Action were formed in 1963. They were previously known as The Boys, and under that name had also backed Sandra Barry on a 45. Based around the Kentish Town area of London they played an amalgam of R&B and high quality soul (in their later days). They enjoyed a strong mod following.
The Edsel compilation is a fine amalgam of British pop and soul. It includes all five of their Parlophone 45s, which range from powerhouse R&B (I'll Keep On Holding On), through excellent pop-soul (Shadows And Reflections, Never Ever) to the soul ballad (Since I Lost My Baby). Containing previously unissued cuts too, it is essential listening.
Watson left in 1966 to be replaced by Martin Stone, who was previously with the Savoy Brown Blues Band and Stone's Masonry. Ian Whiteman joined on piano in mid-1967. He had been on the Ben Carruthers and The Deep 45. They were thrown off EMI before their last planned 45, Little Girl, could be released. They taped lots of material for Giorgio Gomelsky. Martin Stone was in and out of the band in this era. In mid-1968, without Reggie King, who'd left to go solo and having briefly toyed with the name Azoth, they taped the Whiteman-dominated demos, which were issued belatedly on Dojo in 1985. These have a soft, West Coast psychedelic feel with very pleasant harmonies. In 1969 they evolved into Mighty Baby. Bam King was also later in Ace. Most of The Action returned for Reggie King's eventual solo album.
Wasn't It You later resurfaced on Broken Dreams, Vol. 5. Dustbin Full Of Rubbish meanwhile gave an airing to Brain and Little Boy, two tracks from the shelved 1967 album project. This eventually was released on LP and CD as Brain in 1996, with 15 tracks of demos, mainly recorded at Polydor and Advision studios in '67/'68. More recently this has been reissued as Rolled Gold - taken from the mastertapes.
In 1985, Castle Communications issued a strange five-track 12" item, Action Speaks Louder Than Words. The cover was a tinted version of the Edsel insert. All five tracks were written by Ian Whiteman and comprise the floating, progressive music that Mighty Baby are remembered for. The likelihood is that they were demos dating from 1968 just before Mighty Baby got a deal with Head Records. The record company probably used the Action name because they were better known due to the Edsel reissues