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Old 03-01-2013, 07:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Grand Funk's Survival Album

This was the band's fourth album and it came out on the heels of their live double album. First off the cover depicts the band members as cave men which I always thought gave off three thoughts of mind. Primitive, savage like and living off the land which Grand Funk seemed to embrace in past songs.
They seemed so comfortable in their success they actually did covers of Feeling Alright and Give Me Shelter which were done quite well in my opinion.
Considering the album only had a total of seven songs on it that only gave the listening fan five new offerings from the band. Like the old saying it's not quantity it's quality that wins out in the end which Grand funk lives up to here!
Country Road opens the album which is perfect with the typical familiar Farner vocals followed by the crushing bass lines and drum beats.
All You've Got Is Money is another lesson from Grand Funk about the American value system which is also a classic Grand Funk style song. Comfort Me is a bit of a ballad and passes the test. All of a sudden we are treated to a cover of Fellin' Alright acceptable on numerous levels. I Want Freedom harkens back to the quality of I'm Your Captain with a little re-working.
Another swipe at a longer style Grand Funk song with voice overs in I Can Feel Him In The Morning enlists some deep thought via some young children's spoken words. A interesting song which speaks to Grand Funk's views on certain political subjects. To close out the album the band chose to do a cover of the Stones Give Me Shelter. One can't help, but wonder why a band so popular as Grand Funk at this time chose to do two covers on their album, but that just may be why they did to keep us wondering......
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I actually have that album, and it's a good one. I Want Freedom and I Can Feel... actually work great with headphones.

As for the covers, it might be a mixture of things although my guesses are two main thoughts - 1) They played them well and were concert favorites and 2) Knowing how many albums bands were recording at that time in such a short time space (Sometimes it could be up to two a year...although in playing time it usually adds up to 1 CD), so covers were sometimes a good way to fill up the album as to not to over-use the creativity. In their prime, they did a number of covers, but it's possible that Producer/Then-Manager Terry Knight wanted something released very quick to keep the fame going as it was their fifth in two years and released about a half year after Live Album.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Personally I'd say Survival was one of the weakest albums in their discography.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Personally I don't think it was the fact that they did not have enough time to write more new material because wasn't their previous album just songs which they had already written quite some time ago and just played live on their double album?
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would also offer the observation that the entire album is better then their next effort Phoenix. Too much organ and they seemed in my opinion to be trying too hard to sound far removed from their previous style sound........gone was the paralysing bass lines and thunderous drumming sequences.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by neardeathexperience View Post
Personally I don't think it was the fact that they did not have enough time to write more new material because wasn't their previous album just songs which they had already written quite some time ago and just played live on their double album?
Being their fourth studio album in four years with a lot of touring to go for them, and if it was a rushed situation, it was possibly a decision between the band and Terry Knight to go for a couple of covers. Their first three albums were released within a time span a year, and there were a lot of standards that they possibly felt that they had to live up to, especially with "I'm Your Captain" already being a major favorite with their fans and FM Rock radio. The originals on that album certainly showed that they were trying to keep up the quality of their music, but I can imagine them doing some double checking on their writing. GFR's covers were a good way to keep the listeners interested, so it was a good move in the long run, although their critics were possibly getting their typewriters ready for a downfall that did not happen.

The odd thing was that the covers were two of the three singles from the album! "Feelin' Alright" was #54 in The US where "Gimme Shelter" was #61" on the Billboard. Another single was "I Can Feel Him in the Morning" which did not chart, but I'm thinking it was a UK release (The Wiki article stated a three-track EP with "Mean Mistreater" and "Are You Ready").

I can see Survival being the one that has listeners divided.

To me, it is a good GFR album, but it did suggest that things were a little strained through heavy work and trying to live up to what they did in the space of the first year. The message songs, especially "I Can Feel..." (a major aim for the Critics of the album), might also be seen as trying too hard as well. Still, the musicianship is still very much solid.

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Old 03-03-2013, 01:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would also offer the observation that the entire album is better then their next effort Phoenix. Too much organ and they seemed in my opinion to be trying too hard to sound far removed from their previous style sound........gone was the paralysing bass lines and thunderous drumming sequences.
The next was E Pluribus Funk, with a VERY classy cover! Some might say that was a rebound album with "Footstompin' Music" and "Upsetter" being the singles. This was the time when they fired Knight as their Manager.

Then came Phoenix (Knight is no longer the manager, a keyboardist is brought in, updated sound...rising like a phoenix, perhaps?).

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Old 03-03-2013, 06:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=Screen13;1292529]The next was E Pluribus Funk, with a VERY classy cover! Some might say that was a rebound album with "Footstompin' Music" and "Upsetter" being the singles. This was the time when they fired Knight as their Manager.

Then came Phoenix (Knight is no longer the manager, a keyboardist is brought in, updated sound...rising like a phoenix, perhaps?).[/QUOTE
Yes sorry I skipped the E Pluribus one. Sadly the Phoenix should have stayed grounded in my opinion until they regrouped and recaptured their original sound.
Just my opinion and perhaps in the long run their choice to mix it up a bit with more members in the band and a different sound may have actually endeared them to a new audience...........
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