Interesting what a mud slide turns up.
Despite the sunny confines of Southern California, sometimes rain rolls through. And sometimes when the rain rolls through a torrential downpour plays out.
Such was the case during the occasional winter while growing up in Orange County. I lived on a hillside neighborhood and when the rains came, and hung around a bit, these super-soakers would saturate the ground resulting in a tornado like choosing of whose hill would slide. The rain might set free the hill behind one house but spare the next door neighbor.
Our hill went one year. This no doubt caused my dad untold stress every year thereafter. However, you could take proactive measures to prevent your hill from sliding by covering it with plastic. This left many homeowners gambling with fate because no hard and fast rule existed to knowing the amount of rain necessary to dump your hill, and putting up the plastic was a day long job, not to mention, a bit treacherous. You wouldn’t lose your home if the hill went but the cost to have the hill reconstructed wasn’t exactly cheap. My dad put plastic on the hill at least once after the slide but he also created a drainage system for the backyard and began covering the backyard lawn with plastic which he believed contributed to over saturating the hill behind our house.
So, what does all this have to do with Grand Funk Railroad?
Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s one of the hills down the street from my house slid into the street. Fun for an adventure seeking boy. And what did I find? A Grand Funk (or Grand Funk Railroad) 45 record single for “We’re An American Band” and on the B side “Creepin’.”
My memory of retrieving the vinyl record has me pulling it from the mudslide though I don’t exactly remember if it was simply on top or partially encased in dirt. I have always wondered how the record was buried only for the hill slide to unearth it (however many years later), which leads me to believe I carefully remove it from the ground.
However, the record shows no sign of having residual mud, the label on one side (“We’re An American Band”) looks near flawless as does the vinyl while the flip side label (“Creepin'”) has some rips and a pretty gnarly scratch on the vinyl. Thus, someone could have tossed it there (for whatever reason) or maybe it fell out of backpack and it waited for me to retrieve on top of dry soil.
“We’re an American Band” and “Creepin’” appeared on the band’s seventh album We’re An American Band from 1973. Known as Grand Funk or Grand Funk Railroad, this eight-song album used the Grand Funk band name. Of the band’s 13 studio albums, band name Grand Funk Railroad was used on just five. The Todd Rundgren produced album featured singer and guitarist Mark Farner, singer and drummer Don Brewer, Mel Schacher on bass and Craig Frost providing the organ, clavinet, electric piano and synthesizer.
Grand Funk Railroad remains active with Brewer and Schacher still in the band.
At any rate, let’s review this classic band and songs!
Grand Funk We’re An American Band / Creepin’ Single Review
More cow bell!
What a great song in “We’re an American Band.” The opening drums, followed by the straight forward guitar melody, instantly makes this a classic song of the 70s and one of Grand Funk Railroad’s best. Fun and upbeat might not have solidified Grand Funk as America’s band, but certainly showed they are an American band.
The record played flawlessly and I have to say listening on vinyl really makes a difference. Though admittedly with technology at my fingertips, how annoying it must have been to play this record single for three and a half minutes only to flip over for the second side.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for “Creepin’” at least in terms of the record’s integrity. Such a promising start too with so much of that classic record static emanating through the speakers but less than 30 seconds in the skipping starts. Thus, I had to resort to technology and listen to “Creepin’” online. A much different song than the title track “Creepin’” relies on kaleidoscopic keyboards and a much slower pace with an extensive play time of more than seven minutes, twice as long as the headlining song. Brewer sang “We’re an American Band” while Farner took vocal duties for “Creepin’.”
This was probably my first time listening to “Creepin’” only because the record skipped and after all these years I never bothered to hit up any of today’s streaming services. Rather psychedelic in nature with heavy guitar, yep, I can see some basement filled smoke with this one on in the background. Comparing the two singers, Farner plays a better guitar than singer while Brewer excels at both mic duties and hitting the skins.
The two songs bleed 70s rock but each taking a different approach to the sound of the era making much marketing sense in terms of encouraging an album sale.
Grand Funk Railroad – We’re An American Band:
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Grand Funk Railroad – Creepin’:
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