Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Y'know, I just wonder how did these guys ever make it??? Not in the phony "classic rock" sense as in "hitting the big time" which continues to sting the nostrils like a dead wombat in the middle of a Melbourne heatwave (if that's what the smell is...), I mean succeed like they did in the GREAT AMERIGAN CULT ROCK SWEEPSTAKES with a good twennysome year-long career, albums galore for both major and piddly labels and more fanzine press than even the Stooges could stand! Really, if this were the real world the Flamin' Groovies woulda deep-sixed right after their Epic longplayer hit the racks and into the 49-cent bin at your favorite supermarket snuggled right next to the rest of those dumpoffs, so like what gives?????

Anyway here's another older from deep in the pile which I dragged out and dusted off while looking for my Savage Rose platters (being in a 1971 Lester Bangs mood no doubt). A quality-oozing Norton production as well complete with a nice mock-up retroswipe BEATLES SECOND ALBUM-take cover which only the folks @ Norton could get away with these days (well, at least they ain't copped any old EC covers like has been done to death since the days of that venerable company awlready!). Great sound too, a vast improvement over the original live album back when Bomp! first issued it in the eighties and there's even some additional music slipped on at the end but I don' wanna get ahead of myself...

The Groovies really did epitomize everything that San Francisco really was supposed to stand for, w/o the stench of hippie mewl or seventies hackdom that dogged the scene to the point of revulsion. ("We built this city on rock & roll"??? Howzbout building this city on playing to the right buncha phony-intellectual mind-numbed minions, eh?) Many people do not equate SF w/high energy rock but the pulse was there with the early live Quicksilver, Moby Grape and most definitely these guys who were certainly on the "outs" in their hometown but said way more about what San Francisco could have aspired to had it knocked off the smug hippie sanctimoniousness and settled down to brass rockism tacks.

It is funny hearing this tape taken off of the local KSAN-FM farewell to the Fillmore broadcast. Dunno if KSAN was one to play the Groovies (I have reason to believe that they did on occasion in the same all-encompassing way that FM radio would spin the MC5 next to Melanie) but after all of the nasty things that Bill Graham said about 'em who woulda thought he'd even let 'em near his hogshed anyway? He musta been inna good mood to consent to havin' 'em play his soon-to-deep six dive and KSAN must've been truly freeform if they would even think of broadcastin' 'em live along with the rest of the locals who were paying their own respects in their own special way. (Yeah I know that this was a pre-arranged live set up and KSAN was airing the whole shebang but they coulda avoided stokin' the hippoid anger by substituting an old Joy of Cooking show!)

Fantastic song selection here too leaning heavily towards the TEENAGE HEAD (#1 99-cent bargain bin catch of all time!)/UA/Skydog era which ain't gonna disappoint me in the least. Fantastic takes on all of the well-known Groovies chestnuts from "Slow Death" (introduced as a song that was gonna be on their new album!) to a wild "Shakin' All Over" that not only seems to "borrow" from the live version the MC5 were totin' about at the time but has this rave-up section that clearly hearkens back to the early-Velvet Underground to do a little 1971-inspired name dropping myself. And how about having the guts to perform "Louie Louie" in San Francisco during the ultra-"relevant" year of 1971 w/o turning it into a klutzy if "well-meaning" romp like the Dead woulda, nor a demeaning teardown like the Mothers had in the past! Let me tell you, between all that and the inspired takes on "I'm a Man" and "I Can't Explain" not to mention the wowzer versions of well-known Groovies studio numbuhs can your poor li'l ol' wrinkled heart stand it?????

Talk about inspirational! And what's more I'm sure it's still easy enough to get if you click on the Norton link at the left and do your doody! Excitement and energy transposed onto a simple piece of cheapo aluminun and plastic whomped together and available to you in the here and now! And considering how the music scene today is even worse than we ever thought it could get back in the seventies and eighties (and really, what is Lady Caga more than Madonna with an even-reekier body odor?) dontcha think that a platter like this still comes in handy?

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