Thursday, 13 September 2018
The Flamin' Groovies - Shake Some Action (1976)
Released June 1976
Recorded at Rockpile Studios, South Wales
The Flamin' Groovies had been around since 1965, but in 1976 they hadn't released an album since 1971's "Teenage Head". The returned with this album, almost like a new, different group, leading many, including myself, to think that they were a new group, formed on the cusp of the burgeoning punk and "new wave" movement. Their "new" music was one heavily influenced by the "British Invasion" guitar rock of the pre-psychedlic days, with a lot of Byrds-style jangly style guitar from the same period.
The title track was a catchy r'n'b-ish beaty romp, marred by a tiny bit of tape hiss at the very beginning, during its riff that surely U2 used for "Beautiful Day", but once the bass and drums kicked it didn't matter. "Sometimes" sounded a bit like a throwaway sixties 'b" side, with a bit of a muffled sound, while "Yes It's True" is so 1963-64 Beatles its almost embarrassing. The Groovies certainly wore their influences on their sleeves for all to see. "St. Louis Blues" had a pure Chuck Berry guitar into and that sound of a British r 'n' b band doing a Berry cover, despite being American, they were constantly channelling their British side here. This sort of upbeat stuff found The Groovies aligned with British "pre-punk punks" like Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dr. Feelgood and The Kursaal Flyers. Even the cover showed them posing in front of some typical British sixties architecture and looking mean and body in their dark suits. I remember seeing this cover and immediately thinking they were a UK group. They played gigs on the punk circuit (I saw them live a couple of times) and they were soon bracketed alongside The Ramones and Blondie as somehow being part of the US punk scene, which was inaccurate. The description of them as a forerunner of "power pop" was certainly true.
"You Tore Me Down" and "Please Please Girl" are both very Beatles-ish, the latter being more rocky. "Let The Boy Rock And Roll" is upbeat rock and roll in the manner of British rock producer Dave Edmunds. Edmunds had a bit of a "wall of sound" fixation and this was obvious on the crashing backing to "I'll Cry Alone". "Misery" is an obligatory Beatles cover, sounding a bit less dated than the original, to be honest. "Don't You Lie To Me" is a big, bassy and bluesy Dr. Feelgood sound-alike. A cover of The Rolling Stones' "She Said Yeah" is no surprise either.
"I Saw Her" is actually a bit Doors-style trippy and "Teenage Confidential" is very much mid-sixties Rolling Stones influenced, even down to its use of an Eastern-sounding guitar. It also has echoes of the keyboard sound that Them used in the sixties too. "I Can't Hide" is a powerful, thumping rocker to end on. It is an enjoyable, frantic thrash of a highly derivative album, with some dodgy sound in places, but an energy and joie de vivre that is pretty irresistible.