Thursday, August 22, 2013

Flamin' Groovies - Now

Now (1978) ***

The previous album had kicked off with the immortal "Shake Some Action," and this followup begins with a cover of "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," which should underscore all you need to know concerning the differences between the two LPs.  I should end my review right here, because this is not a terribly interesting album about which there is a lot to say.  Essentially it is a carbon copy of the 1976 LP, the main difference being that while that album was bogged down slightly by a handful too many covers, this album is overwhelmed by the amount of sweatin' oldies.  Of the 14 tracks, only six are Jordan/Wilson compositions, one of which is the fine, deliberately mindless Dave Edmunds co-write "Yeah My Baby," which choogles along like a glue-huffing CCR.  The other Edmunds/Jordan/Wilson co-write, "Good Laugh Man," is similarly fine if insubstantial pop.  There's nothing here as life-changing as "Shake Some Action," though the snarling kiss-off "Don't Put Me On," comes close, with a venomous vocal and deranged fuzz-rockabilly solo - classic Groovies.  But oh, those covers.  Byrds, fine.  Beatles, finer - in fact "There's a Place," is definitive, gushing with energy (the original was cut near the end of a day-long session and the Fabs delivered a draggy, hoarse take that lacks all drive).  Paul Revere & the Raiders - um, OK.  "House of Blue Lights" and "Move It" - yeah, yeah, go on do your boogie raveup thing.  King Curtis - now that's what I call R&R, baby.  And while picking an undervalued Stones obscurity ("Blue Turns To Grey") was a choice idea, a sitar-less take on "Paint It Black" was not.  It's all harmless fun (moreso for the band than the listener, I suspect) and the Groovies do put their unique stamp on all the covers - how could they not with those patented six-strings?  But it's basically an up and coming bar band's set list - interspersing a handful of originals with the crowd-pleasing oldies - and that is simply not acceptable from a band capable of much more.

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