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Don't Forget the Flamin' Groovies

by Will Vasquez 5 years ago in bands / vintage / list

Flamin' Groovies immersed themselves in the music that cut loose in the early 60s.

The Flamin Groovies released their third album, Teenage Head, back in 1971 to much critical praise. However, because the group was known only tentatively in the Midwest and San Fransisco (where they originated about 1968), the record won little popularity and no airplay.

Teenage Head by the Flamin' Groovies was a wonderful, though uneven, collection of songs that rejoiced in rock and roll, both traditionally, by recalling some of the best spirits of late 50s music (i.e. the sexy raunch of Elvis, the good humor of Chuck Berry, etc.); as well as immediately—the Groovies had something original to say. Teenage Head was a promising record.

Shake Some Action was their fourth outing. The album once again extended upon the thematic sounds of the late 60s. This was part of why they never evolved beyond the late 1960s genre. Unlike evolutionary bands like U2 or Mumford and Sons, Flamin' Groovies could keep grooving as their audience's tastes became more eclectic.

What they did instead was immerse themselves in the music that cut loose in the early 60s with the Beatles, Byrds, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Lovin' Spoonful, and effectively revitalize it. Every one of the 14 tracks on Shake Some Action is sharp, with a ringing lead guitar and solid bass lines that keep tugging at your feet, wailing harmonies, and infectious melodies. Best of all, the record keeps above sentimentality and nostalgia, and still manages so many years later in the midst of a renaissance of the retro sound to once again feel current.

One can hope that the Flamin' Groovies are remembered for the confidence to offer rock and roll entirely of themselves; the best songs in this collection being their own originals "You Tore Me Down," "I Saw Her," and "Yes Its True."

Flamin' Groovies' first album, Supersnazz, came and went in the blink of an eye. Epic Records failed to market it properly and irrespective of its quality, people were losing interest of classic rock in favor of the next trend. This was long before the multi-faceted Millennial generation renewed interest in every musical genre of the 20th century.

But once they started touring and appearing at San Francisco venues and New York City's downtown scene, they started to gain national acclaim. Oddly enough it was too little too late for this talented throwback band.

Flamingo is a whole other glorious story, but well worth the listen. A broad look at the Flamin' Groovies' body of work, the album is an enlightening look at a band whose lost fame was part of a pre-Spotify generation's inability to pause along music's rapid evolutionary pace of the 1960s and 1970s.

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Will Vasquez

Venue manager in Austin, TX. No, you can’t meet the band.

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