Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Action - Never Ever

It's not always acknowledged that while British bands in the early to mid sixties were clearly obsessed with American rock-n-roll, they were equally drawn to American soul and Motown recordings. Us Flipsters like to talk about it a lot. For every Brit-covered blues or rock-n-roll song by Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley or Willie Dixon, you are likely to also find something by Holland-Dozier-Holland, Jerry Ragovoy, Garnet Mimms or Solomon Burke. This was especially true in the mod, art school music scene of The Who, The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, The Creation, and The Zombies. Yet, despite the prominence of these bands, no act "got" this early soul sound quite like the lesser known act, The Action.

Based out of London and known in '64 as The Boys, they had released one single by the time the boys changed their name to The Action in '65. In the span of their career The Action released a mere five singles, all on Parlophone, and all not charting one bit. Their fourth release was their first foray into original material and featured two group-penned songs, the A-side of which is today's song, Never Ever, perhaps the pinnacle of the British reinterpretation of American soul music from this era. Released in January 1967 this was their only record to also see release in the U.S., on Capitol Records later the same year.

While much of popular - and experimental - music at the time was careening into psychedelia or heavier blues based rock, The Action managed to record this relatively tame, sober - and brilliant - soul number. At this point, I believe, The Action were a four piece band, with the highly-esteemed Reg King on vocals, Alan King on guitar and vocals, Mike Evans on bass and vocals, and Roger Powell on drums.  The producer here and on the other releases was one George Martin, a name that rings a bell. Perhaps it was his idea to add a horn section and put some backtracked cymbal (to my ears) at various crucial moments here. In any case he seems to know what he's doing.
See another post looking at The Action's cover of I'll Keep Holding On here.

See you on the Flip-side!

7 comments:

  1. Wow. A US Pressing? I had no frickin' idea.

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  2. Why no Capitol Sleeve on that record?

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    1. It didn't come with one. Taking donations.

      What do you think of that fade in intro? Not to many of those out there. I can only bring one to mind.

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    2. Well, I know George Martin did it on Eight Days A Week. I think it's fine, but not necessary.

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    3. I guess you feel the same way about fade ins as you do about fade outs. I really like it here but I'd probably feel different if it were more widely put to use. If only they didn't fade out...

      Do you think that's backtracking going on with the cymbal sound? For example :37 and repeated elsewhere.

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  3. This is a great song! Thank you for all the great tunes on this killer blog.

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    Replies
    1. Bitchin'. keep coming back for more.

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