60’s Band of the Week #7: The Action

17 Dec

Being home has many benefits. One of these benefits is that my oversized binder full of various 60’s bands is within hand’s reach. What does that mean for you? Well, if you have ignored the title of the post I will enlighten you. The 60’s Band of the Week section that has been completely disregarded since August is back; at least until I go back to school in late January. The band that will begin this glorious return is a group whose talent never produced much success. There are a lot of 60’s bands that unfortunately fell into that trap, but, like The Action, their skill was ultimately realized in the release of old material in best hits collections.

Band: The Action

Origin: Kentish Town, North London, England

Genre: British Beat Pop and Blue-Eyed Soul

Founded: 1963-1969

Original Line-Up:

Reg King (Lead Vocals)

– Peter Watson (Guitar)

–   Alan ‘Bam’ King (Lead Guitar and Vocals)

–   Mike ‘Ace’ Evans (Bass Guitar and Vocals)

–   Roger Powell (Drums)

Name: After being formed under the obvious title of The Boys, the band decided it would be better to establish some creativity and rename the band The Action.

History: Most bands are judged on records sold, the market that surrounds them, and other misguided labels for success. This is unfortunate because there are many bands out there that suffer from, what I would like to coin Thomas Jones syndrome. Thomas Jones, the current running back for The New York Jets, puts up tremendous numbers and has an incredible work ethic, but, due to some odd reason he continues to live as the personal embodiment of Rodney Dangerfield’s “No Respect.” Yes, I understand I use Dangerfield a lot in these type of discussions and I believe it is only because I am impressed at my own attempts at witty humor, but, honestly, Jones and bands that are the like of The Action are often disrespected by most of the music community. How so? Nobody knows of them even if their work is far better than most commercially succesful bands (or running backs for that matter). Let’s look at a little Action history.

After forming they quickly signed to George Martin’s Parlophone Records and released a few singles that saw good reviews by critics, but miserable sales. Some bad management and disappointment eventually led to their disposal by Parlophone and the eventual leaving of original members. The new band transformed and became psychedelic and then folky, abandoning the soul-rock that was rooted in the incredible voice of King and the scene they once played in. The question remaining is simply what happened.

They were an English band in the Mod scene playing with bands like The Who, who obviously went on to bigger and better things (You see what I did there?). They experienced the band nightlife in London and they often played to sold out crowds. Heck, Mike Evans was good friends with Keith Moon and both respected each others work. Evans tells a story of the first time he saw Reg King perform. “I remember the first time I heard him sing, in a pub in Kentish Town. I went there with Keith Moon. Reg was singing “Stand by Me” and I thought, Yeah. Later Keith sat in on drums and proceeded to smash them up much to the resident drummer’s horror.” (Thanks to ready-steady-go.org.uk).

The man behind the mic Reg King was the power behind the band. While King did not provide some of the odd antics (KEITH MOON) that defined this musical era, he was the definition of blue-eyed soul. The man could, and still can sing his heart out and this is generally something that makes a good band. So, what happened? My guess is that they were simply overshadowed (maybe not for reasonable reasons) in a music time that saw the rise of more flamboyant bands, who, while displaying equal talents still provided more marketable music that sold in both London and in the States. These are the bands that made it, not ones like The Action. But, luckily, recordings still exist and albums have been cut with them which brings me to my next point…

Best Album:

Action Packed released in 2001 is a great collection of old singles and good songs. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Action-Packed/dp/B000058A1G/ref=pd_sim_m_1 Another great collection is Rolled Gold.

Did You Know:

Phil Collins (of Genesis and solo fame) has frequently said that The Action was one of his favorite bands and in 2000 when he played with the reunited band he remarked it was like played with the Beatles.

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