members of the band in exquisite fashion, but that's not the case.

It has to do with the very small town I grew up in.  How small was it?  I'm glad you asked.  There were only three radio stations that came in: the adult contemporary station, the pop station and the classic country station.  Cable TV didn't come around until I was ten.  So, you listened to what you knew and you took what you could get.  We didn't have a record store; we didn't even have department store at the time.  What we did have was, for all intents and purposes, a general store.  In retrospect, it had a phenomenal music selection (all on cassette, of course), especially when it came to heavy metal and classic rock.

I bought lots of tapes there.  One of which was a one-band-per-side compliation.  I had bought it for the A-side - Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  BTO had wandered across my radar and I knew I liked their sound.  Basically, I knew I liked Let It Ride and You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, so I bought this tape.  On the flipside was America's answer to BTO - Grand Funk Railroad.  For the most part, I thought it was okay but pretty much standard, forgettable four-man rock.  At that time, I was unaware that We're an American Band was supposed to be an anthem.

But there was one song that dug its hooks deep into me.  It sounded like Beatles-via-seventies-pop and that was something I was really into.  (Blame it on the adult contemporary station.)  The song was called Bad Time and it spoke to me for reasons I still can't really articulate.  I loved that song then, and I still love hearing it now.  It was only a minor hit, especially when stuffed onto the same LP as Some Kind of Wonderful, but it was MY song and it connected me to something great about music.

Years later, I saw Mark Farner play live.  And when he started singing the intro to Bad Time, I was immediately transported back to something that wasn't a record store and a vibe I have never been able to shake.

So, is it an album?  No.  Sadly, it's just a collection of songs.

Up next, we go country again with "Young Love" by Sonny James.

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