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Music DVD Review: The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle {Revisited}: The 40th Anniversary Concert

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The Zombies were a British Invasion band that produced some memorable music but ultimately had very poor timing. They are best remembered for two excellent singles, “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No,” which made the American top ten in late 1964 and early 1965.

The bad timing occurred in 1967 when the band broke up after recording (yet before the release of) what would become their last album. The work sat on the shelf at Columbia Records until producer Al Kooper lobbied for its release. Still unconvinced Columbia issued it on their small Date Label. Odessey & Oracle is now recognized as one of the best albums of the late sixties. The hit single, “Time Of The Season,” is a psychedelic classic and still receives airplay.

The Zombies resisted all overtures to reunite. Keyboardist Rod Argent would form his own group and Colin Blunstone would go on to enjoy a credible solo career. Guitarist Paul Atkinson become an A&R man for Columbia and RCA, passing away in 2004. Drummer Hugh Grundy would run a horse transport business. Bass player Chris White wrote Argent’s hit song, “Hold Your Head Up,” and would act as a producer.

In 1997 all five Zombies reunited for two songs at a Blunstone solo show. This led to Argent and Blunstone touring together as Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent of The Zombies. Finally they recruited three new musicians and began performing under The Zombies moniker.

March 7-9 found the four living Zombies reuniting for three concerts celebrating the fortieth Anniversary of Odessey & Oracle, with new guitarist Keith Airey filling in for the deceased Atkinson.

Let me say that Odessey & Oracle {Revisited}: The 40th Anniversary Concert is well worth the wait as you are transported back in time to enjoy the first complete live performance of one of the masterful albums of the psychedelic era.

The concert is divided into two parts. The current Zombies touring band presents a nine-song set complete with such early material as “I Love You,” “Sticks and Stones,” and “Can’t Nobody Love You.” Blunstone’s voice still has incredible range and Argent remains an expert keyboardist.

Part two includes an introduction by All Kooper which is followed by the original Zombies performing all twelve tracks of Odessey & Oracle in sequence. Songs such as “A Rose For Emily,” “Hung Up On A Dream,” “Friends Of Mine,” and the eternal classic “Time Of The Season” are resurrected in all their late sixties glory. It's good to see Chris White on board here, particularly, as he composed seven of the twelve tracks. The band concludes the evening with “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.”

Also included in this package is a thoughtful interview with Blunstone, White, and Argent which examines the creation and recording of the album in detail.

Forty years is a long time and its nice to see that The Zombies have closed the musical circle by finally bringing Odessey & Oracles to life. The DVD is well produced, professionally recorded, and long overdue.

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