REVIEW: Reg King - 3 CD Deluxe Edition

REVIEW: Reg King – 3 CD Deluxe Edition

The list could go on for days, weeks, months and evens years deciding who the standout singer to emerge from beat groups of the 1960’s. Regular names that spring to mind include Steve Marriott, Steve Ellis, Keith Relf, Phil May, Carl Wayne and Colin Blunstone.

Reg King, vocalist with pinnacle Mod band THE ACTION is the instinctive first choice for many. The Immaculately kept blonde haired soulful cherub can do no wrong in the eyes and ears of hordes of equally sharp haired equivalents. King started out taking to the stage of his local cinema showing off in front of the kids in attendance, it was this outlet that gave him the encouragement to join The Boys who morphed into, for many, including those they shared stages with, the best 60’s band, THE ACTION!.

Described as a Mod club band, they would go on to record with The Beatles producer George Martin ageless, heart stopping renditions of their favourite soul numbers; I’ll Keep On Holding On, Just Once In My Life, Wasn’t It You and Land Of 1000 Dances scratches the surface of their repertoire, for further evidence of their stirring dominance check out The Complete Recordings 1964-1968, 4CD Digibook also available on Cherry Red.

Following THE ACTION’s demised at the end of the 60’s, the main players in the band went on to become psychedelic kings Mighty Baby releasing their own esteemed long players, King continued his soul quest with his own poignantly all too easily forgotten solo album. Originally released on United Artists Records in 1971 it wasn’t until Circle Records picked up the baton successfully reissuing the lost charm, resurrecting songs like the mesmeric Must Be Something Else Around, euphoric You Go Have Yourself A Good Time, THE ACTION era psych triumphs In My Dreams and Little Boy, along with the beautifully haunting Gone Away. The album is top notch, littered with magic throughout, the real tragedy of this album is it has never lit up the world as it so richly deserves. A true masterpiece from an equally true British vocal hero.

Now reissued via a 3 CD edition featuring virtually everything released by King with the inclusion of previously unreleased tracks, alternate mixes and accompanying booklet with fresh anecdotes from Lois Wilson and Jon Harrington, this volume is pleasing to behold. Along with the solo album is a tremendous alternate version of You Go Have Yourself A Good Time, sounding like something Blind Faith could have included in their lauded self-titled long player, this sort of musical blend is fundamental listening material.

The inclusion of Looking For A Dream material, yet again a Circle Records miraculous find, King’s solo material is as accessible and listenable, in part easily achieving first place, from anything released via Lennon, McCartney, Jagger or Richards solo efforts. Northern Soul influenced Suddenly, poptsastic All Up In Heaven, equally sensational pop Picking Up Nancys Grin, vocal royalty on Merry Go Round with the hazy Magenta displaying a cool loved up panache. Further intriguing inclusions on disc 3 only go to show the sadly all too easily forgotten champion, early versions of tracks from the solo album along with a proactive instrumental exhibit another what could have been moment.

That phrase probably sums up Reg King in a nutshell, everything that landed in his lap seemed to be destined to failure. As with another 60’s starlet in Nick Drake who sadly didn’t see his material loved as much as when it was originally released, the time to reevaluate Reg King is now. An essential release.

Reg King – Deluxe Edition can be ordered via the following link 

Matt Mead

Matt Mead

Freelance writer who likes anything with heart and soul