Closer to Home

Closer to Home

Grand Funk roared straight out of factory-fed Flint, Mich., playing a spare and bluesy rock 'n' roll that out-working-classed all other proletariat anthemers from Michigan, including The MC5 and The Bob Segar Sound System. Despite critical scorn and almost no support from Top 40 radio, Grand Funk famously sold out Shea Stadium faster than The Beatles, less than a year after this 1970 LP (the band’s third in 12 months) was released. “I’m Your Captain” is the apex here: a 10-minute FM anthem whose string outro, hypnotic sea sounds, and lyrical leitmotif became a hymn for Vietnam soldiers longing for home. Other great minutes include a wiry song of emotional abuse with a non-gender-specific POV (“Mean Mistreater”), an existential self-questioner complete with panning wah-wah guitar (“Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother”), and a groovefest atop a sideways “Day Tripper” riff (“I Don’t Have to Sing the Blues.”) In all, Closer to Home is a fascinating sonic glimpse into post-hippie, post-Manson 1970: part political naiveté and topical fear, part anger and unironic rock 'n' roll.

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