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The Zombies: Odessey and Oracle (1968)

Tonight I had the pleasure of listening to some FANTASTIC music, It’s old (1968) but it was new to me. Recently I purchased a gorgeous-sounding half-speed master 180gr repress of The ZombiesOdessey and Oracle” (spelling mistake is theirs not mine, LOL!)

This is an album that should absolutely be in anyone’s collection if you are a fan of classic rock, but especially if you like music by The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Nick Drake, The Smoke, and Iron Butterfly.

There is just so much going on with this album.

Although it was more or less ignored at the time of release, it has gone on to become an essential classic album, even making it to the top 100 the Rolling Stone Magazine‘s list of 500 greatest albums of all time.

It looks like a psychedelic album due to the crazy colorful cover art, but don’t let that fool you. It has more in common with the Baroque stylings of The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society” or The Doors‘ “L.A. Woman” than with the guitar freakouts of Iron Butterfly‘s “Inna Gada Da Vida“. It’s lush sounds and charming melodies remind me of the music of Belle and Sebastian, who were obviously influenced by it!

If you are not a fan of The Zombies, or if you have not heard much of their music, you have at the very least heard She’s Not There or the last track on side two of this album: Time of the Season. This song, to me, is quintessential sixties music. It has that groovy feel to it with just a bit of danger lurking beneath the surface. It features in just about every American film about the sixties, and was apparently, something of an anthem for the American kids fighting in Vietnam. The keyboards are gorgeous and remind me of The Doors Riders on the Storm. The song itself wasn’t even meant to be released as a single! Although the album was recorded and released in 1967, Time of the Season was released in early 1969, becoming a surprise hit just as the band finally packed it in.

This was only The Zombies‘ second proper album and, sadly, it was also their last album. Tired of the way things were going, constant arguments with their record company over their music direction, and struggling to make the kind of music they wanted to make, The Zombies split up and went their separate ways shortly after the release of this album. I suppose, if you’re going call it quits, you might as well do it while you’re on top. They might not have felt that way at the time, but time has proven them wrong: this album is a stunner and worth having in your collection.

I also recently purchased a great retrospective album called (no surprise here) “Time of the Season” (Not Bad Records BAD2LP206). It contains many of the tracks from “Odessey and Oracle” but it also includes a number of non-album singles as well as a few great gems from the band’s first album, 1965’s “Begin Here“. If you are looking for a good place to start you really can’t go wrong with this great sounding collection… but I guarantee you’ll want to try and find yourself a nice pressing of “Odessey and Oracle” (Mine is an amazing 180gr half-speed master from Repertoire Records (REP 2207, 2013). The Stereo and Mono versions were both re-issued by Repertoire Records in 2013. I decided to go for the stereo version because I’d previewed the songs and I knew that I like the mix.

I have no idea what versions are being presented on Spotify, but they all sound great when streamed and played loud!! Do yourself and have a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

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