GFR's absolute low point...and that cover..ouch !
Misha Bendavid | Austin, Texas United States | 06/02/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As a fan of the band since early 1970, there can be no doubt amongst those who know their music well: "What's Funk ?" was a mistake from the start. It was the second and final, release of their early 80's reunion. The first "Grand Funk Lives" was hardly the band's pinnacle, but at least it had 4-5 solid tracks and didn't have to fight against easily the most awfully conceived and unfortunate cover design of the bands 15 album career. Nine years earlier, singer.guitarist Mark Farner wondered out loud " I wanna know what happened to the revolution " Well, it was long gone before the mostly useless tracks on this ill-fated mess shamlessly turned the Washington Monument into a cheap phallic symbol. Tasteless only begins to describe this affront.
The record was to be produced by Gary Lyons, who had done some fine work with Styx, Thin Lizzy, and others. But two weeks into the sessions, Lyons succumbed to the rigors of a long term cocaine habit, and was hospitalized. Former Ted Nugent drummer Cliff Davies hurriedly jumped in to replace him, but even the jumper cables on the cover couldn't have energized the stiff, drab lineup of tracks on "What's Funk." The jumbled production doesn't help with the three tracks that deserved better fates.
"Borderline" is a catchy shuffle-ballad with substantial single potential, were it released in 1963 instead of 1983. "Rock And Roll American Style " is a punchy slab of radio fodder that seems to have missed it's calling in a beer commercial soundtrack. While it just barely fails to recapture the frat-boy appeal of "We're An American Band", it does play a clever gag on it's listeners, by copping a riff from Rush's "Spirit Of Radio" while simultaneously reminding us that Canadians not didn't invent rock, Farner's ticker would call it a day if you dared suggest it. "I'm So True" could be the best song on a pretty bad record, had Lyons not turned on a cheap drum machine in between heaving flake off the mirror. This mid-tempo pop song features the a video-game style click-clack that has probably been a subliminal cue for many a serial killer. It is so oppressively obnoxious that GFR Drummer Don Brewer, having been at loggerheads with Farner for over a decade, refused a major label offer to re-master, re-package and re-release the two reunion records. "they didn't click with fans, then " he said diplomatically. " my guess is they'd go 'thud' a second time around "
In answer to the album title's query, that sort of honest, no-nonsense attitude is funk. With three possible exceptions, there's none to be found here."
Funk para fãs
Alexandre A. Prado | São Paulo, Brasil | 02/01/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Disco para completistas e fãs do Grand Funk.
Destaque para Rock & Roll American Style e El Salvador, que lembram um GFR forte e influenciador de tendências.
Junto com Grand Funk Lives, deixe para comprar por último."