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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 30 May 2001
The Zombies were not your standard, down-and-dirty, working-class rockers. They were a quintet of polite English schoolboys from the provincial town of St Albans, Hertfordshire, who turned professional aged 19.
Their crowning glory, recorded at the end of 1967, was Odessey and Oracle, probably the closest we have to a British 'Pet Sounds', the precision 3-part harmonies of lead singer Colin Blundstone and songwriters Rod Argent and Chris White forming the album's distinctive sound. Every track is an unforgetable gem - from the tweeness of 'Friends of Mine' to White's mournful vocal on the haunting 'Butchers Tale'; from the pure pop balladry of 'This Will Be Our Year' to the psychedlic period-piece 'Beechwood Park'. And, of course, we mustn't forget the monster hit single 'Time Of The Season'. No wall of sound or wailing guitar solos here - just crafted pop at its very very best.
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on 17 January 2014
One of those forgotten classics of the sixties, this was first released in 1968. Prior to buying it I knew of the album from frequent references as a "classic" but was only familiar with the first and last tracks (Care Of Cell 44 and Time Of The Season). It's a good album but very much of its time, reminiscent of contemporaries like the Moody Blues and the Small Faces' Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. Overall I found it well worth owning, but probably an album I'll be dusting off every year or two rather than playing through every couple of months.
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Many bands (the Beatles, the Beach Boys) at least dabbled in psychedelica, but the Zombies are often overlooked. For the 30th anniversary of "Odessey and Oracles," the Zombies' best album was rereleased in a new form, proving that their enchanting psychedelic pop has aged exceeedingly well.

The Zombies were unusually good at taking perky, sweet, lush music and wrapping it around a more serious song, such as the upbeat "Care of Cell 44" (guy writing to his jailed girlfriend), or the lovely "A Rose For Emily," a poignant little song that tells of a lonely woman doomed to stay lonely. "And as the years go by/she will grow old and die/The roses in her garden fade away/Not one left for her grave..."

But the Zombies aren't all sadness wrapped in happy music. There are perky songs about being happy in love, losing a love and hoping she'll return, and reminiscing about "golden days and golden summer nights." The album ends on a reassuring note with the laid-back "Time of the Season," which sounds like the ultimate hippie anthem.

I have no memories of the 60s, since I was only born in the eighties. But "Odessey and Oracle" gives a rosy glow to that era,. Psychedelic flair minus the hazy, and every song is a gem. Though "Time of the Season" was the sleeper hit from the album, it's not the best or catchiest song on here -- it's just one of many excellent ones.

Rod Argent was definitely an outstanding songwriter. He was able to create atmospheric and beautiful songs with very simple writing ("Brief candles in her mind/bright and tiny gems of memory"). Perhaps his finest moment here is "I knew he when summer was her crown/and autumn sad/how brown her eyes," as a kick-off to a colorful look at a woman compared to all the seasons.

Colin Blunstone's vocals were well-suited to the music: a bit husky, quite pleasant and mellow. The music itself was generally based on guitar, gentle drums, pretty piano, and wavering Mellotron, with a bit of accordian coming in in one song. There's a rich interweaving of many instruments, in all sorts of pop music. Some is almost classical in tone, some is uptempo stuff that is perfect for the radio.

The Zombies were in peak form in "Odessey and Oracle," churning out some of the purest pop music ever. As sweet and exquisite as it was in the 1960s.
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on 15 April 2009
I can't enthuse about this enough since buying it last month! Odyssey and Oracle is a quite literally a revelation and worthy of all the british Pet Sounds hype! I can see why Paul Weller rates it so highly - sort of psychedelic folk rock but so catchy and poppy and not a bad track in twelve! Blunstone's plangent vocals and Argent's swirling organ and White's bounding bass the whole thing's a summer joy tinged with autumnal melancholy. A rose for Emily is as good as Eleanor Rigby and as moving, Beechwood park and Brief candles are incredible hymns to memory and loss and Time of the Season as a vintage slice of sixties psychedelia. These guys are up there with The Beatles and The Beach Boys let alone The Kinks and Small Faces who never made an album as good as this! I've run out of hyperbole for this wonderful life enhancing record and they came from the Ancient Roman hub of Britain St Albans! Buy this expanded edition ( unbelievably the 16 extra tracks are good too! ) and go and see 'em at Hammersmith at the end of the month play it live for the last time. Then you'll be playing it for the rest of your life - I know I will.
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on 24 December 2014
A lovely collection of 12 songs written by Rod Argent and Chris White, this 1968 release is another of the forgotten classics from the progressive movement which was inspired by the likes of The Beatles. The opening track, 'Care Of Cell 44', with its gorgeous Beach Boys-inspired harmonies, is a marvellous opening track and the quality just keeps on coming. Lead vocalist, Colin Blunstone, shows what a fine song stylist he is throughout this LP. The closing track 'Time Of The Season', which was released as a promotional single, could easily have been a chart hit, but The Zombies, after the huge success enjoyed by 'She's Not There' in 1964, found it difficult to achieve major success in either the singles or albums market. Still, this is a superb album with plenty of interesting bonus tracks and I can heartily recommend it to fans of 1960s pop music.
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on 4 February 2012
Odessey & Oracle is a superb album, which I have owned since it was first released in 1968. Since its first release it has been re-issued many times, often with additional tracks, so a word to the wise here. Be careful when following Amazon's links to alternate versions, particularly mp3 albums, since they tend to contain only the original set of tracks from 1968, as follows:

1. Care Of Cell 44
2. Rose For Emily
3. Maybe After He's Gone
4. Beechwood Park
5. Brief Candles
6. Hung Up On A Dream
7. Changes
8. I Want Her She Wants Me
9. This Will Be Our Year
10. Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)
11. Friends Of Mine
12. Time Of The Season

However, the CD album with ASIN: B00005B0PU (Odessey & Oracle [Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, Original recording reissued]) has an additional 16 tracks not included in the mp3 album, the extra tracks being as follows:

13. I'll Call You Mine
14. She Loves The Way They Love Her
15. Imagine The Swan
16. Smokey Day
17. If It Don't Work Out
18. I Know She Will
19. Don't Cry For Me
20. Walking In The Sun
21. Conversations Off Floral Street
22. I Want You Back Again
23. Gotta Get A Hold Of Myself
24. Goin' Out Of My Head
25. She Does Everything For Me
26. Nothing's Changed
27. I Could Spend The Day
28. Girl Help Me
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on 20 February 2014
I got this album because I'm always interested by cult albums. For me it is always a good sign when there is a devoted following decades after release despite the current lack of general knowledge of its existence. I was blown away by some of the tracks on initial listen ('hung up on a dream' and 'time of the season' especially), which gave me reason to come back and listen to the album and discover the joys of the darker and more obscure other tracks held within.

I now consider this one of the best pop albums of all time; easily as good as anything by the Beatles or Beach Boys that was being released at the same time. The album wastes no time, it is direct and to-the-point, being an album of 35 minutes with short pop songs, yet the content is diverse, occasionally complex and flows fantastically. It sounds fantastic as well, and has aged remarkably well, particularly the darker sides of the album that deal with aspects such as prison, and world war one. The lyrics range from the poetic to the brutal...

"I have seen a friend of mine, hang on the wire like some rag toy, and in the heat the flies come down, and cover up the boy"

...its just an album crammed to the brim with memorable line after memorable line, with catchy hooks and tunes and just about everything that makes a good album 'good'. Superb from start to end!
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on 4 September 2015
Very sixties but what a bargain this has the original album but then many bonus tracks totaling 28 tracks in all and not a bad one at all.76+ minutes of well written songs, they were such a great group but how could they fail with Rod Argent and the smoothest vocals by Colin Blunstone I understand they have written and released a new album so I am going to try and track that down, but if you like 60's music you will LOVE this
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on 9 September 2013
The Zombies was a very underrated group in the 60's, but "Odessey and Oracle" is a very beautiful album. For me the stand out tracks are the classic "Time Of The Season", the romantic "This Will Be Our Year", the psychedelic "Hung Up In A Dream" and the catchy "Care Of Cell 44". This album is often compared to The Beatles' "Sgt Peppers" and The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds". Althogh "Odessey and Oracle" is very good it is not quite in the same class as those masterpieces. The music is very good, but I am not satisfied with the mini-LP packaging. I think it should have a jewel case or something like that, so it would be easier to find in my CD collection.
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on 31 December 2013
I will always come back to this album. Lyrical and of otherworldly beauty (well a bit morbid at times but that's not what I meant:)
This is one of them albums that should have disappeared without a trace (and it did, until it started selling 10 years after its release day).. Recorded at Abbey Road studios in the summer of 67', to me this album is superior to 'the best album of all time' - Sgt. Pepper - which was recorded in the same studio around the same time. Don't get me wrong, I love the Beatles but 'Odessey' (misprint) is a timeless masterpiece of a record, far exceeding whatever the aforementioned, more famous quartet from Liverpool ever aspired to achieve.
Enough said! Thanks The Zombies for taking me to places I never even imagined even existed.
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