I recently purchased The Action “Shadows And Reflections” 4 CD set. It’s their complete recordings from 1964 to 1968. It also includes the ‘Rolled Gold’ period of recordings that never saw the light of day in the late ’60s.

This means that my twenty year old ‘Rolled Gold’ CD has been made redundant and will go on my stack to sell on eBay soon.

But before I do that I’ll examine the sleeve notes and duplicate the words Alan King, guitarist with The Action, recounted all those years ago.

‘Rolled Gold’ represents what you might call a transitional period for the band. Gone were the days of the pill-popping mods who seemed to rave all night long. Different drugs came onto the music scene (pot, acid, etc.), so attitudes and passions changed.

We were no exception. We began to experiment with new ideas, writing songs even, which was very exciting. We wanted to play our own stuff, instead of doing covers all the time.

None of the tracks on this disc feature Pete Watson. He didn’t share our bad habits and decided to get out while he still possessed all his brain cells, probably a wise move on his part.

We continued as a four piece with yours truly playing lead guitar, but I never considered myself a ‘lead’ guitarist so we hired Ian Whiteman (keyboards / flute), who just happened to live on the same street as me, and later on – I’m not sure how long – we recruited Martin Stone (lead guitar).

The songs – all originals – were recorded as ‘demos’ for a forth-coming album that never came to fruition. The idea was to get a record company – in this case I think it was Polydor – to front the money to record them properly. Unfortunately, for reasons I can’t remember, they decided to pass. So, this is as far as we got with them.

The demos were recorded at Polydor and Advision, with the exception of “Little Boy”, which for some reason I distinctly remember being recorded in a tiny demo studio beneath a shop on Old Compton St. W1 (Tin Pan Alley), and “In My Dreams” was recorded somewhere else and produced by George Martin, who also produced the earlier Action singles on Parlophone.

Only one track, “Look At The View,” was recorded as a four piece. The rest all feature Martin Stone and Ian Whiteman. A fair number of tracks were barely more than ideas for songs, like “Brain,” which I think was made up on the spot with spontaneous vocals from Reg, and “It Really Doesn’t Matter,” with its off-the-planet backing vocals.

I could write reams about this period of the band, if only I could remember. No, seriously, I do remember lots, but most of it would bore you to tears. 

One thing I do remember about this piece of the Action is that we were really excited about what we were doing and felt we were creating something fresh and new. We really enjoyed it and we hope you do too! (Alan King)


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