Shake Some Action was the first album by the newly reconstituted version of the Flamin' Groovies, who had returned from a five-year hiatus during which lead singer Roy Loney departed the band, leaving guitarist Cyril Jordan as its de facto leader. The band drastically reshaped their musical style, stripping down the blues and rockabilly influences of their previous work in favor of a more retro, guitar-oriented power pop style emulating that of the 1960s British Invasion scene. The new band took to wearing velvet-collared three-piece suits and Cuban heels in an attempt to recreate the fashion sense of the era. In an interview with ZigZag magazine, Jordan stated that the band "just wanted to get back to the flash of that era, which were the best years, as far as I'm concerned."
In a contemporary review of Shake Some Action, Robert Christgau of The Village Voice felt that the Flamin' Groovies, deprived of Roy Loney and having remodelled themselves as "an English pop-revival band", now "get their kicks playing dumb", and that while the album contained good songs, "only cultists will ever hear them." In the United States, Shake Some Action reached number 142 on the Billboardalbums chart. The album was released to a much greater reception in the United Kingdom, then in the early stages of the punk era. Newly based in England, the reformed Flamin' Groovies found itself aligned with the burgeoning punk scene, along with the likes of bands such as the Ramones and the Sex Pistols.
Retrospectively, Ian S. Port of San Francisco Weekly states that Shake Some Action "influenced the rise of power pop and punk in America, and remains a vital document of that era." In a retrospective review of the album, Mark Deming of AllMusic opined that "if Shake Some Action was the first salvo from the new and improved Flamin' Groovies, it also demonstrated that this edition of the band had as much promise as the Loney-fronted group," calling the title track "a brilliant evocation of the adventurous side of British rock circa 1966... [which] by its lonesome served as a superb justification for The Groovies' new creative direction." Joe Tangari of Pitchfork Media wrote that Shake Some Action "is in every sense both a comeback and a re-invention, and it's been rightly championed by collectors and critics extolling its effortless pop perfection."