Saturday, 29 August 2015

Powerpop - the Flamin' Groovies

For those of us who were still in primary school when the Flamin' Groovies released their classic albums Flamingo and Teenage Head, and weren't hip to that kind of thing, the first track we ever heard by them was their 1976 single 'Shake Some Action'. And nothing would ever be as good again. Of course we then explored the back catalogue and marvelled at the menacing garage rock of 'Comin' After Me', 'Teenage Head' and 'Slow Death', but 'Shake Some Action' remained in a class of its own, a masterpiece that took the spirit of 1965 and reinvented it for a new era.

Slightly overlooked, though, was the B-side of that single. For most bands, 'Teenage Confidential' would have constituted their highest achievement, a stunningly beautiful piece that's all jangly guitars and vocal harmonies, like the Byrds taking on Big Star. The song's a little slight in itself, but this recording is a masterpiece: Dave Edmunds's production positively shimmers, while the modulation to the minor key, two minutes in, during the instrumental outro, is a stroke of genius.

Like the A-side, 'Teenage Confidential' was co-written by group founder Cyril Jordan and by Chris Wilson, who'd come in as a replacement for Roy A Loney. Wilson, of course, went on to join the Barracudas, of whom more yesterday.

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