Today, I’m gonna discuss The Flamin’ Groovies and especially their power pop classic album Shake Some Action (1976). I’d been familiar with the title song for a few years already and I really thought it was a great song. Last fall I started listening to the entire album. It was because I wanted to find out if it really was as good as everyone was saying.
What struck me almost immediately were the amazing vocal harmonies. Ever since I totally fell in love with The Beach Boys in the end of 2004, I’ve been a sucker for good harmonies. It doesn’t matter much if it’s two-, three- or four-(or five-)part – as long as it sounds good it’s ear candy. There certainly are nice harmonies almost everywhere in good pop music. However, something about the harmonies of Shake Some Action was different. I felt like I was in heaven (and I still do) listening to those harmonies. That perfect vocal blend and sound simply made my heart ache. That’s not something you’ll meet every day.
The great harmonies are one huge thing but the songs are good, too. First of all, the original tracks are excellent. You Tore Me Down and I Can’t Hide are obviously perfect, and also heavenly, I would say. Yes It’s True and Please Please Girl show lots of Beatles influence. In addition, The Groovies have selected several great covers to this album. One of the finest cover moments is Misery, the wonderful Beatles song. Several more rocking tracks balance the album nicely: She Said Yeah and Let the Boy Rock’n’roll are very good. The old blues song St. Louis Blues also sounds great.
I’ll Cry Alone is one of the most staggering tracks on this album. The song starts with some great guitar plucking and continues with energetic playing. Then enter the heartbreaking melodies and harmonies.. Let alone the emotionalism! That song always makes me cry. It’s so amazingly sad and beautiful. Emotionalism is one of the greatest things about this album. The reason I love vocal harmonies and melodies so much is that they are excellent ways of expressing emotion. Also, I would say that the emotionalism in the songs of Shake Some Action is mixed with peacefulness. That peacefulness is important about this album, it’s part of the charm.
So, to cut a long story short, I’d say this album truly deserves its classic status. Some specific songs even sound almost too good to be true.
The Groovies came up with many other different albums, too. Before Chris Wilson, Roy Loney was the lead singer and The Groovies’ music was very much more bluesy. I’ve listened to the music from that era, too, and I like it. Little by little, I’m getting familiar with other Groovies stuff.
The Flamin’ Groovies at MySpace
A Chris Wilson and The Flamin’ Groovies Web site