Mark Farner

For the People

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If you take the guitar riff from Santana's "Smooth" and shake it up in a blender with Edwyn Collins sublime "A Girl Like You," the result will be one of Mark Farner's best tracks since "Bad Time," a catchy pop tune he calls "Nadean" on what could be the Grand Funk lead singer's most important solo effort in the close to 30 years that he's been making music full-time without Mel Schacher and Don Brewer. The 11 songs on For the People contain more hits than misses, though, from the beautifully Hendrixian "Cry Baby" to the elegant and post-'80s-and-into-the-new-millennium "Girl." Sure the titles have been utilized by Garnet Mimms and the Beatles, respectively, but these are originals exuding the R&B that Farner is so enamored of, along with those pop sensibilities that he's totally capable of but has kept from his audience for much too long. The opening track, "For the People," has the same theme as the Rolling Stones "Sweet Neo Con" -- and keep in mind Mark Farner is a hardcore conservative. Perhaps it is sub-conscious Bush bashing beginning with "there's a ghost in the White House" borrowing the group Boston's "Rock & Roll Band" vibrations bubbling under words like "...but we no longer prosper" and "we can't even pay the interest on the money these idiots borrow...." Can't disagree with the sentiment but, just as it is wise not to talk politics or religion, Farner has done both. He makes up for it with "Symptoms," the real sleeper on this disc -- a song that will come up behind you and reveal true staying power.

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