In the new millennium, artists who own record labels are licensing their material once available on major labels and re-releasing it, often with new liner notes and bonus tracks. Grand Funk Railroad's Mark Farner and his partner in Lismark Entertainment, Steve Lisuk, have done just that with Grand Funk's two Warner Bros. releases, What's Funk? and Grand Funk Lives, now adding this combination to the solo music from the group leader, the Mark Farner and No Frills albums that were originally released on Atlantic. Having the 19 songs on compact disc is the first part of the treat. The other surprise is the generous 14-page booklet chock-full of photographs and commentary by Kristofer Engelhardt, the author of From Grand Funk to Grace, Mark Farner's authorized biography. Having the biographer put the music in perspective is a rare thing, and it makes for a great read while listening to this material all over again. Farner does a great job on Engelhardt's good friend Doris Troy's song, "Just One Look," as he does with the Percy Sledge classic "When a Man Loves a Woman." The other 17 tracks are fine Mark Farner originals from the Dick Wagner-produced, self-titled first solo album No Frills, the disc produced by Jimmy Iovine. The mastering is excellent, with titles like "All the Love You Give Me" and "Cool Water" translating very well to the world of digital. For those who have played the vinyl into the ground, the Dave Schultz and Bill Inglot mastering will surprise, enhancing the original sound. This is a re-release of the limited-edition 2000 release Heirlooms: The Complete Atlantic Sessions, 1977-1978 with expanded liner notes.
AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione