Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: "Supersnazz" - The Flamin' Groovies

by Andy Snipper,

This debut album was released in 1969 after the Groovies had been on the San Francisco scene for a number of years. They later reappeared at the beginning of the UK Punk scene when their Shake Some Action became the model for a number of the nascent punk and power pop bands.

The album is full of fun, some great playing and a host of different styles from garage through pop and into the West Coast sound of bands like The Charlatans or The Turtles. That is probably their biggest problem – no-one was able to pin them down and pigeonhole them.

They open in Beat style with Love Have Mercy but with garage tendencies and some fine guitar from Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney. The rhythm section is rock solid - George Alexander (bass, harmonica, vocals), Danny Mihm (drums) – and you can imagine the problems they must have had keeping a straight face in light of Jordan’s madcap overtalk.

That leads into a ‘groovy’ version of The Girl Can’t Help It replete with horns and then into the first of their more melodic numbers Laurie Did It – a teenage pleader – seemingly about Laurie’s depression, hurting, herself and eventually killing herself but to a beautiful and upbeat melody and Dylanesque harmonica. A Part From That is positively Beatle-esque in sound, especially their use of mellotron, and downbeat lyrics.

For the rest of the album they step into rock & roll on Rocking Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu and San Francisco style – The First One Is Free - and even New Orleans piano on Pagan Rachel.

They slipped under the radar but as a band they showed real talent and it really is only their inability to stay in one form that hurts them commercially.

The album is a curio but a damn good one and it is a welcome addition to my collection – I can see it coming out fairly regularly.

A new edition of Supersnazz was released in the U.K. in August.