Reviews Zone

The Zombies: In The Beginning (5 LP set / coloured vinyl) 22nd February 2019 (Demon Records)

 

 

 


5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

 

 

March 29th 2019 is a significant date. The day us Brits are supposed to be leaving the European Union and what some voted for: The Great British Break-Off or Brexit as it is better known.

For me personally, it is a  scarily BIG birthday and every time they give the countdown to how many damn days are left to the Brexit deadline, it continues to remind me just how long I have got before I am officially flipping old!

But for a bunch of fellow mature chaps from St Albans, it is the date that cannot come quick enough. The 34th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony; held this year in New York and broadcast live on HBO – when The Zombies will join six other inductees, including four more British bands.

The seven to go in this time are The Zombies, The Cure, Def Leppard, Radiohead, Roxy Music, Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks. The Zombies have been nominated three times before.

Three are first-time nominees: Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks and Roxy Music.  But Stevie Nicks is already in the R&RHOF as a member of Fleetwood Mac. Four of the five artists who topped the fan votes are being inducted: Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks, The Zombies and the Cure.

The Zombies are out on a US tour right now, and have two intimate London shows on 20th and 21st March at the swanky celeb’ haunt Boisdale in Canary Wharf. Lead singer Colin Blunstone is on the road in the UK in April with his own band.

This week, The Zombies have another good reason to celebrate, with the release of a belting 5-LP box set, “In The Beginning”, which drops on Friday 22nd February.

Pressed in 180 gram vinyl, all in coloured vinyl (a different colour for each of the five discs in the set), it is a classy job; housed in a rigid slipcase. The inner sleeves include photos from designer Phil Smee’s extensive collection, and many contemporary local and national press cuttings.

We get the two “proper” albums “Begin Here” and  “Odessey And Oracle”. “Early Days” and “Continue Here” collates together the group’s various A-sides, B-sides and EP tracks.

One of the five LPs here faithfully recreates the “R.I.P.” album, an intended posthumous release of overdubbed outtakes that was shelved when new band Argent emerged from the ashes of The Zombies.

Pre-order price in UK is circa £75, working out to £15 per album, so no one can say this is not good value for money. Delivering a bumper 63 tracks in total.

An avid record collector on an audophile on-line forum summed it up nicely with his comment – when the announcement was made about this release and the track listing was revealed:

“The Zombies were one of the few sixties bands whose every recording is at least good, most very good to excellent. All their b sides were as good as the a sides… It’s a great set, there is really no filler.” I concur. It sounds as good as it reads on paper, too.

For those of you having lived in a cave for the last five-plus decades; here’s the abbreviated skinny on the band and it’s history…

The original Zombies line-up is Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent, Chris White, Paul Atkinson and Hugh Grundy. The current line-up features both Argent and Blunstone from the original group.

They burst onto the UK and US pop scene in August 1964, with the huge and timeless hit “She’s Not There”, written by the band’s keyboard player Rod Argent. They followed up with a second hit in “Tell Her No”.

Their debut album “Begin Here” was released on the Decca label in 1965. Despite issuing several more excellent singles, further chart success eluded the band, although Dusty Springfield covered Argent’s “If It Don’t Work Out” (which the band also recorded).

The Zombies signed to CBS in 1967 and recorded a new album over the summer, producing the sessions themselves at Abbey Road and Olympic Studios. The result was the classic “Odessey And Oracle”, now ranked by Rolling Stone, Mojo and NME  as one of the ‘Greatest Albums of All Time’.

But by the time the album was released in April 1968, the band had split up. “Time Of The Season” went on to become a massive hit in the US in 1969, selling over a million copies.

The Zombies are cited as an influence by the likes of Neko Case and Nick Cave (who recorded ‘She’s Not There’ for the popular HBO series True Blood), Paul Weller, The Vaccines, Beck, Belle and Sebastian, Fleet Foxes, The Temples, The Beautiful South and Eminem. And many more…

If you do grab a copy of this total gem of a box set and stick your best headphones on, sat in your favourite chair, you’ll maybe hear just why this band have remained such an inspiration to so many other artists across 50+ years, and why they are still touring the globe. (I saw them at BB King’s club in Nashville in 2004, and they really were magnificent live and packed the gaff. Sheer class…)

Great job with the box set chaps. Congratulations on the well deserved and well overdue R&RHOF induction, too.

 

  • Release information: Label: Demon Records • Format: Vinyl • Date: 22/02/2019 Cat#: DEMRECBOX32 • Barcode: 5014797898912

 

 

By Simon Redley

 

 


1 Stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 Stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 Stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 Stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 Stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’

 

 

 

Read our interview with Colun Blunstone, here: http://www.musicrepublicmagazine.com/2017/09/never-meant-singer-zombies/

 

 

 

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