From the Vaults: The Action

Rolled Gold

It's quite fitting that in an era of disappearing record stores we'd stumble upon this long-lost gem of mod psychedelia while browsing in a now-defunct East Village shop a few years ago. A collection of demos recorded in 1967, Rolled Gold has been compared to such classics as The Who Sell Out and it's easy to hear why.

Originally recorded for George Martin's AIR label, its distributor, EMI, inexplicably passed on the recording and the potential album was aborted. Subsequently, The Action splintered and these songs remained missing until this 2002 release. A damn shame indeed, for this collection represents some of the finest music ever to come out of the British mod movement of the '60s. Lofty praise, for sure, but one listen will confirm any doubts you may harbor regarding this unearthed classic.

While it would not be surprising that some audio sweetening took place to ready these tracks for contemporary release, the production is impeccable, considering its demo origins. (As a matter of fact, at first listen over the aforementioned record shop sound system, we were under the impression this was probably the work of some retro-minded youngsters.)

Even though 35 years passed before it saw the light of day, Rolled Gold has aged incredibly well. No, strike that: this is a batch of timeless late '60s English pop that, luckily for us, was rescued from oblivion to be enjoyed over and over again.

Highlights: Far too many to mention--there is only one weak song among the album's 15 tracks--but "Things You Cannot See", "Brain" and "Climbing Up the Wall" are just outstanding.

[Album cover art courtesy of The All Music Guide]