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Shake Some Action
The Flamin' Groovies

Sire 7521
Released: July 1976
Chart Peak: #142
Weeks Charted: 7

Dave EdmundsCyril JordanThe Flamin' Groovies are a straight-ahead rock band from California with a long history of frustration. Between 1968 and 1971 they released one album on Epic and two on Kama Sutra, none of which made much an impression. They also suffered at the hands of New York cultists who attempted to tout them as a Dadaistic punk-rock band of social import, where in fact they have always been a sturdy, reliable, and exciting group whose strength was their simplicity.

The present group includes only two of the original Groovies, George Alexander and Cyril Jorday, and this current recording was made during their recent residence in England. The reconstituted group dresses á la mode 1964, in sedate suits, and their music reflects the same period. Much of their original material is a montage of sentiments, chord patterns, and vocal deliveries reminiscent of early Kinks, Moody Blues, Searchers, and almost every other British band from that era. A lot of bands have attempted this approach, but few have done it so unselfconsciously and entertainingly. Much credit for this must go to the Groovies' producer, Dave Edmunds, who on his own has specialized in this kind of period re-creation.

The Groovies' performances conjure up a simpler time when rock was a popular music with a thrilling future before it instead of the masturbatory ideology it became. Nice going, Groovies.

- Joel Vance, Stereo Review, 11/76.

Bonus Reviews!

Like the Beatles' current rock'n'roIl roots album, this is a set of gritty, guitar-dominated numbers that reflect the British music scene in the years leading up to 1964. A predominately raucous album with a few melodic ballads included and faithful production throughout by Dave Edmunds, who had a top five single five years ago with "I Hear You Knockin'." Best cuts: "Yes It's True," "You Tore Me Down," "Misery," "I Can't Hide."

-Billboard, 1976.

So authentic that producer Dave Edmunds has reverted to the muddy mix -- kinda like the Beatles or the Byrds or the Flamin' Groovies. Actually, what it sounds like is mono electrically rechanneled for stereo. The Flamin' Groovies were Haight-Ashbury enough to exploit aural distance in the service of sly, spaced-out obliqueness, but these guys, deprived of singer-composer Roy A. Loney and making their way as an English pop-revival band, get their kicks by playing dumb. This compiles their best recent work and includes some good songs. But only cultists will ever hear them. B

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

The Groovies disappeared into the wilds of Europe after Teenage Head, which barely earned them a cult following over here. They went through a few personnel changes, honed their sound to an even finer point, and developed a few more musical smarts. Then came Shake Some Action, the debut of the Flamin' Groovies' Mark II, where they rocked out British-style for most of it (while still acknowledging their American roots), only louder and more passionately than any British Invasion band had played since 1964.

Further reading on
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Flamin' Groovies Videos

The sound was a complete anachronism in the mid-'70s, but it got them noticed and earned them a cult following. The guitar sound is straight 1964 Beatles (a la "Not a Second Time") alternating with Kinks material of the same era, the vocals are the plaintive wailing of lovesick young rock gods, and the effect is stunning even 20 years on. Maybe the greatest British Invasion album since 1964. Reissued by Australia's AIM Records on CD, and well worth tracking down as an import. * * * *

- Bruce Eder, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

Shake Some Action, now available on import recordings, is the quintessential Flamin' Groovies pop record, and a vital part of any respectable power-pop fan's permanent record library. * * * * *

- Carl Cafarelli, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

By the mid-Seventies, veteran San Francisco rockers the Flamin' Groovies had lost frontman Roy Loney, who piloted the group's ferocious, Stones-y LP's Flamingo (1970) and Teenage Head (1971). Seeking inspiration, Groovies leader-by-default Cyril Jordan trekked the band to the U.K. The result was the keen neo-Merseybeat metamorphosis of 1976's Shake Some Action, on which the Groovies wear their newfound influence on the sleeves of their matching suits, with Beatles titles both actual ("Misery") and evocative ("Yes It's True," "Please Please Girl") sitting alongside energetic covers of Fab Four faves Chuck Berry and Larry Williams. And while "You Tore Me Down" is a sparkling ballad that keeps every promise the Groovies ever made to Lennon and McCartney, the title song is a different, nastier animal with a riff so tough, propulsive and universal it's a wonder that it's not currently being used to hawk bluejeans or vacation cruises. * * * *

- Gaylord Fields, Rolling Stone, 8/25/05.

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