GRAND FUNK RAILROAD -- E Pluribus Funk/Caught in the Act (Capitol)

On August 15th, Capitol began the task of reissuing the classic albums one of America's most commercially successful bands of the late '60's and early 70's -- Grand Funk Railroad. Starting with 1971's excellent "E Pluribus Funk", Capitol is digitally remastering the band's entire catalog, minus the compilation albums. Included in the series are the two best-selling Todd Rundgren-produced albums "We're an American Band" and "Shinin' On" (which featured Rundgren on guitar on "Carry Me Through").

Though they were almost unanimously panned by critics, those who witnessed the band in concert knew they were destined for greatness. Alternative country rockers The Jayhawks did a cover of GFR's "Bad Time" on their latest CD. Legend has it that Prince named his first band, Grand Central, in homage to Grand Funk.

Never before available on CD in the United States, "E Pluribus Funk" contains some of the band's best material -- the concert opener "Footstompin' Music", "Upsetter", and the epic track "Loneliness". Though the original artwork and lyrics from the original album are intact on "E Pluribus", the remaster is not without its flaws -- there is a lot of hiss on the CD. It's too bad that there wasn't more care taken in the mastering process on this one. Musically, "E Pluribus" is one of their best albums and a favorite among fans.

Capitol did a much better job with the second title in the series -- one of the greatest live albums of all time -- "Caught in the Act". Long out of print, "Caught in the Act" contains energetic renditions of the band's biggest hits up to that time, as well as a few album tracks thrown in to keep things interesting and keep you jamming through out the summer months.

This marks the second reissue of "Caught in the Act" for Capitol. The first one edited some of the songs from the original 1975 double album to fit on a single CD. The introduction to Black Licorice is restored on the new reissue, as is the fade-in introduction to Heartbreaker. Unfortunately, even without the time constraint of an album side to deal with, Capitol still has not seen fit to release the CD with "Closer to Home" segueing into "Heartbreaker" as originally performed. "T.N.U.C." remains in its edited form on the reissue as well. On the positive side -- the cover art from the original album has been restored, and the sound quality on the new CD is excellent.

With the Capitol reissues, new fans will now be able to discover one of America's most influential bands -- Grand Funk Railroad. So sit back and enjoy these classic tunes on a beautiful day in your yard with that american flag flying high up on the flag pole.

© 1997 Steve Marshall