Jumpin’ In The Night – Flamin’ Groovies

Flamin’ Groovies records had the best of 60’s guitar pop and rock n roll music distilled into one. What I really liked about them was their stubbornness in keeping to that sound and honing it until it became second nature in their songwriting. They did many cover versions too, songs from The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Byrds to name a few. Their three guitar line-up was a revelation and their obsession with guitars and harmonies meant a huge amount to me coming out of the punk and post-punk scene, where that was anathema. It was almost like they were fighting back for music, saying that songs mattered and that our musical history mattered. It was okay to strum a guitar melodically and singing in harmony was a beautiful action to do.
I first heard them when they had a minor new wave hit, Shake Some Action – Minks drummer, Tom, had a 12″ single version of it and he played it loads. I would rate it as one of the best singles of all time. We have covered it ourselves a few times in rehearsals – it’s such a great song to play, wonderful melodies and harmonies and a really positive call to arms in the chorus. I had quite a few Flamin’ Groovies records, starting with the Shake Some Action LP with that amazing Dave Edmunds’ Spector-like production and cool images of the band in black leaning menacingly on a Rolls Royce (it looked liked they nicked it for the photo shoot). I also bought the other albums they released around that time – Now and Jumpin’ In The Night, all of which have some cracking songs on them. I went back and discovered their previous recordings, not realising that they had been around for years before that. Slow Death is an absolute classic song from the early 70’s and the album Teenage Head from 1971 has some of the hallmarks of their later songs – close harmonies and cool Americana and rock n roll all in the mix too. I did love that album in lots of ways, not least for the main inspiration to buy a plexi-glass guitar like Cyril Jordan had on the back cover (and, yes, Tom Verlaine had one like it too). One song on the Teenage Head album, City Lights, was the inspiration for my song, Soul Station, similar in melody and pace – eventually at live Minks’ gigs I would replace the third verse with the Groovies’ own words,
“If I go down to the city
Where the neon lights all shine so bright and pretty
Where the night-time girls are always laughing
The movie stars are autographing”
When we came to record Another Age album at Alaska Studios, Waterloo, I had the Shake Some Action album production values in my head – lots of guitars (acoustic, electric, 12-string) overdubbed in different textures, strong melodies and copious amounts of reverb! Thank you, Flamin’ Groovies…

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