The Flamin’ Groovies: Let me bust out at full speed

Posted: February 13, 2019 in music, Record reviews
Tags: , ,

Shake Some Action

Bottom line:
Five boys from San Francisco who formed a hard-rock outfit in 1965, made three records (Supersnazz, Teenage Head, and Flamingo) that nobody listened to, then switched in 1976 to power pop and made twice as many records that nobody listened to.

Flamin’ is sometimes spelled without the apostrophe.

If you combine MC5, Steppenwolf, and The Stooges as played by The Rolling Stones and force Creedence and Grand Funk Railroad to get married, you’re somewhere near the original incarnation of The Flamin’ Groovies.

If you combine Cheap Trick, The Knack, The Romantics and many forgotten groupings of young white guys in skinny black ties (including Seattle favorites The Allies and The Rangehoods), then add some Byrds-style guitar, you’re talking about new-formula Groovies.

No hits. Never came close.

Vital personnel:
Roy Loney, singer, songwriter, guitarist until 1971, when he began his solo career, recording rockabilly records and working in a record store; Cyril Jordan, songwriter and guitarist forever.

Moment of glory:
Cyril Jordan: Releasing Fantastic Plastic, a well-above-average album of mostly new material in 2013, almost 50 years after the Groovies first got together, including a dynamite cover of The Beau Brummels’ “Don’t Talk to Strangers.”

Roy Loney: Everywhere this man plays, the local music critics rave about him.

About that name:
It’s the perfect name for a band that formed in 1965! Not to be confused with The Flaming Lips or The Groovie Ghoulies.

Their story:
Some guys have a string of ponies. The Flamin’ Groovies had a string of undercapitalized record labels. These are the kinds of places that can’t get their records into the hands of djs, that can’t get cash into the hands of djs, that will rush the band outside on a cloudy day and snap a photo in the parking lot to get something to the printer before the deadline for the album cover.

(The latter is my interpretation of what happened to the cover of Shake Some Action. If there really was a professional photographer involved with this crud, he should’ve been rewound and overexposed.)

The one album to own:
Flamingo, from the dawn of the 1970s. Some of this stuff is forgettable, but some of it rocks hard enough to shake the marmots off Mt. Rainier. (For example, “Road House,” which was a headbanger before we had headbangers.)

The essential track that’s not on this disc is “Shake Some Action,” a power pop anthem and the only Flamin’ Groovies song that ever got any airplay, though only on college radio. R.E.M. used college radio as a launching pad, but for most acts, college radio is not a transit station, it’s the junkyard.

I like junk, and I like The Flamin’ Groovies.

(Editor’s note: Our totally unbiased look at forgotten bands will continue in a week after Run-DMSteve returns from his tour of the fabled cities of the East, including Fall River, the Gateway to Taunton.)

  1. mikener says:

    Forgotten Bands?

    Is this a rabbit hole you really want to go down?

    Hopefully this pit of despair is limited only to the depths of the San Francisco scene. If this rabbit hole were to connect to the global gopher hole network of forgotten bands, I’ll never get to read your finished novel and that would make me sad.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      You make some excellent points. I like the idea of a global gopher hole, but isn’t that just another name for the internet? Have no fear, my novel is still stalled but not dead. Also, I have some other things going on. Stand by and I’ll try not to disappoint you!

  2. thecorncobb says:

    OK, “Shake Some Action” brings back a little ‘membering. It was in there, its all in there, just the retrieval/rewind button is getting a little sticky.
    Was checking out some The Flamin’ Groovies’ Youtubes & came across this interesting vid on this song: Enjoy!

  3. thecorncobb says:

    Unless I just forgot, never heard of them.
    Will have to look them up.
    Thx for that, RUN-DMSTEVE!

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