E Pluribus Funk

Grand Funk Railroad

Capitol Records, 1971


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Have you ever had what I call a "it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time" moment? Maybe it was in response to your new hairstyle, or that tattoo on your butt. (One case I remember was a night trying a combinations of Seagram's and Dr. Pepper - I think I drank the equivalent of motor oil that night.) (Editor's note: I wish I was making that last statement up - it really happened.)

I had another one of theose moments when I was digging through the Pierce Memorial Archives (I dust about as often as the Chicago Blackhawks win a game), and stumbled across Grand Funk Railroad's 1972 release E Pluribus Funk. I thought, hmm, I do like the song "Footstompin' Music," and I haven't listened to this one for some years...

Well, you can fill in the blank here. One listen and I knew why I had neglected this one for eons. (Had my wife been home at the time, she would have been climbing the walls in frustration.) Mark Farner and crew sink to new lows on this release - never mind the fact they would rebound with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 We're An American Band. It's not often I use the term "sucks" for an album, but this one truly does.

Okay, "Footstompin' Music" is an incredibly simplistic tune, but it still has enough spark to make me get up and dance. Unfortunately, this one song can't save the album - and if I'm that desparate to hear it, I can go to one of the greatest-hits collections.

After riding the brief high, the band kicks into "People, Let's Stop The War," and it's into the time capsule to travel back to the Vietnam War era. As a protest song, Dylan these guys ain't. Never mind the fact it's 25 years later, I doubt this song moved anyone to burn their draft card or do some outrageous shit when it came out. I think of protest songs, I think of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth," not this stuff.

I wish I could say something kind about the rest of the album - the nicest thing I could say is that time passes quickly when you listen to it. In other words, it's forgettable. Farner, drummer Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher always had a penchant for writing songs that lasted longer than the plot of Showgirls (uggh - excuse me while I rinse my mouth out), but even these are pathetic attempts.

Looking back, though, one wonders if we can completely blame the band for this lame album. Remember, right around this time, they split with long-time manager Terry Knight, a split which was anything but friendly. Knight was the "mastermind" and controlling force behind the band up to this time. So... one wonders if Knight had a major hand in creating this turkey. (One positive word about E Pluribus Funk - the "coin" packaging is unique, though it is a bitch to find among my vinyl... and it occasionally rolls off the shelf.)

But Chris, you say, you found one redeeming feature on E Pluribus Funk - surely that alone is reason enough not to give it an "F". One word - wrong . I can't justify buying this album for one semi-decent song - though the band was kind enough to make it the first track, meaning you can easily skip over the rest.

Grand Funk was a band that lived and died by the hit single; their albums tended to be hit or miss. E Pluribus Funk is a big miss, and is best left alone. Remember, In Chris We Trust...

Christ, I can't believe I just said that.

Rating: F

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.