Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Action - Complete Punk Recordings 1977-1978

I was talking to D.O.A. frontman and Sudden Death Records founder Joey "Shithead" Keithley a couple of weeks ago, and he told me about an album his label released recently that he'd send me because he wanted me to hear it.
It was from a 30-year-old Ottawa punk band I'd never heard of called The Action, and the 17-song CD features all of the recordings from its relatively brief career.
The Action was one of  Canada's first punk bands and opened for both The Ramones and The Stranglers. The group released a decent four-song EP recorded live with no overdubs that was highlighted by "T.V.'s On The Blink" and which also included a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Waiting For The Man."
A five-song EP was subsequently recorded but never released. It showcased the band's on-stage energy with a live version of "Success Without College," featured a song about a former road manager who got crabs called "Seafood Mama," and offered a slower and more expansive number called "Zona Rosa." My favourite from the EP is "Pressed Pig."
The last eight songs in this collection were recorded for a live radio broadcast at Ottawa's infamous Rotter's Club, where The Action was the unofficial house band and waitresses apparently served drinks in the washrooms. These numbers show that The Action hadn't totally turned its back on the rock that the young members grew up on, though they were still pretty damn punk for that era. The performance includes a staple of the band's sets, a cover of The Rolling Stones' bluesy "Midnight Rambler."
This compilation didn't knock me out like some of Other People's Music's vintage Toronto punk releases from the likes of The Viletones, The Mods, The Ugly and The 'B' Girls, or even The Scenics' recently released Sunshine World collection of '70s recordings (which I wrote the bio for), but punk historians or people who remember The Action might want to check this out.

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