UPDATE: The book will be published on 19 October 2012.
The Action - In The Lap Of The Mods

by Ian Hebditch and Jane Shepherd
With Mike Evans and Roger Powell

We all tried our hand at getting that [Motown] sound you know... all the bands in the mid ‘60s. The best ones at it were the Action... They were an amazing band.”
(Steve Marriott, 1987)

Of all the groups to emerge during the 1960s British beat explosion THE ACTION are most deserving of the epithet “unsung”. Formed in 1964 this sharply attired North London quintet attracted a legion of diehard followers as well as the envy and plaudits of their peers. Most notably they were arguably the best Anglo outfit to successfully interpret the American soul and R&B so beloved of their Mod audience.

Comprising a rock solid rhythm section of drummer Roger Powell and bassist Mike Evans – faithfully modelled on the Funk Brothers who so defined the Tamla-Motown sound, a pair of inventive guitarists, Alan ‘Bam’ King and Pete Watson, who could harmonise like angels, and Reg King, blessed with a soulful voice that could pass for pure Chicago or Detroit, the Action were continually tipped for greatness.

And yet fame eluded the Action. While similarly inclined outfits like the Small Faces, the Spencer Davis Group and the Who turned Mod attitude into chart glory the five singles the Action released during their relatively short career failed to sell in significant numbers. However those recordings from 1965-68 were revered by a switched-on fan base and have continued to inspire successive generations of Brit Beat enthusiasts. The Action’s reputation has even belatedly spread across the Atlantic particularly in 2002 when Rolled Gold – a collection of startlingly original songs cut during the band’s final phase that had preciously circulated on lo-fi bootlegs - was released to rapturous praise.

To those with a passing knowledge of the era the Action remain an enigma due to their low commercial profile but for those lucky enough to see them – and for those who wish they had - the Action cast a considerable shadow.

Their story was played out against a backdrop of societal upheaval in which the Mod movement played an integral part. Co-author Ian Hebditch was a first generation Mod from Portsmouth - a regular at the town’s legendary Birdcage Club - and his memories and insight, untainted by revisionism, of this subculture and with exclusive comment from all original band members, In The Lap Of The Mods helps to provide a unique first hand account of what Mod and the Action were really about. Cameo appearances from the likes of the Beatles, the Who, Rod Stewart, David Bowie and Captain Beefheart indicates just some of the interesting circles the Action moved in.

Now at last after some ten years in development (worth a book in itself!) The Action: In The Lap Of The Mods provides the final word on this legendary band and illustrates how their music, image and attitude transcends the times it was made and continues to inspire.

The Action

Hardcover edition
This large format (US letter size) cloth bound book with over 200 pages printed on high quality 170grm paper features:

  • The Action’s story told in full detail for the first time ever based on dozens of interviews and extensive research

  • Contributions from all original band members – Reggie King, Michael Evans, Roger Powell, Pete Watson and Alan King, in addition to Ian Whiteman and Martin Stone

  • Comment from well-known Action fans and contemporaries Pete Townshend, Paul Weller, Peter Banks and Phil Collins along with other key music industry figures

  • Foreword by Sir George Martin CBE

  • Over 200 colour and B&W images many of which are reproduced for the first time including:

  •  Previously unseen informal and promotional photographs of the band
  •  Publicity material including rare press releases, flyers and posters
  •  Rare items of memorabilia such as gig posters, handbills and fan club material
  •  Single releases, acetates and recording session sheets from Abbey Road Studios

  • An in-depth account of the Birdcage club in Portsmouth, a legendary Mod venue and Action stronghold, together with a full gig listing of who played there

  • A comprehensive list of every track ever performed by the Action whether on stage, TV, radio or on record.

  • Accounts of the Action live at venues across the UK and Europe including recollections from fans in Holland and former regulars at such iconic clubs as the Marquee, the Goldhawk, Watford Trade and the Cavern in Liverpool.

  • Original gig and record reviews from the music press

  • The full story behind the original Action line-up’s reformation in 1998

Limited edition (400 copies, individually numbered)

This special edition includes the following exclusive bonus items (neither of which will be made available or sold individually), each housed along with the hardcover book inside a presentation slipcase:

An incredibly rare and previously unreleased one-track 7 inch single of ‘Why You Wanna Make Me Blue’ – an exact replica of a single-sided acetate/demo the Action recorded for an unsuccessful audition for Decca on 31 May 1965, prior to them signing with George Martin’s A.I.R company. This precious nugget represents the earliest known recording of the Action.

‘Where The Action Is’ – a comprehensive chronology of the history of the Action - a daily diary of events, gigs played, appearances on TV and radio, record release/tour dates/chart positions and details of every recording session at Abbey Road, supplemented with press articles, gig adverts and additional items of rare memorabilia and ephemera not included in the hardcover edition of the book. Also included in this paperback volume is an extended Action family tree (from 1961 to the present day) and a full discography of the band.

UPDATE: The book will be published on 19 October 2012. In the meantime you can view some sample chapters and you can reserve a copy online.