Clayson’s Classicals ‘Nice little band’

Feb 2013 Clayson’s Classicals ‘Nice little band’


Looking For A Dream

by Reggie King


Mighty Baby rose from the ashes of The Action, a mid-1960s outfit whose standing in Mod circles had been such that, even before their recording career left the runway in 1965, they’d be met on the outskirts of Brighton by a flanking cavalcade of Parka-clad scooter-riders to escort them to the venue.

Deemed, possibly erroneously, a ‘nice little band’ of ‘progressive’ persuasion, Mighty Baby were ‘appreciated’ for their lengthy solos and clever ensemble playing – but not enough to buy their two albums in sufficient quantities to prevent disbandment in the early 1970s. But before the game was up, they backed Reggie King, The Action’s front man, on his only solo album – and you could be talking money if it turns up in mint-condition vinyl at a car-boot sale.

This more attractive retrospective, however, focuses on 15 self-penned items – most of them hitherto unissued – taped principally with his former colleagues in the later 1960s.

Historical interest apart, they possess a period charm and, as songs per se, would pass an artistic litmus test if stripped to just voice and piano – as disturbing ’They Must Be Talking ‘Bout Me’ actually is, despite – or because of – some technological flaws. With flute to the fore, ‘In And Out’ is a more insidious avenue for vicarious melancholy – and, while other tracks aren’t as downbeat, the hour might have come, had commercial circumstances been more favourable, for King to have risen anew as a post-Woodstock singer-songwriter considerably less mannered, mopish and self-centred than the likes of Melanie, James Taylor and Neil Young in the lottery that is pop.

Alan Clayson