Andy Miracle is fast becoming an official SPB correspondent. He beat me to the punch on a review of Roy Loney and the Longshots' new record.
If you don't know Roy Loney, he was a founder of the fabled Flamin Groovies, the mid-60s San Francisco powerpop progenitors. Loney left the group in the early 1970s, before the Groovies released the seminal album "Shake Some Action." His new record features a bevy of Seattle musicians, including Scott McCaughey, Jim and Johnny Sangster, Mark Pickeral, Tad Hutchison, and others.
Here's Andy's review:
Roy Loney and the Longshots’ excellent new album Shake It or Leave It is a party waiting to happen, a trip through rock & roll history and a tragicomic tour de force.
Loney is an ace songwriter and for Shake It or Leave It he and the Longshots, his talented band of Seattle pop/rock luminaries, have crafted a dozen perfect songs full of humor, swagger and keen insight, that range stylistically from the supercharged Chuck Berry riffing of opening track “Baby Du Jour” to the swirling psychedelic shimmer of “Subterranean Waterfalls” a tripped-out ode to the joy of deep, deep massage that sounds like it could have been recorded at Abbey Road Studios sandwiched between session for The Beatles and Pink Floyd.
“The Great Divide” is plaintive, soaring folk-rock replete with chiming, twelve-string guitar and whining organ. Harpsichord and oboe add Baroque touches to the lovely “Hamlet’s Brother, Happy” a comic vignette of Happy, Prince of Denmark. Never heard of him? Well, he liked to keep a low profile.
You can really shake your mop top to “Danger Waves” an infectious Merseybeat number with joyous vocal harmonies that bolster Loney as he struts and boasts of his acts of brash belligerence in the face of danger: “Never been afraid of fire/I can bite down on live wire.” As tough as he may be Loney can’t help but let a woman get the better of him in the effervescent “Miss Val Dupree” which employs that fab Tex-Mex sound The Sir Douglas Quintet concocted shortly after the British invaded Texas back in the mid-Sixties. “Bahdang!”
“Raw Deal” is red-hot rockabilly that self-combusts in a minute nineteen. The song’s title is an apt description of both it’s sound and it’s lyrical content: “Got a raw deal, raw deal baby, baby/Wanna lay right down and bawl baby, baby.” The snotty garage rock of “Don’t Like Nothin’” with its fuzz-toned guitar rave-up courtesy of Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek sounds like the Yardbirds fronted by Mark Lindsey.
Darker themes underlie the party spirit and raucous humor throughout much of Shake It or Leave It. “Looking for the Body” is a rocking metaphysical murder-mystery and the evocative country & (spaghetti) western number “Big Fat Nada” describes the heady liberation that can be achieved by embracing ones own mortality: “I never felt so free/Can’t believe that this is really me.”
A fitting epilogue to this outstanding album, “Hey Now” is pounding, straight ahead rock & roll with lyrics that describe the singers ascension to “Cloud No. 10” where he finds himself an Irish bar and sends his kudos and love back to the boys in the band. Kudos to Roy Loney and the Longshots, long may they rock.