Grand Funk Railroad

Greatest Hits

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Grand Funk Railroad took their veiled Motown/Stax influences and grafted them onto a fuzz-drenched hard blues-rock template, and muffler dragging roared out of Flint, Michigan like the little engine that could, confounding the critics and building an impressive record sales portfolio in the 1970s by giving their ardent, blue-collar fans no more and no less than what was expected of them. Distilled into a 14-track greatest-hits set like this one, it's easy to see that Grand Funk (they dropped -- then re-added -- the "Railroad" part of their name as the juggernaut rolled on) was essentially a singles band (although their albums did phenomenally well back in the day) with not a whole lot to say but a knack for saying it really well, which, when you think about it, is usually a sure ticket into the Top 40. Greatest Hits has all the essential jukebox fare (lacking only their so-so cover of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter"), including the clich├ęd but emotionally right "Heartbreaker," everybody's favorite guilty pleasure, the mock epic "I'm Your Captain," and a pair of pop-soul gems, the group's cover of the Soul Brothers Six's "Some Kind of Wonderful," and Mark Farner's best-ever song, the marvelous "Bad Time," which came complete with cellos and fuzz guitar. For most, this single-disc collection will be more than adequate, but listeners looking for the complete Grand Funk story should check out Capitol's three-disc Thirty Years of Funk from 1999, or the four-disc Trunk of Funk, also from Capitol, released in 2002. The very best is here, though.

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