Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flamin Groovies - Teenage Head (1971 us, impressive powerful garage 'n' roll, bonus tracks edition)

Miriam Linna once opined that the Roy Loney-era lineup of the Flamin' Groovies suggested what the Rolling Stones would have sounded like if they'd sworn their allegiance to the sound and style of Sun Records instead of Chess Records. If one wants to buy this theory (and it sounds reasonable to me), then Teenage Head was the Groovies' alternate-universe version of Sticky Fingers, an album that delivered their toughest rock & roll beside their most introspective blues workouts. (In his liner notes to Buddha's  CD reissue of Teenage Head, Andy Kotowicz writes that Mick Jagger noticed the similarities between the two albums and thought the Groovies did the better job.) 

While the Flamin' Groovies didn't dip into the blues often, they always did right by 'em, and "City Lights" and "Yesterday's Numbers" find them embracing the mournful soul of the blues to superb effect, while their covers of "Doctor Boogie" and "32-20" honor the originals while adding a energy and attitude that was all their own. And the rockers are among the best stuff this band ever put to tape, especially "High Flying Baby," "Have You Seen My Baby?," and the brilliant title track. 

Teenage Head sounds just as good as it deserves to; Richard Robinson's production is clean, sharp, and gets the details onto tape with a clarity that never gets in the way of the band's sweaty raunch. While Flamingo rocks a bit harder, Teenage Head is ultimately the best album the Flamin' Groovies would ever make, and after Roy Loney left the band within a few months of its release, they'd never sound like this again. [Buddha reissued the album, added quite a few bonus tracks in the process.]
by Mark Deming
1. High Flyin' Baby - 3:31
2. City Lights - 4:25
3. Have You Seen My Babe? (Randy Newman) - 2:52
4. Yesterday's Numbers - 3:59
5. Teenage Head - 2:52
6. 32-20 (Robert Johnson, new lyrics by Roy A. Loney) - 2:04
7. Evil Hearted Ada - 3:21
8. Doctor Boogie - 2:32
9. Whiskey Woman - 4:47
10.Shakin' All Over (Fred Heath, Heath, Johnny Kidd) - 6:05
11.That'll Be The Day (Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, Norman Petty) - 2:22
12.Louie Louie (Richard Berry) - 6:48
13.Walkin' The Dog (Rufus Thomas) - 3:41
14.Scratch My Back (Slim Harpo) - 4:50
15.Carol (Chuck Berry) - 3:15
16.Going Out Theme (Version 2) (Roy Loney, Cyril Jordanm, George Alexanderm, Tim Lynch, Danny Mihm) - 3:04
All songs written by Cyril Jordan, Roy A. Loney except where stated

The Flamin Groovies
*Cyril Jordan - Guitar, Vocals
*Roy Loney - Guitar, Vocals
*Tim Lynch - Guitar
*George Alexander - Bass Guitar
*Danny Mihm - Drums
*Jim Dickinson - Piano
*Karin Berg, Jean Charles Costa, Richard Meltzer - Vocals


  1. The Flamin' Groovies were arguably the best band this side of CCR to emerge from the '60s San Francisco scene. The problem was that the Groovies didn't conform to the expected psychedelic ballroom sound explored by the likes of the Dead, Airplane, Quicksilvers, and Grapes; instead the Groovies were a back-to-basics rock'n'roll band with a greasy, Stones/'50s inspired kick. Too bad, since unlike the rest of the '60s Haight-Asbury bands, the Groovies don't sound boring and dated today - they rocked! But I guess San Fran hippies were too stoned and lazy to know real rock'n'roll when they heard it (I mean, any scene that condemned CCR as boring sellouts while exalting unlistenable garbage like Jefferson Airplane was too drugged out to recognize decent music when it came round their neighborhood. Hippies suck and deserve to be mocked for that reason alone -- I guess bad LSD damages the eardrums). The Groovies never fit in with current musical trends, which led to the path of cult stardom. In the mid-'70s when basic rock'n'roll was coming back in style again, the Groovies made an about face and reemerged as Beatlesque power-poppers, delivering some of the freshest American warps on British Invasion pop since the Byrds lost Gene Clark. As usual, the Groovies were out of step with what the public wanted, and by the end of the '70s the band had finished their recording career (though they still play live gigs from time to time). Like the Move, the Groovies have aquired legendary status among hip record collectors -- a status that is quite deserved.

  2. The Flamin 'Groovies have a special status in the world of rock: it is the same of the cult band prototype, with limited success, but being worshiped by a coterie of experts. These rockers San Francisco, led by Roy Loney and Cyril Jordan (singer and lead guitarist, respectively) pass through the decades without knowing the fame, while cited by the majority of nostalgic golden years of rock. Some of their discs are particularly famous; Teenage Head of them.

    At first listen, parallelism immediately comes to mind criticism. Each track on the disc, at every turn, every measure, manifests the spirit of the Rolling Stones. This is perhaps not necessarily accidental, the two groups knowing and appreciating. Nevertheless, we surely can not call this plagiarism album; a genius to Flamin 'Groovies through the song Teenage Head. Blues mix of garage rock, proto-hard rock, with a freshness accompanied by an invigorating enthusiasm, this drive is particularly pleasant to listen to everything is made to delight the casual listener of rock.

    Each title is catchy, managing to keep the attention of the listener throughout the album. Once the first title launched, it becomes very difficult to detach from the sequence of songs. Acoustic and electric guitars intertwine consistently; Battery powerfully sounds, bass wavers between chords and singing only has to land on this pyramid judiciously arranged. Some titles stand out, however: "High Flyin 'Baby" is a powerful opening, concise, ideal introduction for condensing everything the album has better energy, ease, emotion. "Teenage Head" is composed around a riff amazing simplicity, through reverb followed by harmonica sighs, demonstrating the height can reach rock'n'roll when it is played by a group of solidarity but conscious its capabilities.

  3. The comparison is then mechanically with the Rolling Stones album of the same year, Sticky Fingers. Some critics, bold, speak of a teenage version of the new production of Stones to designate Teenage Head; but this view seems highly risky. Nothing here reflects the arrogant held the new album of the band Jagger-Richards. With a musical culture further that one can find true reference Flamin Groovies: many clues are present irresistibly think Beggars Banquet. Some songs even seem to answer: "City Lights" and reminds stonien bottleneck "Jigsaw Puzzle"; the resumption of the "32-20" Robert Johnson seems to outscore "Prodigal Son"; the intro of "Have You Seen My Baby" is reminiscent of "Stray Cat Blues". However, even if it is crossed through and cross-references to the work of the Rolling Stones, this drive is more than that.

    It is characterized by a highly parodic attitude: "Evil Hearted Ada" is a remarkably well-executed pastiche of Elvis Presley's first singles (particularly "Mystery Train"); "Doctor Boogie" refers to the proponents of English blues boom. These new external references make this LP very friendly listening, broadcasting a fairly quiet humorous degree, pleasant listening. As ever, the original album ends with a melancholy way, grand, referring to a new disk Stones: "Whiskey Woman". An emotional final at the height of the rest of the album.

    Note that the disc is released in remastered and expanded edition. It is in the mass of the bonus tracks that we see the excellent culture of rock'n'roll possessed by the Groovies. Classics are included on long cattle full of energy ("Louie Louie", "Shakin 'All Over"); others are shipped unadorned ("That'll Be The Day" Buddy Holly or "Carol" by Chuck Berry, also taken over by the Stones). We can consider that today the circle: the Flamin 'Groovies cited inspirations; they are cited in their turn.

    To synthesize, Teenage Head is a great rock record. Numerous references not to shocked the neophyte, as skillfully disseminated; they will increase by against the pleasure of music to listen. The album is square, made with passion; titles are simple but not simplistic; it also has a humorous facet group not taking themselves to seriously nice. Only a few lengths may slightly tarnish the whole. In concluding sentence, Teenage Head is a great rock album, which has nothing to envy of its contemporaries.

    Thx Marios :)

  4. Doctor Boogie is an original, unless you know something I don't?

    1. Listen Bill & Carroll - The Boogie Disease - Sun Records