Review and photograph by Ross Marvin
The Capital Land Crate Digger brings you reviews of vinyl obscurities found for $10 or under at Capital District record stores, thrift shops, garage sales and junk emporiums. The vinyl archeologist behind this column is Ross Marvin, an English teacher and music enthusiast who lives in Saratoga County. Ross has over 1,000 pieces of vinyl, is running out of shelf room, and can be found getting his fingers dirty in a box of records near you.
Here’s a little story that sums up the Capital Land record store scene. At the end of July I had my annual record garage sale in Clifton Park and despite ridding myself of several tons of tunes (making my wife immeasurably happy), I was still left with some quality merchandise. Like most serious record collectors, I deal to pay for the habit. So, I took a stack of wax to Troy’s Citizen-of-the-Year Jimmy Barrett down at the River Street Beat Shop in Troy. The always fair Barrett gave me some credit at the store, and before you know it I was pulling out more records than I expected. I felt a heady rush when I came across an extremely clean promo 12” single of legendary Flamin’ Groovies frontman Roy Loney doing the Elvis hit “Return to Sender”.
Norton Records co-founder Miriam Linna probably said it best about the Groovies that they were the American Rolling Stones, raised on Sun Records rather than Chess. It’s a fitting description of the Groovies early records like “Teenage Head” and “Flamingo” that sound more ’50s rock and rockabilly informed than blues derived. When Loney left the band in the early ’70s, he became a record clerk in San Francisco, but never exactly stopped recording, making several records on the Solid Smoke and War Bride labels as Roy Loney & the Phantom Movers. The Phantom Movers may well have been called the Phantom Groovies as they included original Groovy drummer Danny Mihm, and sometimes-Groovy lead guitar player James Ferrell. The group was rounded out by Maurice Tani on bass, and Nick Buck on keyboards, with Loney belting out snarling lead vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar.