ARTIST: Grand Funk Railroad
TITLE: Closer to Home
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #6
SINGLES: Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother, Close to Home (#22)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Mean Mistreater
LINEUP: Mark Farner, Don Brewer, Mel Schachter
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The third album (in 10 months!) moves the band into the superstar status (based on album sales and concert attendance). But it’s maddeningly inconsistent.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: At their best (“I’m Your Captain / Closer to Home”), Grand Funk Railroad can create timeless rock-and-roll. Yet, most every other track here has flaws in either lyrics (“Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother” is just full of nonsense), music (they’re not balladeers), or execution (the backing vocals for “Hooked on Love”? Oh, man).
“Aimless Lady” is about the only other track that doesn’t have a noticeable flaw. The songs rock hard enough (except for the ballads) that their flaws can be papered over if you just focus on the rock. Even the sexist tripe can almost pass for acceptable if you just turn off the lyrics.
Still, a record with “I’m Your Captain…” is worth at least a small investment.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The single version of the title track was half of the length, and there’s been at least five or six ways that track has been listed among albums by the band.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, live cuts and a different mix of “Mean Mistreater”
GRADE: B-: One classic, and a few songs just not all the way there. They’re kind of a frustrating group, to be honest.