Archive for Grin

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Grin

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on January 17, 2010 by 30daysout

My big sister’s boyfriend works at a radio station, and he gave me a box full of albums by people you may have heard of.  In many cases these albums generated a radio hit or two, but today they are forgotten because the albums have been long out of print and the well-known songs are part of a greatest hits collection.  Then there are albums that had no radio hits – and were not big sellers at the time – but have taken on a semi-legendary status because they were early works by a well-known artist.

Today’s album falls into that latter category: Grin, the eponymous 1971 debut album for a rock trio starring singer/guitarist Nils Lofgren.  Lofgren is perhaps best known today as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, with whom Lofgren has played since 1984.  But Lofgren’s recording career is even longer than Springsteen’s: as a teenager, he joined Neil Young’s band to help record the classic After The Gold Rush (1970).  Lofgren was also briefly a member of Crazy Horse, and appeared on that group’s first album in 1971; those two experiences helped Lofgren land a record deal for Grin.

Grin’s 1971 debut album presents an energetic rock band with much of the same commitment to basic rock and roll that Springsteen would exhibit on his first record two years later.  Producer David Briggs (also a Neil Young associate) would give Grin a polish that may be a little too slick for some tastes, but you can’t hide the exuberance that young Lofgren pours into rockers like “See What Love Can Do” and “Direction.”

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