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The Great Songs: The Flamin' Groovies – Shake Some Action

by Eric Melin on January 5, 2011

in Columns,The Great Songs

Just like the last entry into The Great Songs, San Francisco’s The Flamin’ Groovies were way more influential than their album sales at the time would show.

Flamin' Groovies Shake Some ActionThe Groovies began in the late 60s with a garage rock sound, when bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & the Holding Company, and Moby Grape were getting snatched up by labels. By 1976, however, one band leader (Roy Loney) had departed and another (Cyril Jordan) had taken over. The sound of the Groovies became less about trashy blues and rockabilly and more about guitar-fueled British Invasion pop.

That’s the moment that this little masterpiece “Shake Some Action” was born.

Dave Edmunds produced the Groovies’ fourth studio album Shake Some Action, and the title track is an enduring power pop classic. The band eschewed the hippie culture of SF for a skinny-tie mod-suit look that fit their new, focused songwriting style.

The opening lick– drenched in reverb — has a huge hook, followed by a simple repeating lead line that brings you right into the song. It’s at once muscular and wounded, and is full of bright shimmering guitars, a thumping drum beat, and understated vocals. And it never gets old.

Bruce Eder, in The All-Music Guide to Rock says the new direction had the band rocking “louder and more passionately than any British Invasion band had played since 1964. The sound was a complete anachronism in the mid-’70s, but it got them noticed and earned them a cult following.” [1]

And that’s about all they got. The late 80s and 90s featured “countless repackagings, anthologies, and lousy bootlegs — the band ended up in Australia, now reduced to Jordan and a bunch of unknowns (with the exception of longtime bassist George Alexander), shamelessly covering ’60s material and living off the band’s legend.” – John Dougan, AMG

..and one bonafide classic Great Song.

The Great Songs series so far:

The Great Songs: Big Star – Thirteen

The Great Songs: The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

The Great Songs: The Jayhawks – Blue

The Great Songs: Pavement – Summer Babe

The Great Songs: The Zombies – Care of Cell 44

The Great Songs: The O’Jays – Back Stabbers

The Great Songs: Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure

The Great Songs: George Jones – He Stopped Loving Her Today

The Great Songs: Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart

The Great Songs: KISS – Deuce

The Great Songs: The Flying Burrito Brothers – Hot Burrito #1

The Great Songs: The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize??

The Great Songs: Pink Floyd – Astronomy Domine

The Great Songs: The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up

The Great Songs: Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get it On

The Great Songs: Slayer – Angel of Death

The Great Songs: Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Beyond Belief

The Great Songs: The Replacements – Unsatisfied

The Great Songs: Cheap Trick – Surrender

The Great Songs: Guided by Voices – Motor Away

The Great Songs: The Louvin Brothers – Knoxville Girl

The Great Songs: Badfinger – Baby Blue

The Great Songs: Ray Charles – That Lucky Old Sun

The Great Songs: Television – Marquee Moon

The Great Songs: Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Cortez the Killer

The Great Songs: David Bowie – Life On Mars?

The Great Songs: Thin Lizzy – The Cowboy Song

The Great Songs: The Delfonics – Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)

The Great Songs: The Beatles – She Said She Said

The Great Songs: The Velvet Underground – Heroin

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jack duhamel January 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm


– Jack Duhamel


2 Jeff case January 30, 2011 at 3:33 am

a most under rated album. awesome songwriting team of jordan/wilson. only now, 30 plus years later, is cyril getting the respect for his style and playing.. an alltime fav….


3 Eric Melin January 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm

agreed! thanks for reading!


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