Baseball card depicting Hans Lobert of the Cincinnati Reds published by the American Tobacco Company, 1911
I heard about "Shake Some Action" long before I ever heard anything by the Flamin' Groovies. Often found at the top of Best Power-Pop lists, the Flaming Groovies' "Shake Some Action" is considered by many to be the best guitar-pop song of the '70s. Not knowing that the song came from a second incarnation of the Flamin' Groovies led by guitarist Cyril Jordan, I went out and bought the Groovies' 1969 debut Supersnazz. In the band's first incarnation, their clear leader was vocalist Roy Loney (who quit the band in 1971), and his vision of rock 'n' roll was a more back-to-basics blues rock style with a variety of stylistic flourishes thrown in to keep things interesting. As a result, the early Groovies' albums, and Supersnazz in particular, are real mixed bags. I admit that the covers of old chestnuts like "The Girl Can't Help It" and "Pistol Packin' Mama" don't appeal to me much, but Roy Loney's originals are uniformly excellent. I don't understand why the Groovies' label put out two singles for Supersnazz with boring blues covers on the A-side and great original songs on the B-side.
"Laurie Did It" is one of my favorites from Supersnazz, so I'm happy to see it come up on the Probabilistic Jukebox. I always assumed it to be one of the Flamin' Groovies popular early songs because it was on their second single (the B-side to "Somethin' Else"), but I was surprised to see that it doesn't appear on any of the Flamin' Groovies compilations. "Laurie Did It" is one of the only Groovies' songs from this period that really resembles California pop - it sounds a lot like the Beau Brummels. The Groovies' debut had a very high budget (and is considered by many to be badly overproduced), and the band spent multiple days getting the close harmony vocals just right. To my ear, it sounds great, but the thing that makes "Laurie Did It" an underrated classic for me is the transition from Cyril Jordan's great guitar solo to a brief chugging fake-out and then a spacey psych-tinged bridge. It sums up Roy Loney's vision for the Flamin' Groovies, and foreshadows the two great Groovies albums (Flamingo and my favorite, Teenage Head) that he would helm in the following years.
"Laurie Did It" by the Flamin' Groovies