Clear evidence that Grand Funk Railroad was more musical than the critics of the day would have one believe is found in the grooves of Reflections, a dozen songs released on Cameo/Parkway as a follow-up to Terry Knight & the Pack's self-titled debut on the Cameo/Parkway-distributed Lucky Eleven label. Terry Knight still can't sing, but he does a better job than Lord Sutch the second time around. Engineered by the brilliant Joe Tarsia, with orchestration arranged and conducted by Richard Rome, the worst thing about this album, as with the band's debut, is the voice of Knight.
Interesting Spanish guitar flavors canvas the ballad "Dirty Lady," while tired '60s "yeah yeah's" resonate throughout "Love Goddess of the Sunset Strip." Terry Knight's absolute lack of talent really helps one appreciate his contemporaries, Sky Saxon, Rudy Martinez, Alex Chilton, and especially Don Brewer and Mark Farner. Listen to the legit bootleg Monumental Funk to really hear how tremendous this band is without the producer and alleged singer. Side one is not nearly as embarrassing as what follows; "Forever & a Day," for example, is a dreadful quasi-nursery rhyme. Knight may be more on key here than on the previous disc, but his insincerity comes through loud and clear. The label has a copyright of 1963; however, with the presence of 1965's "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," it's safer to say this is late 1966, early 1967. The version of the Rolling Stones' classic actually hints at what Grand Funk would become, especially during their Survival period. A strange amalgam of the Mysterians meets Vanilla Fudge by way of a subdued Blue Cheer makes for a unique rendition of what was considered sacred territory. Again, the worst aspect of this rather interesting piece is the presence of Terry Knight. When one listens to Monumental Funk and hears the potential of the group without their leader, and the Flint album from 1978, which is the band without Mark Farner and way past the influence of Terry Knight, Farner emerges as the true talent that Knight was able to market more successfully than his other groups: Bloodrock and Mom's Apple Pie. "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" is a far cry from the Honey Cone's 1971 hit of the same name, and "Love, Love, Love, Love, Love" is just downright ridiculous, despite the smart playing of the band behind this attempt at being the Animals. David Bowie did it better years later when he turned this same riff into Jean Genie. But give the devil his due -- Terry Knight created good-sounding records and this was the foundation of Grand Funk Railroad. "Come With Me" is a combination of the Rolling Stones' "Play With Fire" and a song covered on the debut LP by the Pack, "Lady Jane." The version of Sloan/Barri's "This Precious Time" is interesting, and "Anybody's Apple Tree" would be passable if not for the hokey ending. A historical document which can't exactly be called a fun listening experience, but it does hint at the talent that was soon to emerge.
01 - One Monkey Don't Stop The Show
02 - Love, Love, Love, Love, Love
03 - Come With Me
04 - Got To Find My Baby
05 - This Precius Time
06 - Anybody's Apple Tree
07 - The Train
08 - Dimestore Debutante
09 - Dirty Lady
10 - Love Goddess Of The Sunset Strip
11 - Forever And A Day
12 - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction