“We’re an American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad

Grand Funk Railroad are admittedly not as terrible as critics at the time would have you believe—their brand of blistering, bluesy Party-Rock was actually pretty satisfying on the surface. The problem is that they lacked any sort of depth. It’s not just that they couldn’t write decent lyrics to save their lives (though that certainly didn’t help)…it’s the fact that their version of Blues-Rock, while never short on force or heat, lacked the Soul that is supposed to be the very foundation of the Blues.

This song is a perfect illustration of that problem…it’s a blatant rip-off of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band”, but if you listen to the two side by side, it’s clear that even at twice that song’s length this imitation pales in comparison to the real thing. I think these guys were trying to lay claim to the genre-defying cultural niche that Creedence’s breakup had left open, but it turned out to be Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that rocked as hard as Grand Funk but actually had depth and intelligence in their songwriting, that wound up filling that role for most of the Seventies.

As I said, this band isn’t the abomination most Rock critics make them out to be, and they can be a rather fun listen if you’re not looking for anything too meaningful. But with so many other bands from that era that were doing essentially the same thing only vastly better, it’s kind of hard to seriously recommend them.

Verdict: Not awful, but why would you listen to these guys when you could be listening to Creedence or Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers?

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