Review by Mor Fleisher-Leach
When I was in high school Amoeba Music -- a Bay Area-based record store – opened its doors in Los Angeles. I was sixteen and living in the nearby bubble of Orange County. The only records I had bought prior to the store's opening were ordered from the Bomp! mail order catalog. I hitched a ride to LA with my uncle who was visiting from out-of-town. He went straight for the classical section; I got a Flamin’ Groovies record.
The Flamin’ Groovies are known and loved as a power-pop band. “Shake Some Action,” after all, is the quintessential power-pop song. However, I fell in love with the Flamin’ Groovies as a rock n’ roll fan, first and foremost; and that is why no other record could ever beat Supersnazz. It’s so rockin’! (Don’t mind my cheese ball ways.) I mean, a Little Richard cover by a white-boy-band from San Fransisco? Rockin’! And the guitar on “Love Have Mercy”? Rockin’! Huey “Piano” Smith’s “Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”? Boogie woogie rockin’!
The Groovies had this incredible way (much like The Sonics) of taking black blues and rock n’ roll music and performing it with just as much soul and intensity. I think I like their covers more than anything. But, dang, did they ever write the greatest rock n’ roll originals. “Somethin' Else/Pistol Packin' Mama” is one of the best, with its catchy-as-the-best-Kinks-song-you’ll-ever-hear melody, it’s a burner. And “Bam Balam” -- a Big Star-esque, harmonized and minimalized American finger to the man, and (I’d like to think) a love song.
When a record like this, released by Epic Records in 1969, flops big time (so big that it was the Groovies’ first and only major label release), you know it’s good. And when an album like this leads to a career lasting some 25 years, even better.