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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It`s the St Albans Sound!, 12 April 2011
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Odessey and Oracle: 40th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)
Liverpool had The Merseybeats, The Undertakers, The Searchers & The Swinging Blue Jeans (among other moptops), Manchester proudly had The Hollies, Birmingham gave us The Move, Newcastle bred The Animals, while London threw up The Small Faces, The Stones & The Who - and S Wales gave birth to Man!
So what constituted what we might fancifully call the Home Counties Sound? For such a neat-looking bunch of polite, melody-driven, lyrically inventive Hertfordshire lads, `The Zombies` would seem to be the least appropriate moniker they could have dreamed up. But then, The Zombies confounded & exceeded expectations for most of their all too brief time together. They came from the venerable town of St Albans - just up the road from where I was born, as it happens. Most of the country fell for them with their first single, the unique, breathy, timeless She`s Not There, which still sounds like one of the best songs of the sixties, covered by others but never equalled. (The wrong people covered it: how about a version from, say, Marianne Faithfull? Would`ve been perfect for Roy Orbison too.)
On the point of splitting up - their other singles hadn`t done so well, and frankly nothing could have topped their debut - they released the blithely misspelt near-masterpiece under review, now at last repackaged, remastered, with added tracks (not particularly good ones mostly, it has to be said) and the main album in both mono & stereo. I believe the whole kaboodle doubles as a teamaker & alarm clock too.
My full five stars is for Odessey & Oracle alone, rather than the extras, which the listener can take or leave.
Care of Cell 44 bursts out of the speakers like the refreshed sound of a group who sense they may well be onto something. It`s a terrific song, leading into one of the two songs on O&O with literary titles. A Rose For Emily - once a short story by William Faulkner - is a rather stately, very 60s mid-tempo number that accentuates singer Colin Blunstone`s impossibly public-school vocals - but they work! - with a lovely change of key in the harmonised chorus.
Maybe After He`s Gone is simply a superb pop song. After all, The Zombies were very much a pop group, not a rock band, at least not on record.
Beechwood Park is a standout. To an insidious spiky guitar-led backing, Blunstone sings this atmospheric ballad with tender aplomb. In an odd way it reminds me of some of the slower, more enigmatic songs The Bee Gees would include on their early albums such as Horizontal & Idea (both well worth checking out, incidentally).
Brief Candles - titular echoes of Aldous Huxley here - is wonderful too, showing how the whole group would often chime in on vocals as well as playing at their peak. There`s some excellent bass playing from the ever-underrated Chris White, who also wrote many of their songs, including several on O&O.
The rest of this always surprising album is just as good, with the `experimental`, edgy Chris White-sung Butcher`s Tale following the straight pop of This Will Be Our Year, then the delightfully witty Friends Of Mine, and finally their second most famous song, the haunting Time Of The Season, with its ominous drums (courtesy of Hugh Grundy), equally ominous piano triplets, and bass vocal echoing of Blunstone`s disarming lead vocal.
The Zombies are the kind of British band Americans tend to take to their hearts, and, sure enough, Time Of The Season was a surprise Number 3 in the States in March `69, but by then the group had split up. They`ve since, quite recently, reformed (they all do in the end) and played O&O live in its splendid entirety.
Rod Argent went on to form the cunningly named Argent (remember Hold Your Head Up, which DJ Alan `Fluff` Freeman would play at any & every opportunity?) and Colin Blunstone made several solo albums including the gorgeous Ennismore, which I`d recommend to anyone who likes great songs beautifully sung.
So, this was the Sound of St Albans. The Zombies` finest hour. The Home Counties` very own Sgt Pepper. Oh, look - just buy the thing. It`s bloody good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece by the Zombies., 3 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Odessey and Oracle: 40th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)
Where's this album been all my life? Absolutely fantastic, highly recommended. Please buy this masterpiece. I'm about to search for more Zombie magic.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TIME OF THE ZOMBIE SEASON, 12 Jun 2011
This review is from: Odessey and Oracle: 40th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)
The Zombies were always on the edgy side of pop in the mid to late sixties,immensly talented they eased class throughout their career.
This extraordinary release is a time capsule of their late sixties epic"Odessey and Oracle",and what a journey it is,of course it sounds dated,after all it was recorded in 1968 and at the time could be considered an equal to "Ogdens nut gone flake" or even "Pet sounds".
The whole thing is spread over two CDs the first being a mono version of the album,the second cd is more interesting,with a stereo version,and a "lost" RIP
album.
The songs have a very "summer of love" feeling to them which adds to the charm of these 43 year old recordings.
The whole packsge is excellent,a three fold Digi pack with two plastic trays and a very comprehensive booklet all housed in an attractive slipcase.
There are some standout tracks in particular the magnificet"Time of the Season"and the Beatle influenced "I'll call you mine".
1hr 46m 18s
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the GREAT sixties bands!, 24 April 2014
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This review is from: Odessey and Oracle: 40th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)
This reissue of one of the most vastly underrated bands of all time, is an absolute gem,and for me rates along with those other classics from that era,Sgt.Pepper,Pet Sounds,Forever Changes,to name but three.And hearing it now,in some ways i think that this is probably THE best album of the sixties.I heard this way back, when an old school friend with 'showbiz' connections lent me an original vinyl LP,in glorious mono,he also gave me a copy of Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left,which,back then i only played once,i much preferred Colin Blunstones vocals to that of Nick Drake,though i did grow to like Nick,the tortured genius that he was.I compared both Nick and Colin's vocals,there was some similarity.But whereas Colin Blunstone became a fairly successful pop star,Nick Drake fade into semi obscurity,only becoming a 'success' years after his untimely death in 1974.Odessey and Oracle is an album i simply cannot reccomend enough,it is a work of art,which should have sold millions.I have my copy and for me thats all that matters!
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4.0 out of 5 stars great album, 12 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Odessey and Oracle: 40th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)
I have come late to this album, but have always loved the Zombies and Colin Blunstone's solo stuff. This album does them proud
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Odessey and Oracle: 40th Anniversary Edition
Odessey and Oracle: 40th Anniversary Edition by The Zombies (Audio CD - 2008)
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