A lot had happened with the Flamin' Groovies in the nearly five years that separated the epochal Teenage Head album and their return to American record racks with Shake Some Action. The Groovies lost their record deal with Buddah, lead singer Roy Loney had quit the band leaving Cyril Jordan as uncontested leader, and they had spent a lot of time in Europe, building a significant following in the United Kingdom. As a result, the Flamin' Groovies on Shake Some Action almost sound like a different band, albeit one driven by a similar obsession with the utter coolness of pre-hippie rock & roll. (The fact that Jordan and bassist George Alexander were the only holdovers from the Teenage Head lineup probably had a lot to do with the different approach as well.) The rawer blues and rockabilly accents were gone from the Groovies' sound, with the guitar-fueled cool of the British Invasion era taking their place. While this version of the Flamin' Groovies didn't rock out with the same manic fervor as they did on Flamingo or Teenage Head, they could indeed rock when they felt so inclined, as demonstrated by the glorious "Please Please Girl," "I Can't Hide," and "Let the Boy Rock and Roll," while the Brit-flavored take on "St. Louis Blues" showed that some shades of the old band were still visible. And the title cut was a stunner -- a brilliant evocation of the adventurous side of British rock circa 1966, "Shake Some Action" was tough, moody, wounded, and gloriously melodic all at once, and by its lonesome served as a superb justification for the Groovies' new creative direction. If Shake Some Action was the first salvo from the new and improved Flamin' Groovies, it also demonstrated that this edition of the band had as much promise as the Loney-fronted group.
Shake Some Action Review
by Mark Deming