This single-disc collection contains the Flamin' Groovies' 1968 Sneakers EP and seven tracks from the band's 1972 Rockfield Sessions collaboration with Dave Edmunds (steel guitar/piano/vocals). The combo of Cyril Jordan (guitar/vocals), Roy Loney (guitar/vocals), Tim Lynch (guitar), George Alexander (bass), and Danny Mihm (drums) was initially prominent in the Bay Area during the mid- to late '60s as Lost & Found, before adopting the Groovies moniker in late 1966. After garnering a small regional following at live gigs, they documented their unique blend of psychedelia and folk on Sneakers, which consisted primarily of Loney's substantial originals. The Groovies reflected the burgeoning scene happening in and around San Francisco, with a vibe similar to the Charlatans or the early Jefferson Airplane. Two of the Groovies' heavier selections -- the incendiary "Golden Clouds" and edgy and acidic "The Slide" -- commence 2004's Sneakers and Rockfield Sessions. However, lighter fare, including the Lovin' Spoonful homage "Babes in the Sky," the Dadaist "My Yada," and the undemanding ballad "Love Time," reveal an otherwise impressive diversity -- especially considering it was their debut effort. By the 1970s, the Flamin' Groovies had released several well-received long-players for Kama Sutra, reflecting more of a '50s R&B ethos than had been suggested on Sneakers. A personnel re-formation took place prior to their relocation to England, where the Rockfield sessions were held in August of 1972. The lineup now featured Chris Wilson (vocals) and James Ferrell (guitar), who replaced Loney and Lynch. Dave Edmunds immediately took to the Groovies, especially Jordan and Wilson's power pop masterpiece "Shake Some Action." In fact, Edmunds' enthusiasm would almost immediately instigate Jordan's equally inspired "You Tore Me Down," which was written and recorded on the spot, during their very first confab. These sides are indelibly linked to future alternative and jangle pop acts such as the dB's and Let's Active nearly a decade later. Just as impressive are the cover versions of Frankie Lee Sims' "Married Woman," "Get a Shot of Rhythm & Blues," and "Little Queenie." Potential purchasers should note that the audio quality on Sneakers and Rockfield Sessions is far from perfect, as the EP was transcribed from vinyl and the Rockfield material is a bit muddy. In 1996, Sundazed Records' issued Sneakers as Supersneakers from a better source, adding ten tracks from a 1968 set at the Matrix in San Francisco.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer