Sixties Mod band The Action only released six singles in their lifetime – or seven, if you count a pre-Action single by The Boys – but their legend has grown exponentially since their demise in 1968. The Action was the first band signed by Beatles producer George Martin after he left EMI to set up his own company Air Productions. In due course, he produced the band’s five singles issued on Parlophone between 1965 and 1967 as well as tracks intended for a never-released album.

The New Action imagines what the band’s album – which was announced at the time in the press – might … More

From its opening in 1963 until its final emotive all-nighter, starring US soul legend Edwin Starr in January 1971, the Twisted Wheel played host to almost every major British R&B act & the very best that the USA had to offer. Steeped in black American music it is no surprise that it became the crucible of NORTHERN SOUL setting the template for all-night gatherings across the north of England. Pictured to the left of our cover – sporting his trademark turban – is Screaming Jay Hawkins arriving at London airport with his wife Ginny for his debut visit to the UK on 26th January, 1965. There to meet & greet Hawkins was resident Twisted Wheel DJ Roger Eagle, a huge fan of the charismatic performer. Hawkins’ million-selling, “I Put A Spell On You”, had been recorded almost a decade earlier and released on the iconic Chicago based OKeh Records, a label very much on Eagle’s radar for its slue of cult Blues & R&B artists.

Vinyl LP available in store and online.

Paul Weller was barely 22 when he started recording Sound Affects, his fifth album in just over 3 years. He was reading histories of Camelot alongside the romanticism of Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Blake, obsessing over The Beatles’ Revolver, and delving further into his disillusionment with the political and social climate that had prevailed in England at the end of the 1970s. During the same time, Weller apparently had a ‘thing’ for electricity pylons.

So, in short, the writer’s perceived influences on The Jam’s 1980 album included Arthur and Guinevere, the Mask of Anarchy, … More

Born OTD in 1944, English singer, songwriter and musician, Ray Davies. “It’s hardly a shock to learn that artists can be difficult, but over 40 years the Kinks have left a trail of wrecked hotel rooms, irate ex-wives and lovers and former bandmates driven to – and indeed over – the brink of a nervous breakdown. To pick one example from this biography of the band, on a US tour in 1987, the fractious Davies brothers set aside their usual differences in order to beat up the sound engineer. While peers such as Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney live like kings on the proceeds of long, mega-selling careers, the Kinks always managed to commit harakiri at the most commercially inopportune moment, despite having in Ray Davies a songwriter as good as any pop music has produced, as one listen to “Waterloo Sunset” will prove.”

The paperback edition of the bestselling biography. The Kinks are the quintessential British sixties band, revered for an incredible series … More

Combined here are the explosive talents of R&B & Soul music history featuring such legends as Joe Simon, Nina Simone, Bobby Adams, Grover Mitchell & Eddie Banks with his Five Dreamers. Back To The Beat bursts into action with a mighty fine slice of Tennessee soul courtesy of happy-go-lucky Herbert Hunter, a top-off that defines THE BEAT & is the first of two sides from Ted Jarrett’s Poncello imprint, the second being Ricky Rezell’s storming ‘What You Bet’. The pace is relentless, as the heavyweights of rhythm & soul power through the set that pairs Northern Soul favourites Dean Barlow & the Profiles alongside the ferocious Bertha Tillman, Big Boy Myles and Mary Johnson. Dale Cunningham closes proceedings with the rarest of the original 45s, the big-money ‘Too Young’. The Legend of Northern Soul Continues.

Vinyl LP available in store and online.

Outta Sight pay homage to the original R&B maverick, and British music industry innovator, Guy Stevens with 16 original tracks culled from the DJs ‘Scene Club’ playlist. When R&B fanatic Guy Stevens was given the Monday night dead spot at the tiny basement club in Ham Yard, R&B and the embryonic Mod scene, came of age. The former city insurance broker had acquired a formidable black American record collection and he was intent on spreading his R&B gospel to the ‘in’ crowd.

The Scene Club quickly established itself as the place to be seen and the place to see the coolest ‘faces’ … More

‘You leave your mother and your brother too, You leave the pretty wife you’re never faithful to, You cross the sea to find those streets that’s paved with gold, And all you find is Brixton cell that’s oh! so cold.’ London, 1957. Victoria Station is awash with boat trains discharging hopeful black immigrants into a cold and alien land. Liberal England is about to discover the legacy of Empire.

And when Montgomery Pew, a newly appointed assistant welfare officer in the Colonial Department, meets Johnny Fortune, recently arrived from … More

MOD ART is the definitive work on everything visual relating to Mod culture, the look that has never gone out of style. Featuring exclusive interviews with key artists and experts on the cult of Mod, MOD ART examines the art scene surrounding the birth of modernism in the UK in the 1960s and explains how the collision of high art, mass culture and sharp fashion produced a unique visual perspective on the way we dress, what we look at and the way we perceive design.

Beautifully illustrated with a treasure trove of colour photographs of famous, rediscovered and rare images from across the eras, MOD … More