The term "lost classic" is applied liberally and often erroneously to unreleased recordings that resurface years later in a maelstrom of hype. However, for the forgotten mod rock also-rans the Action, the term is not only justified, it is painfully bittersweet. On par with such classics of the era as The Who Sell Out or Ogden's Nut Gone Flake but more focused than either, the Action's Rolled Gold goes beyond "lost classic" – it is the influential masterpiece no one was ever allowed to hear. Despite being signed to Beatles producer George Martin's AIR label and benefiting from a strong club following, the Action never scored a chart hit. By the time they recorded these demo tracks in 1967, the band had grown weary of the musically limited mod scene, which was on its last legs. Guitarist Pete Watson had been replaced by Martin Stone, and the band had developed a more mature sound, one only hinted at on such previous cuts as "Twenty-Fourth Hour".
The Blackbyrds were a jazz-funk group with thick R&B streaks running down their backs. Assembled by Donald Byrd in 1974, the group's original members – percussionist Pericles "Perk" Jacobs, Jr., drummer Keith Killgo, keyboardist Kevin Toney, reeds player Allan Barnes, bassist Joe Hall, guitarist Barney Perry – were mined from Howard University's music department, where the doctor and jazz legend was an instructor. (Other key players included guitarist Orville Saunders and saxophonist/flautist Steve Johnson.)