The Action

Action Packed

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Beginning in the fall of 1965 with their single "Land of 1000 Dances" b/w "In My Lonely Room," the Liverpool-based quintet the Action graced the world with some of the best R&B and soul ever to come out of a British band, utterly convincing and sung and played with complete conviction.They only got better with their next few singles, including "I'll Keep on Holding On," "Baby You've Got It" b/w "Since I Lost My Baby," and "Harlem Shuffle" (which wasn't even released until the 1980s), but somehow never made it to the charts. The 17 songs here overlap with the contents of The Ultimate Action, except that these tracks were all newly remastered in 24-bit sound from better sources, so the action on the drums is audible and the guitars, bass, and vocals are practically right in your lap. That digital transfer, coupled with the extensive annotation and the array of group photographs, picture sleeves, advertising art, and original single labels all combine to make this set an essential upgrade from the earlier release. Further, although it is a compilation of singles (and, thus, a bit unfair to stack up against individual albums by other bands), the music on Action Packed is every bit as essential, bracing, and enjoyable a listening experience as, say, With the Beatles, Rolling Stones Now, the Who's original U.K. My Generation album, or any of the other iconic music releases of the British Invasion. Even the one non-soul number here, "Shadows and Reflections," which reflected a change in direction for the group and closes the collection (and also surfaced on Rhino's Nuggets II box), is one of the catchier unknown pieces of British psychedelic pop you're ever likely to run into.

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