4 Men With Beards
FLAMIN' GROOVIES - Jumpin' in the Night LP
Jumpin’ in the Night would be the Groovies’ final official studio album. It remains one of their most poorly reviewed, due largely to the prevailing consensus that they had run a tired formula into the ground. This criticism hones in on the record’s questionable cover material, and rightly so. Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” is both an odd contemporary inclusion and limply rendered. Bob Dylan’s “Absolutely Sweet Marie” fares only slightly better (though, given its verbal complexity, is perhaps just as odd of a choice). And three Byrds songs are simply too much for one album. But to dismiss Jumpin’ in the Night altogether is unfair and unwise. Inarguably, the album is frontloaded with its best stuff; still, the strong-armed opening of four originals (“Jumpin’ in the Night”, “Next One Crying”, “First Plane Home”, “In the U.S.A.”) is thrilling rock ‘n’ roll, and just as convincing as anything from the previous two albums. The record was produced by Roger Bechirian, best-known for engineering Elvis Costello’s records from the same period, and his more modern sensibilities pull the Groovies out from Edmunds’s traditionalist utopia and into some kind of contemporary context. Really, though, context and contemporary acceptance were the last things on the Groovies’ minds. They just wanted to rock ‘n’ roll, consistently, anytime, anywhere.