I doubt very many rockers of the 60s and 70s ever imagined they'd enjoy an extended career once the fickle attention of the consuming public began to pass them over for newer acts, but, thanks to a paucity of true talent in the lion's share of the punkers, succeeding generations of creatives discovered themselves ignoring the 80s if they desired any form of truly usable sources in a sonic diet…as did the non-muso public-at-large, discontent with Malcolm McLaren's progeny, the three chord gob-howlers. Thus, this ongoing resurgent rollback to the salad days of rock and roll is proving to be a treasure trove for listeners and artists alike. Perhaps nowhere is this better seen than in the last decade for the Zombies, with a couple of new CDs but also three superb DVDs, including the providential first-ever live performance of their landmark Odessey and Oracle in 2008 (released in early 1968 but never played live by the original combo). Well, y'all, now we can tally the latest entry in their Recorded Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London, and a fine addition it is.
Colin Blunstone possesses one of rock's more distinctive voices—in fact, his old solo LP cover of Tim Hardin's Misty Roses is THE definitive take and worthy of late inclusion in The Great American Songbook (Colin's a Brit, but Tim was of U.S. vintage)—and now, over 40 years later, has held up beautifully. Alan Parsons heeded the singer's qualities, as have Steve Hackett, Duncan Browne, Mike Batt, and others, but why he has yet to be chosen for, say, film soundtrack work, what with that quintessentially wistful air distinguishing his oeuvre, is a mystery. Not to worry, though, 'cause there's plenty of his rockin' contemplative melancholy here in a very generous 80 minutes of 19 songs, many of them classics, including the signature Tell Her No and She's Not There as well as several period covers. Then, of course, there's Rod Argent, the keyboardist in the old group and then the succeeding eponymous Argent, the latter being one of many ensembles Baby Boom dinosaurs think fondly back upon, sighing deeply.
The quintet format is perfect here and includes Argent bassist Jim Rodford (Rod's cousin) as well as his son Steve on drums. The recapture of Zombies/Argent 60s airs and colorations is letter perfect, a source of bliss for the attending 120 person crowd (held in a recording studio, there wasn't a hell of a lot of room!), and when they get into numbers like the rock-gospely I Do Believe…maaaaaaan! Pure heaven! Hard to believe, but Odyssey, despite the hit Time of the Season, did not do well at all in its day and only gained notoriety over the intervening four decade period, now considered to be one of the very best releases of the 60s and well studied by modern groups. With this particular band's performance cleaving very closely to the elder sound and spirit, it's hard to credit anything that exquisite could have fallen off the edge of the Earth, but it did, remedied here, along with a heaping helping of corollary numbers, everything imbued with the timelessness it possessed all along. If they haven't already, these guys will make a believer out of you 'cause this kind of rock and roll doesn't die, it ages like fine wine.
Track List: CD & DVD:
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles