= November 2012 =  
When the Word was Sound
Dodson & Fogg
Tom Dyer
Acid Mothers Temple
James McKeown
The Action
Fruits de Mer round-up



(CD available from
http://wtwws.bigcartel.com/product/submersion )

Starting with the rather eye-grabbing sleeve art, we see a once extinct Coelacanth nonchalantly gliding past the figure of an ascending (or descending?) swimmer. The last occasion one of these elusive fishy beasts surfaced (?) on a sleeve during my watch was the "First Course" c.d. by the Dead C - like Not Even on T.V., out of South Africa, during the mid 2000s. So, with a liquid environment and a (possibly) hapless diver, it won’t come as a moment of supreme illumination to reveal that this follow up to 2010's "The Third Pyramid" is some kinda conceptual work that concerns itself with the immersion of self, though whether this results in a positive or negative outcome is fairly unclear... after all it's not song-based...

    The accompanying promo sheet shows the duo of drummist Amanda Sonnier and Brandon W. Pittman (assorted keyboard / f.x. paraphernalia), set up somewhere in the deepest American countryside, looking for all the world like a latterday (albeit scaled down) version of the Silver Apples. But that's where the comparison putters out as the Lake Charles, Louisiana-based duo are avowedly ahem, "improvisational trance ghetto jazz" through and through. A genre whose affiliates could easily occupy a small phone box no doubt. And that's the beauty of this outfit's seemingly isolationist stance. This alluring melange of inner space driftscaping and reverb-swathed k-rock textures concocted by this two-piece appear to have developed erm, organically and outside of the workaday thrum of most cottage industry hoopla.

   Highlights for me are the slowly uncoiling acid psyche guitar amp outs of "Dayblink (Resurface)" with oh so distant traces of A.R. Kane, Flying Saucer Attack and debut l.p. Gila, the faux jazz vibraphonics of "Round Midnight at the Atlantis" and the ceremonial gongs at the hub of "Submersion (Awash)", which resembles Evelyn Glennie's Cults Percussion Ensemble (l.p. just reissued on Trunk - essential!), recorded in the limiting confines of a bathysphere.

   All things considered, this is surely one of the most engrossing discs that has washed up on this particular shoreline in a good long while. To be filed alongside Aethenor, Gavin Bryars' "Titanic" and the criminally neglected Spheruleus c.d. "Voyage". (Steve Pescott)



(LP jointly released by Divide by Zero / Three Lobed Recordings)

Rhyton – the clue is in the name – is the brainchild of David Shuford of No Neck Blues Band. ‘Emerald Tablet’ is their second release (the first being a s/t LP which came out last year) and my own first exposure, for which dutiful thanks should be paid to Cory Rayborn at Three Lobed who took pity on my ears and realised they were overdue for a treat. And quite some treat this is. To describe the three numbers as free jazz-flecked improvised guitar pieces is only part of the story; stir in some huge lumps of enviably controlled feedback and scintillating middle-eastern rhythms reminiscent of David Lindley’s work with the marvellous Kaleidoscope (particularly on the opening ‘Obligation’) plus some wondrous guitar pyrotechnics in a similar vein to Rudolph Grey and you won’t be so far from the mark. Yet the trio are simultaneously branching out and embracing new and experimental forms too, “Trismegistus sto Smaragda” sounding at once totally improvised and yet effortlessly blues based. I’m reminded a little of White Hills, which is no bad thing in itself.

Apparently this was released in a limited run of around 600 copies, so I can only suggest you move quickly. Comes with a printed poly sleeve (think Edgar Broughton Band’s ‘Oora’) and a voucher for downloading an MP3 of the album should you be so inclined. (Phil McMullen)



( CD from http://www.animaarctica.fi/)

Opening with chanted voice, the second album from Finnish band Tervahaat is a collection of cold ambient soundscapes that speak of frozen lands, ritual and Finnish mysticism. Reminding me of Stone Breath in their atmosphere, the seven tracks use primitive percussion, strings and drones to summon old Gods, leading the listener deep into the forest, trudging through endless snow in search of ancient wisdom. Throughout the music is beautifully judged, never overwhelming, the sounds carefully blended, allowing the essence of the song to shine through. On the title track a slow pulse hypnotises the listener, slowing the heartbeat and pulling you in, the use of solo voice at the end adding another layer of ritual to the ambience.

     On “Otsontanssi”, a throbbing bass and nagging percussion mimic flames flickering on cavern walls, the smoky atmosphere of the piece curling around your synapses, all you can do is close your eyes and dream awhile. With a simple repeated guitar”Lumelleluvattu” gets its power from the vocal delivery, the harshness of the voice adding an icy chill to the piece, howling from the speakers like the north wind bringing coldness and dark.

   As the album continues the singular musical visions of Antero Kaarna and Ilmari Rumu, become more and more focused, the sound constantly shifting from drone to dense guitar textures, the percussion keeping the beat of the land itself, with the Finnish lyrics complementing the sounds that surround them until, suddenly, there is a burst of sunlight, dripping water and green shoots as the delicate strings of “Ylisilla” changes the feel of the album adding warmth and hope to the collection.

    To end, “Saattaja” is a devastating piece of music that is worthy of the price alone. Filled with longing, the melodies will entwine around you, leaving you shattered long after the sound has faded revealing a beauty so rare that it seems to come from the land itself. (Simon Lewis) 



(CD from http://wisdomtwinsbooks.weebly.com/dodson-and-fogg.html)

Basically the project of musician and writer Chris Wade, this album will be of interest to Terrascope readers for two reasons. Firstly it has contributions from Celia Humphris (Trees), Judy Dyble and Nik Turner [plus accordian player Kzrysztof Juzskiewicz, late of the mighty Skin Alley! - Phil]; and secondly because it is rather lovely, a nostalgic trip back to 1971, when folk music collided with progressive rock and became known as acid folk. Those of you who worry about the prog word will be pleased to know that this collection is acoustic and song orientated, rather than some overblown epic, with melody and warmth shining from its grooves.

   Opening with “All Day Long”, the gentle mood is reminiscent of late sixties English psych, a softly rolling piece of whimsy that relaxes the senses beautifully. On “Just You and Me”, Nik Turner adds some gentle flute embellishments that dance together with the guitar riff creating a sweet ripple of sound.

     With both “Meet Our May” and “Footprints” continuing the summery acoustic ambience you are soon dreaming of meadow flowers, babbling brooks and a pint of ale around a roaring fire, with the latter being particularly melodic and enchanting, complete with the sound of birdsong to enhance your daydreams.

   More sombre in its mood “Nothing At All” has an aching cello running through it, with Mr Wade's vocals seemingly perfectly suited to the song, as his short and effective guitar solo. Equally reflective, “Say Goodbye” is a delightful tune, the backing vocals of Judy and Celia perfectly realised, contributing much without being overpowering.

    Adding a bit of rock to the folk, albeit powered by bongos, “Endless Sky” is acoustic hippy psych, with some distorted electric guitar adding bite to the proceedings, echoes of the summer of love coursing through its veins. After the slightly strange lyrics of “The Slime”, we come to one of the most atmospheric and gorgeous songs on the disc as “Weather Changes” floats into your mind, a simple guitar line weaving magical textures with soft vocals and electric guitar, a song that ends far too soon.

   Finally “Crinkle Drive” leads us out, the flute lighting the way home, ending a fine album that will remind you of summer and the joy of living. (Simon Lewis)




(CD from Green Monkey )

Dyer is the head honcho over at green Monkey records in Seattle and he’s hit a bit of a prolific period, this being his fifth album in the last three years (and eighth overall). The songs mostly grew organically, whether it was to try out a new guitar (a 1967 Hagstrom II birthed ‘The Ballad of Carlton IV’ – a reference to Green Monkey’s occasional graphic artists, not the Hagstrom!) while a single guitar lick was expanded to deliver ‘(People Want To Be) Free’, which reminds me of the bluesy strawl that Rachael Sweet sang in John Waters’ and also boasts a wreck of a Captain Beefhartian sax solo. And speaking of My Van Vliet, Dyer’s gnarly swampy blues version of ‘Smithsonian Institute Blues’ features a banjo he doesn’t know how to play, a $39 mandolin and a resonator guitar he bought in a Starbucks parking lot. This, along with the four-minute ukulele solo that is ‘Pass The Jug’ sound not unlike The Little Rascals International Submarine Band off their Ritalin. In other words, the good Captain would be proud.

Dyer continues to play everything on the rest of the record, mostly cheap shit he bought on Craigslist and, perhaps more important to the overall free flowing wreckless abandon of the album, he plays instruments he never picked up before: banjo, mandolin, lap steel guitar, resonator guitar, ukuleles, fretless bass – truly the old punk aesthetic – pick up an instrument and see what kind of noise it makes and then construct a song around it. Mr. Rotten would be proud. Dyer finds that old time religion on Son House’s ‘John The Revelator’, busting blood vessels and banjo strings along the way. His powerhouse a capella vocal will chill the spine.

Elsewhere, Dyer slows down The Sonics’ immortal garage classic ‘The Witch’, only to later discover that it was originally written to be this slow. Dyer’s sure got his mojo workin’ on this one! ‘I Am Fretless’ is another favourite – an instrumental that combines fretless Gorilla guitar (with the frets yanked out and puttied up), a fretless bass, a lap steel, and a hallucinogenic dash of bulubul tarang (Indian banjo). East meets West, with apologies to Butterfield and Bloomfield! Finally, John Lee Hooker taps his way into the way down low groove of ‘Walkin’ In The Sky’ and everything wraps up on ‘The Day I Died’, a dirgy funk fit for funeral processions. So there you have it – a little Beefheart, some Sonics, Son House, John Lee, death tunes, love songs, all wrapped up in a blues tortilla and friend until crispy. As Dyer says in his detailed track annotations, “Put a fork in it – done!” (Jeff Penczak)





As any time-served Pot Head Pixie will doubtless be able to tell you, the IAO Chant is the repetitively hypnotic and ecstatically infectious incantation that serves as an intro to ”Master Builder” from the You album by Gong. Japanese noiseniks AMT are of course no strangers to this almighty cosmic riff, being not only occasional Gong collaborators (their Acid Mothers Gong CD with Gongsters Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth not to mention their improvised live recordings together are well worth investigating) but have already recorded a rendition of this, and at considerable length one might add, as the “IAO Chant from the Cosmic Inferno” some years back.

As a workshop in how to stretch one short intro into a full-on forty minute workout in two parts then this latest interpretation not only does the job but puts in some punishing overtime besides. Beginning with an almost impatiently short, sitar-like introduction AMT waste no time getting to grips with their central theme and it soon becomes apparent that what we are witnessing heralds a sharp return to what might be considered “business as usual” after last year’s comparatively restrained if damned odd “The Ripper at the Heaven’s Gates of Dark”. They just about keep the lid on things for 12 or so minutes and then all bets are off as the band of usual suspects, augmented here by new full-time member Tabata Mitsuru (Boredoms, Zeni Geva) on guitar and guitar synthesizer - as if having Kawabata Makoto in the ranks was not enough - charge full tilt into an improvised freak out of brain frying proportions.

Part 2 (like part 1, clocking in at over 19 minutes) is, initially, heavier on the experimental, before that familiar circular riff kicks in again at around three and a half minutes and then progressing to what in a previous life was the “Master Builder” chorus before hurtling out the other side of the sky at about, oh, 834 miles an hour and landing serenely and safely back to Earth. Next time, Felix Baumgartner, jump to this!

It’s testimony to the enduring nature of the original that a repetitive musical mantra of so few notes neither pales or grates, but then you’re reading the wholly subjective words of someone who’s been a Gong devotee since his mid-teens and shows no signs of growing out of it (motto: there’s no fool like an old fool) and one with a soft spot for AMT’s nuclear bomb blast approach to sonic experimentation

File under “unashamedly nuts, play loud and often”.

Over and out...

(Ian Fraser)



( cassette / CD / download from

Wistful,dream-laden and steeped in seventies acid folk, the second solo album from James McKeown (Hi-Fiction Science), is a delicate and beautiful collection of tunes that lap gently at your mind like an evening tide after a perfect summers' day.

    Opening track “Dead Maids” is almost transparent in sound, acoustic guitar and voice taking you away from realit, riding on soft melody, the addition of  subtle chimes and electric guitar completing the illusion of weightlessness. Equally beguiling is “ Life Aboard the International Space Station”, a sweet cloud of psychedelic loveliness that melts from the speakers wonderfully and serves as the perfect introduction to “See the Skies” another slice of pastoral bliss that has an otherworldly quality, as if heard in a dream, something it shares with the whole album.

   Even more fragile is “Tolerance”, a song that sounds more like a memory, reminding me of the more acoustic side of David Gilmour, or possibly the songs of Lone Pigeon, although these are just references as the songs have an identity that is all their own, the whole collection working as an album, maintaining the mood and flow throughout, rather than being separate entities groped together on a disc.

   One of the obvious highlights on the album is the haunting title track. Here everything comes together in understated glory, a magnificent song that harkens back to the early seventies, the Canterbury sound, vinyl, endless sunny days and a curl of smoke, the tune stopping time as it drifts away.

   Whilst they are not harsh or difficult, there is a real depth to them and it takes several plays to appreciate their strength meaning that this album will become a firm favourite over the years, something I am looking forward to already, now all it needs is a vinyl edition, gatefold sleeve and all the trimmings. (Simon Lewis)




(Self-published book

One of the original “mods,” the late Hebditch (who died suddenly five years ago, having completed most of the manuscript) takes a unique approach to relating the story of one of the most revered Mod bands. Rather than simply offering a checklist of “then they did this” and “then they followed with that”, he reveals in meticulous autobiographical detail the story behind the Mod movement. This is critical to an understanding of how The Action came about and (albeit briefly) thrived in the competitive Mod scene in mid-‘60s England. Alongside The Who (whose manager, Kit Lambert fired them for blowing his charges off the stage during their Marquee residency), The Small Faces (“never taken seriously because of the chart-group stigma, their fan base of little Moddy girls, and their Carnaby Street Mod/pop connotations”), Hebditch identifies other bands who gained favour amongst the true Mods: Jimmy James & The Vagabonds, the Alan Bown Set, and the ever-popular Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames.

With innumerable anecdotes from all band members on everything from life on the road to dropping acid before their Ready, Steady, Go! appearance, from the sheer terror of headlining the 6th National Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival (July 31, 1966) and having to follow [The] Cream’s debut gig to the frustrating realisation that being the most popular Mod band in England wasn’t translating into record sales, the book helps us get inside the heads and hearts of both a band and a movement. The rhythm section (bassist Evans and drummer Powell, the first drummer in England to use two bass drums) are credited as co-authors and each contribute to the Introduction. Evans says they met regularly with Hebditch and Shepherd to work on the book, talking for hours into their authentic ’60s reel-to-reel tape recorder. Tragically, he passed away mere months after penning his Introduction, and singer Reg King died later the same year (2010).

One of the book’s many strengths is that it is much more than musical biography – it ventures, successfully, into social commentary. How and why (and where) did the Mods emerge? How important was “the look”? What was the obligatory soundtrack? Hebditch drags us into the streets with his recollections of what it was like on the front line – the amphetamine-fueled nights at clubs like Sheffield’s Mojo, Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, and Portsmouth’s Birdcage. Of course there are also numerous scenes inside the core London clubs like The Marquee, The Scene, and The Speakeasy. Hebditch gets inside the close-knit booking circuits (such as the Club Druane circuit run by Bob Druce and Barry Foran) that made it so difficult for new bands to get their chance in front of the punters. Management woes were the bane of many a band’s existence, so The Action’s tales are pretty a-typical. They were lucky enough to impress George Martin into making them his first AIR signing and producing all their singles (he also contributes the book’s Foreward) and later signing on with Birdcage owner Rikki Farr.

We also learn that Steve Marriott said they were “the best at capturing that mid-’60s Motown sound” and early fan, Phil Collins claimed they were “almost as good as The Yardbirds” and reveals that Powell “was an incredible influence on my playing”.  Collins also contributes the Epilogue and several  live photos from his personal collection. He also realised a lifelong dream by actually sitting in with the band at their June 2, 2000 reunion gig at London’s 100 Club, gushing “There I was on stage with my favourite ever band, playing my favourite songs, next to my favourite drummer…. I’d died and gone to heaven!” Collins also donated financial support in the form of a cheque that enabled The New Untouchables organisation to complete the similarly-titled video documentary on the band that was released in limited quantities (VHS only) back in 2000. One of the principals of the New Untouchables, Rob Bailey also contributes an elaborately detailed description of the process he went through to reunite the original members and bring about their reunion gigs on the Isle of Wight in ’98, Europe in ‘99, and London again in 2000. In 2004, they played their final gig by headlining the Modstock Festival.

Other fans include The Syn and original Yes guitarist Peter Banks, who reveals (in an exhaustive, two-page interview) how influential The Action (whom The Syn supported at The Marquee) were on The Syn’s and Yes’ musical style and fashion sense!  He concludes, “They were by far one of the best bands around.” No less a Mod authority than Paul Weller also checks in via the liner notes he wrote for the compilation of the band’s original singles, The Ultimate Action (Edsel, 1980). Comparing them to the Small faces, he says they “were one of the few bands to not only capture the Tamla/soul sounds, but actually shape it into their own style and sound.” As for singer Reg King, “he stands as one of the best of the white soul singers. In some ways his rich smooth voice sounds a lot more natural than Marriott’s”. Even the band’s roadies check in with some insightful (and delightful) recollections.

Of course, the importance of the American R&B, soul, Tamla, and Stax artists is critical to the Mod story, but Hebditch explains why. It’s all here – the story behind the music, the wardrobe, even the modes of transportation. And in the midst of all this, there emerged one of the finest Mod bands. This encyclopaedic ten-year labour of love reveals their entire story, from their frantic, allnight gigs at seedy German clubs (as The Boys) through their meteoric rise as one of London’s top stage acts, the transition into the burgeoning psychedelic scene, and the late ’66 departure of guitarist Pete Watson (“it wasn’t the boys who asked me to leave, it was because of [manager] Rikki Farr. He talked them into it.”).

Hedbitch also reveals the reasons behind the gradual death of Mod, suggesting that “it’s generally agreed that by the end of 1966, Mod had ceased to be of any significance.” As the drug of choice changed from uppers to LSD, the fashions changed, and the musical soundtrack changed from Tamla/Motown/Stax to The Byrds, Coltrane, Beach Boys, and Dylan. The clubs closed or changed ownership, the groups of committed purists started to disband and the Mod scene eventually morphed into the Northern Soul scene. Hebditch offers several explanations for the Action’s new direction, detailing changes in stage attire, choice of cover tunes, introduction of lengthier musical interludes (jams), and modified harmonies. As the band moved in a more psychedelic direction, Hebditch points out that “the presence of West Coast-styled, folk-rock harmonies provided an early indication that the Action’s take on psychedelia was likely to sound more LA than UK”. His total recall for even the most miniscule detail is incredible; onc gets the feeling all these events just happened a few months ago – not almost half a century! Finally, the book ends with the stories behind the subsequent addition of multi-instrumentalist Ian Whiteman and guitarist Martin Stone which precipitated their metamorphosis into Azoth/Mighty Baby, and their aforementioned reunions.

Hebditch and Shepherd have amassed a mindboggling collection of every one of the band’s newsclippings, gig listings/reviews, and recording sessions, and the hardcover 176-page book itself is crammed with rare photos from band members’ personal collections. In addition, there are 400 “limited editions” that include a 96-page paperback book/diary (Where The Action Is) housed alongside the main book in a cloth slipcase with a collectible 7” reproduction of their unreleased Decca audition acetate (‘(Girl) Why You Wanna Make Me Blue’), a family tree illustrating connections with Keith Moon, Pete Shelley, Boz Burrell, Savoy Brown, Ace, Blossom Toes/BB Blunder, The Residents, Joe Strummer, Wreckless Eric, The Pink Fairies, et. al., a complete discography, and many more newspaper clippings, copies of contracts, picture sleeve/label reproductions…. If it had anything to do with The Action, it’s probably in here, making this an amazing package befitting an important and too often overlooked chapter in the history of Mod music and its incredible lifestyle. Much more than simply the musical biography of this (or any) year, In The Lap of The Mods is also one of the key sociological treatises to uncover the short-lived (roughly 1964-66), but critical scene that bridged England’s musical landscape from the post-war Beat boom to the Swinging London of Sgt. Pepper and what Hebditch describes as “children’s literature, Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings, nostalgic whimsy, Toyland fantasies and picture-book Victoriana”.

(Jeff Penczak)





Jeff Penczak spoke with co-authors Jane Shepherd and (Action drummer) Roger Powell about the process that brought In The Lap of The Mods to fruition. It was a 10-year journey that is another book in its own.

Jeff Penczak: The book was some ten years in the making. How did it get started and what were some of the obstacles that you faced that dragged its publication out so long?

Roger :    It all began when Rob Bailey of the New Untouchables got in touch and persuaded us to reform for some gigs back in ’98.  Mike and I then set up the website to promote the Action, then after meeting Ian and Jane at the Isle of White and subsequent gigs at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, we decided to pursue the possibility of the book. 

Jane:  As I recall the idea first came about in 2000, during the shooting of the Action video ‘In The Lap Of The Mods’, for which Ian Hebditch (my partner) was interviewed and I supplied various bits of Action memorabilia which was incorporated as stills. Around the same time Paolo Hewitt published his book, ‘The Sharper Word’ which featured an extract about the Action live that Ian had written as part of his University thesis. I’d also spent the best part of the previous ten years gathering a substantial body of research about the Action and I think it was a combination of these things that led Mike and Roger to approach Ian and myself to write the book.

Right from the outset it was envisaged as a collaborative project between both Mike and Roger and Ian (as author) and myself (as Action ‘anorak’, researcher and archivist), with all of us having a say in the creative direction of the book. Having initially set out with the simple premise of telling the story of the band, it soon became apparent that in order to fully understand the Action, their music and why they never achieved commercial success, you had to understand them as individuals – as Mods. It therefore seemed necessary and appropriate to tell the parallel story of the development of the band set against the evolution of the Mod scene, weaving in Ian’s first hand accounts alongside others who were there and played a part in the Action’s story.

Sadly Ian died with the book only two thirds finished, so inevitably it took some time to re-focus and then draft in a new team of people to help design, edit and complete the book.

Your one-sheet mentions input from all five “original” members, all of whom are namechecked. Does this mean that Martin Stone and Ian Whiteman did not participate?

Roger: Everyone was happy to participate in some way. Although Martin and Ian weren’t in the original Action there was a slight overlap with the bands transformation into Mighty Baby so there input was still valid and they were more than happy to contribute.

The band started out as The Boys and recorded an early single (1964) for Pye and backed Sandra Barry on her 1964 single for Decca. Does the story go back that far – to the beginning, as it were, or do you start with the actual formation/name change of The Action?

Roger:  No, it starts before the Boys, when Reg and I decided to start a band when we were in the Army Cadets, the Kings Royal Rifle Core based in Davis Street, off Bond Street. Then we got together as the Boys in a North London Pub in Kentish Town where all the band members lived a stones throw from each other, before becoming the Action.

Will the book unravel the serpentine tale of all the unreleased demos the lads cut and source all the previously unreleased tracks that trickled out on various compilations?

Roger: Yes it does contain everything that the Action recorded.

Jane: The recording sessions at Abbey Road with George Martin are both discussed in the main book and detailed in full in the ‘Where The Action Is’ chronology of the band, included in the Limited Edition. There is also a chapter about the writing and recording of the Rolled Gold demos.

Do you intend to include the “definitive” Action discography for all us drooling collectors out here?  Will you be detailing any foreign releases, such as the French Odeon EP that combined their final two singles?

Jane:        Yes, a full and complete discography for the Action appears in the Limited Edition of the book, which covers all original releases and re-issues in addition to all known foreign releases. There is another section, which is included in both editions, listing every track that the Action performed whether on stage, on TV and radio or on record.

Can you tell us a little bit about your and Ian’s backgrounds.

Jane        Ian was an original Mod in the mid-60s and a hardcore fan of the band having seen the Action some 30-40 times throughout their career (alongside other major bands of the period) mainly at the Birdcage, a purist Mod venue in Portsmouth, but also at clubs in and around London. He gravitated into the music industry having first worked briefly for Fiery Creations on the Isle of Wight Festivals, before becoming Head of the Entertainments Committee at Leicester Polytechnic whilst studying for his degree, where he was responsible for booking all major acts for Colleges and Universities across the Midlands. For a number of years he also undertook freelance promotion for both Island and Chrysalis before going back into the design industry and latterly into education as a Head of Faculty. My background is mainly in design, having had my own design label and spent many years as a University lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art in London and the University of Brighton. Having had a long-held fascination for all things Mod, Ian introduced me to the Action in the late 80’s and have subsequently spent the last 25 years establishing a comprehensive archive of material about the Action – recordings, press and rare memorabilia, much of which appears in the book.

You discuss the reunion in 1998. Does the story also continue on after The Action morphed into Mighty Baby…or is that another book! Are you exclusively looking at The Action almost as a separate, distinct entity from Mighty Baby?

Roger:     Mighty Baby is another story, this book concentrates mainly on the Action and the Mod scene.

Jane:       Yes that is another book. This one deals exclusively with the Action, from the origins of the band to what was in effect the end of the Action when Reg left in mid-68. The story then concludes some 40 years later when the original line-up reformed for a series of gigs in the UK and across Europe.

Will we learn about Azoth and Bam’s formation of Ace and the band’s return to back Reg on his solo LP?

Jane:       No, the scope and complexity of the Action story meant that we had to limit it and keep it focussed; otherwise we’d probably have never finished the book. (However a comprehensive family tree, covering the careers of all Action personnel spanning the full forty years is included with the Limited Edition).

Sadly, Reg and “Ace” Evans died in 2010. How long ago had you spoken with them to get their input, particularly as Ace was one of your key contacts and co-authors? Does the story bring everything up to date and deal with their passings and the impact to Roger, Peter, and Bam?

Roger:    Yes, the passing of Ian, Mike and then Reg was a shock for all the band and everyone concerned, and it became very motivational for us all to get this book out certainly in their memory and to tell the whole story.

My sincere thanks to Jane and Roger for their feedback. More information on In The Lap of The Mods is available at http://www.theactionbook.com/Home.html.





(Vinyl (only) from http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/)

     Not only do Fruit de Mer release amazing music, they seem to release it at an alarming rate meaning it is in danger of selling out before we have time to write about it. So, without further ado, here is a quick trawl through there most recent stuff.

    Featuring two seven minute plus tracks, Both Temple Music and vespero seriously deliver the goods on their split 7” single, with Temple Music covering “Pegasus” (the Hollies) and turning into a psych monster throwing their entire box of effects and trickery at it until it swirls, bubbles and spins with joyous abandon If you have a lava lamp this is the time to turn it on and you best keep it on for the flipside as Vespero tackle “Jennifer” (Faust) and do a fine job, the tune moving from gentle opening groove to hazy cloud of psychedelic splendour, creating a languid and quite splendid sound that is matched perfectly with its companion on the other side.

     Featuring two covers and two originals, The Luck of Eden Hall are in fine form on their latest EP, their psychedelic credentials still fully operational as they open with “The Crystal Ship” (The Doors), keeping the songs mellow sheen whilst adding a lysergic layer of their own creation. On “Black Sheep” (SRC) the sound becomes heavier but equally lysergic, mixing original sixties and neo psych to great effect, the superb guitar solo at the end the icing on the proverbial cake. Moving onto the originals (Taken from their new album “Alligators Eat Gumdrops”), “Bangalore” is a heavy number with an Eastern haze and more excellent guitar work, although the whole band are in great form, whilst “This Is Strange” is swirling psych gem, heavy, filled with energy and suitably strange, I look forward to hearing the rest of the album.

     Now a couple of words from Steve Palmer taken from the soon to be published “Rumbles” and placed somewhere more appropriate: thanks, Steve.

On the ever-reliable Fruits De Mer record label we find the Finnish psychedelic band Permanent Clear Light, whose single "Higher Than The Sun" is a very nice retro-sounding slab of psych pop, Barrett guitar, hazy vocals, space, bass, backwards recordings and all. Good sounds and a good tune. The B-side is an interpretation of Peter Hammill's 'Afterwards,' which is equally as good. An album from these guys would be very welcome indeed. Also on FdM are psych popsters The Chemistry Set, whose retro vibes go down nicely at Palmer Towers. Their new single "Come Kiss Me Vibrate And Smile" is a breezy, harmony-laden gem, with everything you want from this kind of music. A real joy to hear. Two further tracks - 'Time To Breathe' and Tomorrow's 'Hallucinations' complete a terrific set. The band's seventeen year hiatus doesn't seem to have done any damage. It is perhaps no surprise that Anton Barbeau should find himself on FdM Records, and here he is with the title track of his last album, "Psychedelic Mynde Of Moses," which I much enjoyed in its last incarnation - here it features The Bevis Frond on electric guitar. Two further cuts enliven the release, Robyn Hitchcock's 'Sometimes I Wish I Was A Pretty Girl' (a very raw, almost distorted version) and Julian Cope's 'Out Of My Mind On Dope And Speed,' here given a thrashing, rollicking arrangement. Recommended.

   Starting out as an alcohol fuelled dream and actually becoming a reality “The League of Psychedelic Gentlemen” features four modern psych legends, each offering an exclusive track to a wonderful EP. First up Nick Nicely twists your mind with “Rosemary's Eyes”, a hazy swirl that is sure to beome a lost gem, the song getting better each time I hear it. Next up, the mighty Bevis Frond does his thing with “I'm a Stone”, a typically jaded and beautiful song with trademark guitar firmly in place,as good as ever. Originally on the album “In the Village of the Apple Sun”, Anton Barbeau has reworked “When I Was 46 (In the year 13)” with his band Three Minute tease keeping the feel but adding more synths and a heavier sound. I think I prefer the original version, but this is still a fine version with the chaotic middle section working particularly well. Finally, Paul Roland brings it all home with “The Puppet Master”, A mix from 1980 that was recently unearthed by a fan. Featuring a creepy stacatto guitar riff, the song has a gothic aura that will be familiar to fans of Mr Roland, the song rounding the EP with style and panache.

     Finally from Fruit de Mer, at least until the post arrives tomorrow, comes “The White EP” featuring eight covers of tunes from the Beatles classic double album. It’s  an interesting idea that could have gone horribly wrong, but didn't thanks to the quality of the artists involved and the taste of the label itself.

   First up Anton Barbeau and band tackle “Cry Baby Cry” and does a great job, coating it in psych finery. Turning “Glass Onion” into a Bevis Frond Song, Mr Saloman is in fine fettle as he creates the perfect cover version, whilst The Luck of Eden Hall give “Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and my Monkey” a good spanking, giving it a joyous feel that gets your toes a-tappin'.

   Changing its dynamics completely, The Pretty Things take “Helter Skelter” into new lands, giving a slow heavy feel, turning into a creepy psychedelic song that works perfectly, especially with the addition of a barely audible solo that adds extra menace. Equally good is the psych-pop cover of “Dear Prudence” created by Jack Ellister, the song retaining its beauty and sixties vibe.

   To be fair, it is a long time since I heard “the White Album” ( I come from the school of thought that it would be better as a single album), so it is hard to remember exactly how the originals sound, but I am convinced that Cranium Pie take “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” into much stranger territory than the Beatles did, whilst The Seventh Ring of Saturn seem to want to head into space on their version of “Savoy Truffle”, just managing to keep their feet on the ground. Finally, Henry Padovani keeps it simple on “Long Long Long” guitar and voice taking us out with a mellow hippy vibe.

    Actually, having heard this EP I am curious to see how I feel about the original album now. These versions are all excellent and even massive Beatles fans should have no fears about seeking them out.

   All the above are strictly limited edition and they always sell out quickly, add them to your christmas list and put a smile on your face. (Simon Lewis)