Grand Funk Railroad

Good Singin', Good Playin'

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After the surprisingly dark and subdued Born to Die, Grand Funk Railroad's original lineup rallied to record one more album in 1976. Also onboard was an unlikely choice of producer, avant-garde rock king Frank Zappa. As odd as this marriage may seem, the end result is one of the best albums in the Grand Funk Railroad canon. Zappa's production forsakes the high-gloss style that dominated the rest of their mid-'70s output, instead opting for a live-in-the-studio approach with minimal overdubs. This style works well, allowing the group to funnel the solid songcraft they had developed during their hitmaking years into a loose, energetic soundscape that harkens back to the finest moments of their early power-trio output. Indeed, songs like "Can You Do It" and "Out to Get You" (featuring a guest guitar solo from Zappa) crackle with the kind of hard rock energy that had been lost on All The Girls in the World Beware and Born to Die. However, the songs do not get buried under the power-trio theatrics: "Just Couldn't Wait" is a dynamic fusion of pop hooks and rock firepower that highlights the group's oft-underrated harmonies and "Release Your Love" injects catchy singalong choruses to a country-inflected slice of rock. Another highlight is "Miss My Baby," an anguished, epic power ballad that shows off the group's sound at its most subtle and atmospheric. To sum up, Good Singin' Good Playin' is an album that will please the group's fans and may even win over other classic rock enthusiasts with its combination of well-crafted songs and gutsy, no-frills production.

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