By 1975, Grand Funk Railroad had reached a new level of fame and fortune thanks to pop-friendly albums like We're an American Band and Shinin' On. However, they had not dropped the turbo-charged rock & roll that built their early success and that fact is proven by this exciting double-live album. Caught in the Act covers all the highlights of their catalog up to that point, including both the major hits and a generous sampling of album-track favorites. All the songs benefit from the amped-up live atmosphere and several improve over the studio versions thanks to the consistent high level of energy that the band pours into each tune. The best example is the latter phenomenon one-two punch of the albums' opening tracks: "Footstompin' Music" leaps out of the speakers with a galloping beat and pulsing organ that effortlessly outstrips its album version, then the band smoothly segues into a barnstorming, revamped version of "Rock 'N' Roll Soul" that tacks an infectious "Nothin' but a party" chant onto the song's beginning. Even the hits add new frills that keep them feeling like rote run-throughs: "The Loco Motion" is soulfully fleshed out by the addition of female backing vocals and hard rock muscle applied to "Black Licorice" transforms it into a speedy, fist-pumping rocker. Another big highlight is the atmospheric version of "Closer to Home," which sports a tighter, more complex arrangement than its studio counterpart and makes an excellent showcase for Craig Frost's skills on a variety of keyboard (he nimbly recreates the song's orchestral coda with an elegant performance on the Mellotron). The end result is a live album that is the equal of the studio's best studio-recorded outings. Simply put, Caught in the Act is a necessity for Grand Funk Railroad fans and may even attract non-fans with its effective combination of energy and instrumental firepower.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco