FAVOURITE GUITARISTS – CYRIL JORDAN

London Guitar Academy‘s  Paul Wood delights us with the second in his series of FAVOURITE GUITARISTS

Learning to play guitar by listening to his favourite British Invasion singles of the

early 60s, Cyril Jordan is a founding member of San Francisco’s legendary Flamin’

Groovies.

A band that seemed to be permanently out of time, their early albums in the 60s

showed them doing covers of 50s rockers by Eddie Cochran and Little Richard.

Their classic 70s albums paid homage to the 60s sounds of the Byrds, Beatles and

Stones. The 80s band was the closest they ever came to straight forward 70s rock

and they clearly didn’t like the sounds of the 80s because they were almost dormant

throughout the 90s.

Cyril Jordan has been a constant presence throughout. Early albums (Sneakers/

Supersnazz) showed off his rock’n’roll chops (and a few nods towards the Lovin’

Spoonful) before the band took on a harder rockin’ sound on “Flamingo” (inspired

by playing shows with the MC5 and the Stooges). They followed this up with their

first classic album with the original band line up (“Teenage Head”) which mixed their

original 50s based sound with the late 60’s blues rock swagger of the Stones.

Check out the following tracks from “Teenage Head”

With the departure of original vocalist Roy Loney, and 2nd

took the band closer to his dream combination of a sound combining the 60s British

Invasion groups (Beatles, Stones, Who) with their US equivalents (Byrds, Paul

Revere & the Raiders).

The band had a short spell at Rockfield studios in the UK with Dave Edmunds as

producer during 1972 which produced the pre-punk classic single “Slow Death”

and led the way for their 1976 re-emergence with their second classic album (“Shake

Some Action”). Gone however were the leather jackets and rock’n’roll flash clothes

of the ‘72 incarnation of the Groovies and in their place came Beatle suits, Cuban

heel boots and a disinclination to play their previous classic tracks (such as “Slow

Death” “Teenage Head”). Adding a collection of Rickenbacker 12 strings to their

signature rock sound of the Dan Armstrong Plexiglass, the band looked and played

fantastic, but was seriously out of step with the emerging punk explosion. Although

their triumphant London show at the Roundhouse on 4 July 1976 had them topping

the bill over The Ramones (their Sire record label mates) and The Stranglers, both

bands would quickly eclipse the Groovies commercially.

“Shake Some Action” with its Jordan inspired descending guitar lines has become

the power pop classic single and the subject of many cover versions.

Jordan carried on with various incarnations of the band until their last official studio

release “Rock Juice” in 1992.

Long dormant and almost forgotten (other than by long term fans), Cyril Jordan

and the Groovies came back into life in 2013 with a line up including Jordan,

Chris Wilson (vocals) and George Alexander (bass) from the classic 1972 line up,

augmented by new member Victor Penalosa on drums.

A series of well received shows in London, Japan, Australia and the States showed

that the Groovies still have the power to rock out as hard as before, and with the

set list containing all the classic Groovies tracks (“Teenage Head”, “Slow Death”

and “Shake Some Action”) maybe the band has at last come to terms with its own

history. New tracks are being recorded in the studio right now – maybe finally this will

be the year of the Flamin Groovies. Can’t wait!

Shake Some Action (Hard Rock Calling 2013):

Guitar most associated with Cyril Jordan

Ampeg Dan Armstrong Plexiglass

(as seen on the cover of “Teenage Head” and a fixture on all Cyril Jordan/Groovies

recordings subsequently. Still played to great effect in 2013)

Recommended albums (Flamin’ Groovies):

Teenage Head

I’ll Have A Bucket Of Brains (The Original 1972 Rockfield Sessions for U.A.)

Slow Death (Amazin’ High Energy Rock’n’Roll 1971-3)

Shake Some Action

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London Guitar Academy

The London Guitar Academy is London’s only dedicated Rock Pop and Blues guitar school specialising in one to one guitar tuition in either electric or acoustic guitar.

Each lesson is tailored to suit each students individual taste and ability; offering a fresh and innovative approach to learning the guitar.

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