Guide to British Music of the 1960s

May 2004

CD Review

Where the Action Is

 

Like a previous compilation The In Crowd this collection brings together Mod and "Mod-influences" tracks from the 1960s. As such, it acts as an overview of the UK Mod scene in the 1960s. Some of the tracks were, until recently, rare and hard to find but are now available on a variety of compilations. The Birds' powerful Leavin' Here is an example of this. The Who's version appeared on the BBC Sessions but Ronnie Wood and friends take the Eddie Holland original to new heights with its driving power chords.

The Creation were often compared with the Who. This was unjust when looking at their overall body of work. However, it is probably the b-side of the hit Painter Man that invites the comparisons. Biff Bang Pow is similar to My Generation but even more pop art! A further comparison comes from the fact that they shared Shel Talmy as producer and the piano playing of ace session player Nicky Hopkins is present.

The Sorrows did not make the singles chart despite some superb tracks. Take a Heart is the best-known of these but You've Got What I Want is certainly a freakbeat classic. Pete Townshend's Circles is well-interpreted by Les Fleur de Lys. It has often been speculated that this track features ace session player Jimmy Page on lead guitar. However, the truth is more likely that it was Phil Sawyer.

A young David Bowie sings I can't Help Thinking About Me in the guise of Davy Jones & the Lower Third although this is mis-credited on the CD. This is a superb track, for many better than what he produced during the 1970s.

Amongst the remaining tracks on disc one are some Mod classics. One of the best things about this compilation is that Gary Crowley has picked the less obvious songs. The glut of compilations has meant that rare tracks are available again. However, this has also meant that the same tracks have been released again and again. For example, the Small Faces' Eddie Dreaming is an album track off the second album and makes a change from the usual compilation staples of All or Nothing or Lazy Sunday. The Action were one of the hottest Mod acts of the 1960s with a tremendous live following but nothing to show for this in terms of chart placings. Again, this CD chooses a track other than the obvious ones for the Action and this is a refreshing approach. The same can be said of Georgie Fame's Do the Dog, the Smoke's  I Want to Make it With You or the Clique's She Ain't No Good. Sittin' on my Sofa is a under-played Kinks track.

Where the Action Is will also introduce listeners to lesser-known band such as The Attack, The Alan Bown Set, Charles Dickens(!) or The Riot Squad.

The second disc could broadly be described as "influences." This consists of soul, R&B and ska tracks by a range of artists, some of which are better known than others. Put this on and if your feet aren't tapping away, you will be up and dancing.

Release Date: 2004

Sanctuary DQFDD005

Essential Tracks:

  • Leaving Here
  • Am I Still Dreaming
  • Biff Bang Pow

Track Listing:

Disc One

  1. The Birds - Leaving Here
  2. The Creation - Biff Bang Pow
  3. The Sorrows - You've Got What I Want
  4. Les Fleurs de Lys - Circles
  5. The Primitives - You Said
  6. David Bowie - Can't Help Thinking About Me
  7. The Kinks - Sittin' on my Sofa
  8. Small Faces - Eddie's Dreaming
  9. The Action - Never Ever
  10. Georgie Fame - Do The Dog
  11. The Riot Squad - I Wanna Talk About My Baby
  12. The Artwoods - Keep Lookin'
  13. The Smoke - Wanna Make It With You
  14. The Attack - We Don't Know
  15. Alan Bown Set - Baby Don't Push Me
  16. The Game - But I Do
  17. Charles Dickens - In the City
  18. The Clique - She Ain't No Good
  19. The Koobas - Take Me For a Little While
  20. Timebox - Soul Sauce

Disc Two

  1. Robert Parker - Let's Go Baby (Where the Action is)
  2. Dobie Gray - The 'In' Crowd
  3. Betty Everett - Getting Mighty Crowded
  4. The Showstoppers - Ain't Nothing But a Houseparty
  5. Jackie Edwards - Come on Home
  6. Candy & the Kisses - The 81
  7. Nella Dodds - Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers
  8. Chuck Jackson - Hand it Over
  9. PP Arnold - Am I Still Dreaming?
  10. Guitar Red - Just You and I
  11. Tommy Tucker - High Heel Sneakers
  12. Jimmy James and the Vagabonds - I Feel Alright
  13. Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band - Hi Hi Hazel
  14. Eric "Monty" Morris - Penny Reel
  15. The Skatalites - Lucky Seven
  16. Don Drummond & the Skatalites - Garden of Love
  17. The Ethiopians - Train to Skaville
  18. Dandy - (People Get Ready) Let's Do Rock Steady
  19. The Slickers - Johnny Too Bad
  20. Desmond Decker & the Aces - 007 (Shanty Town)

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