The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle

ARTIST: The Zombies 220px-Odessey_and_Oracle
TITLE: Odessey and Oracle
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: #95
SINGLES: Friends of Mine, Care of Cell 44, Time of the Season (#3), Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Well, a lot of people bought this record well after release, but radio just plays one track.
LINEUP: Colin Bluestone, Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson, Chris White, Hugh Grundy
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A band, disillusioned by its current lack of success, and feuding in the studio, breaks up after they finish their last album. It’s released, then a year later a single takes off in the US, and finally people realize what a great record it was.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s amazing that the Zombies recorded and released this record at all. Unhappy with management, with diminishing prospects and gigs, they had only a few short days spread over months, then after they finished the record, they split.

It was released in the UK at first, then finally the US. The singles leaked out didn’t hit the charts. Then “Time of the Season” was released in the US about six months after the fact. Finally, a hit. Too bad the band was gone and off doing other things.

It’s a great pastiche of sunshine pop, psychedelica, and baroque pop. What’s even more incredible is that with all of the beauty and delicate work done, the only overdubs were horns on one song. Everything else was done on a four-track by the Zombies. Plus, the songs seem to hold together as a consistent, fluid work – even though Argent and White wrote separately for the album – seven cuts for White and five for Argent.

For any student of the 60’s, it’s a must have.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The only reason this was released in the US was that Al Kooper picked up a copy in London and brought it to the head of Columbia, Clive Davis. Davis wasn’t going to release it since it stiffed in the UK.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: There’s a 40th anniversary edition with live cuts from the reunited band.

GRADE: A: You’ve heard the hit – now hear the rest!

 

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