2017 firsts

First New Listen: Grand Funk Railroad Closer to Home


I picked up this album as an inexpensive save the shipping throw-in on a November Discogs order.  I have six Grand Funk Railroad records.  Some I’ve listened to and some I haven’t.  I have varying reactions to their records.

Generally I like the solid rock roots of their music.  Whether it is “We’re an American Band” or “I’m your Captain,” Grand Funk is true to their blues based no-nonsense rock and roll, but more melodic than Black Sabbath or the other heavy sounding bands massing on the fringes of 1970 rock.

Unfortunately, it’s what they say that causes me consternation.  There is a callous indifference to the dignity of women that put their music out of time and place.  Though this is ’70’s music, I felt my breath suck in rapidly as Mark Farner dismissed the role of his “woman” serving him, and compared her to a dog. Really. Maybe it’s just my 21st century sensibilities

Closer to Home is a solid record.  Grand Funk’s third album has the best production values of its early work, including strings and some accoustic songs. The shining moment may be “I’m Your Captain,” an interesting nine minute opus that is eminently listenable and hummable.

This record was a great way to start the year.

First Purchases

I had been able to hold off my symptoms of addiction for a week, but when my wife invited me out to a couple of estate sales this weekend, I couldn’t restrain myself. No I couldn’t find anything worthwhile at the sales, but I did convince her it was okay to stop by High Voltage in Tacoma for a looksee.

I had some albums in mind.  I am completely sold on a couple of albums by Sam and Dave, and a couple of albums by The Guess Who, but sadly I struck out on both.  Knowing I had little time, with my fingers on my phone and my Discogs wantlist, I was able to pick up a copy of English Settlement by XTC, El Dorado by Electric Light Orchestra, and a decent copy of Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy out of the bargain bin.


In November I put out a Facebook request to my friends asking what albums might be integral to their music collection.  English Settlement and Skylarking by XTC were a couple of those records.  I confess to having no knowledge of their music, but I’m anxious to give it a try.


Electric Light Orchestra goes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.  I confess to not being a huge fan, but at my son Patrick’s urging I’m going to give El Dorado a try.  It’s highly rated on Allmusic.com, my only reservation being that it is a thematic record.  We’ll see.  It’s supposed to be ELO’s first great record, and is their first effort combining rock and orchestra.


The last album is probably Elton John’s last great hurrah. I used to dismiss anything Elton John after Yellow Brick Road, but I’ve taken a different perspective after multiple listens to Caribou. This record also closes out my Elton John collection-certainly not all his LP’s, but all those I want. I’m excited to give this a listen to see what I get.


This morning I ordered a very nice and reasonably priced copy of a 2012 Stax re-pressing of Sam and Dave’s Hold on I’m Coming from a  Discogs seller. Sam and Dave were such great performers on the Stax label, and I’m super-excited to have it in my collection.  The title track is a wonderful song and the whole album gets great reviews.  This was one of my must-gets for 2017, so obtaining a buyer-friendly copy is good, $12 plus reasonable shipping is great.

Hope you’re finding some great music to listen to in the new year.  My hope is not just that I keep adding to my collection, but that I find new artists and genres to appreciate.  Thanks for following along


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