The Flamin' Groovies - Teenage Head, Kama Sutra Records, K SBS 2031, 1971 The Flamin' Groovies covered a lot of ground in their most active fertile decade ('68-'78). They were pioneers who sowed seeds that sprouted into many of the most important rock sub-genres of the 70s and 80s, and they still cast a long shadow to this day. From (in their various phases) classic boogie woogie roots rock to UK Pub Rock, to "power pop", to "new wave", to the meta-genre of the Merseyside/Mod/60s punk/Nuggets revivalists, they seem to have done everything flawlessly before everyone else caught on, and did it uniquely with nary a misstep. There are superlative things to be said about each of these phases and their associated recordings. It's all classic stuff, especially the Dave Edmunds produced songs "Shake Some Action", "You Tore Me Down", and "Slow Death", recorded in 1972 after the band decamped to London from San Francisco. "Shake Some Action", in particular, was ridiculously ahead of its time. (That song was not to be released till the 1976 Sire album of that title, which is the form in which I first heard it, riding the knob on the left hand of the dial late one night I will never forget: it has played in my head incessantly since then.. It is truly a monumental feat of pop music writing and production.) Their "Merseyside" experiments, which dare the listener to tell the actual Beatles covers from their own British invasion songs they wrote themselves is itself a whole nother category of wonderworking. But this little write up is about Teenage Head, their third full-length album. It is often compared favorably to the contemporaneously-released Sticky Fingers. And there is a sense in which it is indeed an unsung American Sticky Fingers. Part of the glory of the Rolling Stones of that era was the melding of various strands of American music pastiche into a surprisingly coherent sort of redefinition of rock and roll for the then-new era. Teenage Head does this as w...

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https://youtu.be/FZkEYgp0RM4 Another of my songs. This tune, conceived as a "theme song" for my third novel King Dork Approximately, more or less accidentally sparked the launch of the latest voyage of the MTX "Starship". The song was written concurrently with the novel, which isn't too common. Novels and songs are different sorts of writing and that trope about wearing different hats doesn't quite cover it; it's more like you have a couple of replaceable heads, or almost different selves. (Not saying there aren't things in common between the two heads, just that it's difficult to operate them simultaneously.) Years of hard and bitter struggle against the indifference of the world and the limits of my own abilities had trained me to have modest expectations. You can only do the best you can with what you've got: you can't actually make anyone care about it. I'd hoped for little more than doing justice to one of my better songs, upping the "novel theme song" ante for its own sake, ticking off a promotional box, and drawing attention to the new book. But when we did finally manage to meet up in the studio (for the first time in ten years) something clicked. The song came out great, but more importantly, we knew we were going to have to do more. It took a bit of organizing and agitating but the King Dork Approximately "balbum", a whole bunch of shows, and further schemes of breathtaking grandiosity ensued. As for the song, I think it's one of my best, as a stand-alone composition, as a sequel to the song "King Dork", and as an integrated plot and characterization feature of the novel. The Dylan reference is almost a throwaway gag in the first two categories, but it's a major part of the novel. The song depicts the ambivalence, uncertainty, and ingenuous hope that follows fulfillment of the "please say yes" love song (before we stampede toward the inevitable break-up song, as I usually do.) Apart from that, it's got a pretty interesting structure that shouldn't work but somehow does. When I first started playing around with it I was thinking about Tom Jobim's "One Note Samba" and thought I'd see if I could manage that feat (a single note cadence that feels like a melody because of the chord changes underneath it.) In the end I gave up, but wound up with the two-note melody on the a, b, and d verse lines (with the c line being kind of like a verse "bridge." There's only one chorus, all the way at the end, and it's kind of a coda or adjunct to the song, not strictly necessary even. But the various uses of the word "approximately" during the verses and bridge function as a kind of anchor for the song and make this ending chorus more of a punchline, or at least, a summation. Pretty neat. (Also, I'm quite pleased with that bridge.) If you're interested, books, "balbums", albums, etc. may be found here: https://www.soundsradical.com/store1.html #music #songwriting #songs #punkrock #rockandroll #video #books #literature #publishing #YA #minds
654 views ·

More from Dr Frank

31 views ·
https://youtu.be/FZkEYgp0RM4 Another of my songs. This tune, conceived as a "theme song" for my third novel King Dork Approximately, more or less accidentally sparked the launch of the latest voyage of the MTX "Starship". The song was written concurrently with the novel, which isn't too common. Novels and songs are different sorts of writing and that trope about wearing different hats doesn't quite cover it; it's more like you have a couple of replaceable heads, or almost different selves. (Not saying there aren't things in common between the two heads, just that it's difficult to operate them simultaneously.) Years of hard and bitter struggle against the indifference of the world and the limits of my own abilities had trained me to have modest expectations. You can only do the best you can with what you've got: you can't actually make anyone care about it. I'd hoped for little more than doing justice to one of my better songs, upping the "novel theme song" ante for its own sake, ticking off a promotional box, and drawing attention to the new book. But when we did finally manage to meet up in the studio (for the first time in ten years) something clicked. The song came out great, but more importantly, we knew we were going to have to do more. It took a bit of organizing and agitating but the King Dork Approximately "balbum", a whole bunch of shows, and further schemes of breathtaking grandiosity ensued. As for the song, I think it's one of my best, as a stand-alone composition, as a sequel to the song "King Dork", and as an integrated plot and characterization feature of the novel. The Dylan reference is almost a throwaway gag in the first two categories, but it's a major part of the novel. The song depicts the ambivalence, uncertainty, and ingenuous hope that follows fulfillment of the "please say yes" love song (before we stampede toward the inevitable break-up song, as I usually do.) Apart from that, it's got a pretty interesting structure that shouldn't work but somehow does. When I first started playing around with it I was thinking about Tom Jobim's "One Note Samba" and thought I'd see if I could manage that feat (a single note cadence that feels like a melody because of the chord changes underneath it.) In the end I gave up, but wound up with the two-note melody on the a, b, and d verse lines (with the c line being kind of like a verse "bridge." There's only one chorus, all the way at the end, and it's kind of a coda or adjunct to the song, not strictly necessary even. But the various uses of the word "approximately" during the verses and bridge function as a kind of anchor for the song and make this ending chorus more of a punchline, or at least, a summation. Pretty neat. (Also, I'm quite pleased with that bridge.) If you're interested, books, "balbums", albums, etc. may be found here: https://www.soundsradical.com/store1.html #music #songwriting #songs #punkrock #rockandroll #video #books #literature #publishing #YA #minds
654 views ·