Chris Wilson – It’s Flamin’ Groovy! (2014)

Making its U.S. debut in January 2014 is Chris Wilson’s new album called It’s Flamin’ Groovy! And it certainly is: after all, Wilson is a member of the legendary Bay Area band the Flamin’ Groovies, whose roots go far back into the mid 1960s.

For those not in the know, if one could find the term “cult band” in some sort of mythical pop music dictionary, there would likely be included a picture of the Flamin’ Groovies right under the definition to provide a visual example. As such, they’re not well known in most music circles, but the Groovies have been around off and on, touring and recording and intermittently releasing albums made by a rotating combination of players and encapsulating different styles.

They’re probably best known for their mid-70s jangle filled, retro-referenced, melodically catchy power pop as found on the albums Shake Some Action and The Flamin’ Groovies Now! Chris Wilson is one of those players that came in during that classic ’70s period, then stuck around longer than others. In keeping, there’s a lot of this album that sounds like that period’s jangle-pop material. In fact, prominent Groovies’ alumni like Cyril Jordan, George Alexander and even Roy Loney all make appearances on this solid twelve-song collection.

Most Groovies’ albums have some highlights surrounded by lesser lights, but Wilson’s new offering fires on all twelve of its rock ‘n’ roll cylinders. It’s like Wilson somehow took every great moment the Groovies ever had and distilled them onto one album. It’s even hard to highlight particular songs: there are some Chris Wilson originals, some contributions and co-writes by guitarist Anthony Clark, a couple of Cyril Jordan tunes, fine work by Groovies’ bassist George Alexander, and even a vocal track by Roy Loney. OK — special mention goes to “Bad Dreams” just because it’s kind of spooky and dark, but cool all at the same time.

Interestingly, the Groovies have been touring as of late and their hard core fan base is excitedly waiting for a six-song EP that is so far rumored for release sometime in 2014 and is said to have contributions by all the significant players that have passed through their ranks. Until then, Chris Wilson’s It’s Flamin’ Groovy! — due from Twenty Stone Blatt on January 14, 2014 — is as close as anyone is going to get to a full blown Groovies’ project. In fact, it’s so good the band might want to include a few of these songs in any upcoming live shows.

Now that would be groovy, indeed.

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JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito spends most of his day keeping the wolves from the door. When he's not occupied with this pastime, he's interested in all things rock and roll -- which may or may not have died back in the late 1950s, the late 1970s, or the early '90s, depending on who you believe. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.