|The Flamin' Groovies with Dave Edmunds (third from the right)|
In his liner notes to Slow Death, Jordan writes that the Hollywood demo of "Shake Some Action" remains his favorite track. I hear its glory now; I was listening with the wrong ears in the 80s. The album version is shiner and more compact a production, if a song this explosive can be considered compact. Jordan's and Wilson's guitars ring and David Wright's snare pops and his cymbals shape gorgeous halos. But what's implied in the album version is made passionately explicit in the demo: in the final moments, Jordan and Wilson sing "Shake some action / down on me," and it's that plea to the heavens, that glance upward, that redirects the song's passions—and redefines them. It's as if the shimmering production values on the album version were pious misdirection, where the urging in the demo version feels dirty, desperate, and all the more necessary. Though Jordan layered the acoustic guitars on the demo to achieve a mandolin effect, they're still rag-tag, loose, more lived-in than the studied, well-rehearsed electric guitars in the album version.
Demo versus polish, a body before a cleansing, a body after. For me, it's a draw as to which version of "Shake Some Action" is greater. And a draw it will likely remain.
Fred Mills is still a "mega-groovies nut." He's written about the band many times, notably here at Blurt, the magzine he edits.
Photo of the Flamin' Groovies and Dave Edmunds by Paul Slattery from the Mike Wilhelm Collection. Via Mike Wilhelm.