Grown Up Wrong! Records is thrilled beyond belief to announce two forthcoming releases by quite possibly our favourite band in the world, THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES.
Saving the big news till last, the lesser half of the announce comes first. Which is not to downplay this incredible release at all. November 1 will see Grown Up Wrong!’s reissue of the 1995 EMI collection I’LL HAVE A… BUCKET OF BRAINS, which collects all the recordings the band made for United Artists in England in 1972, including “Slow Death”, “Married Woman”, “Tallahassee Lassie”, and two songs that would remain in the can until later in the decade, “Shake Some Action” and “You Tore Me Down”. This is the period that saw the band transition from punky R&B and rockabilly-inspired roots rockers to flashy Stones-types, on their way to becoming Beatles/Byrds/Stones-inspired power pop greats. This long-lost collection supposes the 1972 Groovies album that never was, and this reissue comes with greatly expanded packaging, including the original liner notes by Groovies superfan and Bucketful of Brains publisher Jon Story alongside a new essay by fellow Groovies superfan and Barracudas guitarist Robin Wills. As an extra bonus, we also include a reprint of an over-the-top original Nick Kent feature on the band, first published in 1972 in the UK underground paper Frendz and never-before reprinted.
That one release alone would have us jumping over the moon, but our next announcement has us flying out of the solar system. A labour of love that will be a true godsend for longtime Groovies and newcomers alike, BETWEEN THE LINES: THE COMPLETE JORDAN/WILSON SONGBOOK 1971-1981 compiles, for the first time ever, all the original songs written by Groovies Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson in this classic second incarnation of the band. The Groovies gave themselves a major reboot in 1971 when a then 18-year-old Chris Wilson replaced Roy Loney as the band’s frontman and Cyril Jordan’s writing partner. This is incarnation of the group that made that journey to England at the behest of UA to record with Dave Edmunds at Rockfield – helping set the scene for punk – and which ended up signing to Sire Records and making three brilliant albums: Shake Some Action, Now, and Jumpin’ In The Night before eventually running out of steam following Wilson’s departure in 1981. It’s the incarnation that headlined over the Ramones in London on July 4 1976 in London but which then had to settle for being a massive influence on the nascent form of both power pop and the ’60s garage rock revival after the dictates of a post-punk world decided that their glorious rock’n’roll was not going to be the next big thing.
The significant point here is that this collection features, for the first time, just the band’s original material from this era. A big part of the criticism mounted against the Groovies Sire albums has always been the number of covers the band recorded. This collection by-passes that criticism to include every single Jordan/Wilson original the band recorded during the era. And what a collection of originals it is. Everybody knows the brilliance of the song “Shake Some Action”: not for nothing did esteemed rock critic Greil Marcus describe the song as “more the thing itself than any other record I know” in his book The History of Rock’n’Roll in Ten Songs. What will surprise many however is the depth of quality, variety and originality of the band’s other material. The Groovies took elements of their beloved Beatles, Byrds and Stones and created an array of highly individual and superb original songs. Sure a couple sound like the Beatles, but the rest of them are very much the Groovies and no one else.
Along with the 25 originals in question – which also include the three Jordan/Wilson tunes recorded in drummer Danny Mihm’s apartment in 1971 that eventually saw release on Skydog Records in 1973, and the B-side of the band’s final single in 1981 – BETWEEN THE LINES: THE COMPLETE JORDAN/WILSON SONGBOOK 1971-1981 comes with a previously unpublished Chester Simpson portrait on the front cover of its 28 page booklet. That booklet includes extensive liner notes by Grown Up Wrong! Records and Ugly Things magazine’s David Laing, a reprint of a short but telling piece on the band by Ed Ward from a 1975 issue of Creem magazine, and an interview with Marc Zermati of Skydog Records, who played a crucial role in the band’s development in the ’70s.
So there you have it: two Flamin’ Groovies releases, one an upgraded reissue of an essential compilation, and the other an all-new and unique compilation. Two releases that are essential for existing fans of the group and that will become go-to items for new fans. Two releases that together tell the real story of the Flamin Groovies in the ’70s, and reveal why they were so influential at the time and why so many fans – including us here at Grown Up Wrong! – consider them to be one of the greatest rock’n’roll groups of all time.
“I’LL HAVE A… BUCKET OF BRAINS“ and “BETWEEN THE LINES: THE COMPLETE JORDAN/WILSON SONGBOOK 1971-1981″ are both out on Grown Up Wrong! Records through Forte Music Distribution November 29 2019.