BCB 100 - The Zombies

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geoffcowgill
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BCB 100 - The Zombies

Postby geoffcowgill » 09 Jul 2006, 18:28

I just watched the movie Dear Wendy yesterday which uses the Zombies exclusively as the song soundtrack. This group of kids in the film listen to them over and over. The kids are all the outcasts of this mining town and they develop a cult over their communion with antique guns and call themselves the Dandies. They profess pacifism and vow never to reveal their guns outside of their clubhouse sanctuary. They explore gun history arcana and coroner and ballistic reports to better understand the power of what they worship, but are so repulsed by the possibility of committing violence, they can't even bring themselves to use the word kill, substituting love instead. It sounds pretty insufferable, I imagine, but it really works until the rather weak ending. This leads back to the Zombies, because I was struck how singularly appropriate their music is for this film and these characters. From the name and genre of their music, they sound like (for mid-60s rock, anyway) real badasses. We're back from the dead, playing blues derived rock. From certain angles, it seems likely that they'd sound similar to the Stones, Animals, or Them. But of course there's much that is so terrifically pansy and undangerous about them. There's that contradiction in their music, that friction between smoky menace, attitude and danger and classical music, gorgeous harmonies, and getting misty over dandelions with Wordsworth.

I like almost everything I've heard by them. Someday I'm going to have to seek out Zombie Heaven. It sounds like the way to go.

Favorite Song - "Tell Her No" with "I Love You" and "Whenever You're Ready" on its heels.

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Postby Quaco » 09 Jul 2006, 18:45

The Zombies are a group where I prefer not to hear other people namecheck them or talk too much about them. The beauty is right there in the sounds they make, and other people talking about them just so utterly fails to capture it. Thus I will keep this short: Every once in a while, I put on "Changes", "This Will Be Our Year", "Brief Candles", and "Friends of Mine" and weep and marvel at the beauty of this music.
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bixhenry
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Postby bixhenry » 09 Jul 2006, 18:48

Quaco wrote:The Zombies are a group where I prefer not to hear other people namecheck them or talk too much about them. The beauty is right there in the sounds they make, and other people talking about them just so utterly fails to capture it. Thus I will keep this short: Every once in a while, I put on "Changes", "This Will Be Our Year", "Brief Candles", and "Friends of Mine" and weep and marvel at the beauty of this music.


What he said.

Album - Duh! Odessy and Oracle

Song - 'This Will Be Our Year'

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Postby John aka Josh » 09 Jul 2006, 23:21

Not much choice on the album front unless going for a greatest hits.



Favourite Album - Odessy and Oracle
Favourite Song - Indication
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Postby PENK » 09 Jul 2006, 23:38

I listen to the Zombies more than any other band of their era, despite only owning the one album. The music's as close to perfection as anything has ever come.

Album: ooh, I wonder
Song: Hung Up On a Dream
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Postby The Modernist » 09 Jul 2006, 23:49

They're OK, though there's something too prissy about them.
Best song is Time Of The Season, easily the best thing they ever did.

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Postby B » 10 Jul 2006, 00:34

Album: Odessey and Oracle
Song: Imagine the Swan

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Postby Carl's Son » 10 Jul 2006, 00:47

I am finding myself liking The Zombies more and more. I love the unabashed sweetness of their music.

I find Time of The Season very strange in that it goes from being menacing, prowling cool to suddenly almost floral prettiness.
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Postby RcL » 10 Jul 2006, 01:45

Album: Odessey and Oracle
Song: Friends Of Mine

Aaah!

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Postby geoffcowgill » 10 Jul 2006, 02:25

Chris Chopping wrote:I am finding myself liking The Zombies more and more. I love the unabashed sweetness of their music.

I find Time of The Season very strange in that it goes from being menacing, prowling cool to suddenly almost floral prettiness.


That's what I said!

There's that contradiction in their music, that friction between smoky menace, attitude and danger and classical music, gorgeous harmonies, and getting misty over dandelions with Wordsworth.


No one listens to me! Seriously, though, a lot of their stuff has that, though not maybe as starkly as "Time Of The Season".

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Postby king feeb » 10 Jul 2006, 03:51

bixhenry wrote:
Album - Duh! Odessy and Oracle

Song - 'This Will Be Our Year'


Me too.
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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 10 Jul 2006, 17:23

Okay...

So its 1977 and I'm 12 years old. I'm in the process of transitioning from music lover to music obsessive. The year before I had been taken to see McCartney and Wings on their "Wings Over America" tour by my father. When he took us he clearly did not suspect he'd be sowing the seeds of addiction by doing so (you'd think the marijuana contact high would have been the issue - but alas it was the music). By the time '77 rolled around, I'd already used my paper route money to buy the Beatle's "blue" and "red" albums as they were often called, and was wading knee deep into Beatle-obsession - which, of course, led to an interest in all things related to the British invasion.

While all of this is going on, the musical culture is a strange cacophony. Still more a child than a teenager, I'm in the habit of listening to AM radio which is feeding me a steady diet of soft rock ("Lonely Boy" - Andrew Gold, "Torn Between Two Lovers" - Mary McGregor) which my 12 year old self doesn't really mind too badly, and disco hits ("Best of My Love" - The Emotions, "Boogie Nights" - Heatwave) which I could never admit to loving for fear of ridicule - but love it I do.

When I venture into FM radio I am met by the watered down prog-rock crossovers of Kansas, Styx and Supertramp. My older brother has no time for this. He likes the 'real stuff' - so I am treated to healthy doses of Going for the One by Yes and Fanfare for the Common Man by ELP. I'm not a big fan of any of this stuff, but I do gravitate towards less proggy FM radio fare such as Fleetwood Mac's Rumors, Eric Clapton's Slowhand and the like.

I'm also becoming aware of this 'punk" thing that's brewing. On tv somebody does a segment on this strange new music coming from England and the East Coast. It intimidates me. I'm just figuring out who the old guard is. I'm not ready to denounce them. I see albums by Elvis Costello and the Talking Heads around and immediately write them off as BS. People are talking about the Sex Pistols. I want no part of it. I buy Running on Empty by Jackson Browne, Silk Degrees by Boz Scaggs, Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Lattitudes by Jimmy Buffett, and Lace and Whiskyby Alice Cooper.

So somewhere in all of this confusion I become aware of Santana's remake of "She's Not There." It bothers me because I've just recently bought a compilation of the best of the British Invasion, a cheaply packaged toss off that is highlighted by The Beatles and Tony Sheridan doing "Ain't She Sweet" as well as the Zombies original "She's Not There" - and being the stiff 12 year old I was, I was angry that Santana would desecrate a British Invasion classic (even if I had only became aware of it a few weeks earlier).

This, of course, led me to to a curiosity about the Zombies. So I got on my bike and rode about 5 miles down Ventura Blvd. to Licorice Pizza and shelled out what I recall seemed like a LOT of money to buy Time of The Zombies, a two LP compilation of the Zombies featuring the complete Oddessy and Oracle on the second LP.

I took it home and gave it a spin. The first LP full of Beatlesque hits was an instant winner, and an instant obsession. Song's like "You Make Me Feel Good," "'I Love You" and "Is This The Dream" hit me right in my sweet spot. Colin Blunstone's voice especially made an impression. And the cover of "Summertime" still remains one of my all time favorite records - and one that nobody but me ever seems to mention.

That's a powerful thing when you are a kid...to find something great and think that you are the only one on earth that knows about it or loves it. And the liner notes to Time of the Zombies made them seem like my own secret band. Just a bunch of school kids who lucked into a few hits, but in reality, left a treasure trove of secret music that belonged only to me and whoever wrote those liner notes. I wore the first LP out, teaching myself to play most of the songs on it on my guitar and pretending that the Zombies would one day reform, short one member (probably Paul Atkinson who had gone into something called A&R the liner notes explained), and I'd be asked.

All of this was fine - but there was still the second LP to contend with. The intimidatingly titled "Oddessy and Oracle." In a way I'm lucky. I never heard the hype. Except for the hype in the Time of The Zombiesliner notes, nobody in my circle ever mentioned the album. Even if it had been compared to Pet Sounds it wouldn't matter. I hadn't even heard Pet Sounds yet. But the titles of the songs don't seem like the easy pop of the first LP. "Care of Cell 44," "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" "Rose for Emily" - it all seemed a little to heady for me. So I left it alone for the better part of a year, happy to dote on the first disc.

When I did get up the nerve to attempt the Oddessy and Oracle material it was always one song at a time. Like sticking a toe into a cold pool. One by one I fell in love with these songs. Even ones that seemed "strange" at first, such as "Changes" with its a'capella and flute sounds or "Butcher's Tale" with its (to a 12 year old) epic sounding lyrics. What I seldom did was play it in its entirety. In fact, I was never sure that the disc I had was all of Oddessy, or whether it was sequenced the same, etc. So while I had essentially owned Oddessy and Oracle for most of my youth, I had always considered its material as individual songs - never really as an album. I still had it in my head that actually buying Oddessy and Oracle would reveal something new to me.

Flash forward to about 8 years ago. By this point I know all about Oddessy's place in history and have long since mourned the fact that the Zombies weren't just my band. I've heard the comparisons to Pet Sounds and such and know full well how "important" the record is. Bt oddly enough, except for my old Time of the Zombies LP, I've never bothered to pick it up. Nor have I listened in a long time, as my turntable had long since stopped working. Anyhow I'm in a Virgin Megastore and looking to spend some store credit I have...and I pass the Zombies section. And there's Oddessy and Oracle. What the hell I tell myself as I grab it.

Getting in the car on the way home, I throw the other cd's off to the side and grab Oddessy. I can't wait. I put it on and as the opening notes to "Care of Cell 44" hit. It's so freaking beautiful. It is everything I want from life in compact disc form- tenderness, love, beauty, warmth, elegance, poetry, harmony. I can't believe I'd put these songs away for so long. I literally tear up on my way home that night.

A few years later it is announced that Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent are touring and will arrive in my town soon. I run out and buy tickets. A buddy of mine (Bixhenry from this board) goes with me. The room is packed and all of the aging hipsters are there. People I haven't seen for years come out of the woodwork. The Blunstone and Argent take the stage. They look like English school teachers. But Blunstone's voice sounds untouched (even if he does seem to have a perm). They hit those first few notes of "Care of Cell 44" and Blunstone sings "Good morning to you, I hope you're feeling better baby..." and suddenly I'm a 12 year old all over again. I'm in this club with a bunch of other 40 year olds and I'm like one of those girls screaming for the Beatles in the audience of the Ed Sullivan show. Even when the show descended into Argent's psuedo-prog meanderings, I was still rapt. Just sing "Summertime" I thought. Just do that one little thing and life will be perfect. And thankfully - they did.

So what else can I say about this band? They hit me in a spot that I can't explain. That part of me that is still unjaded and still unsullied by the last 30 years comes right to the surface when I listen to their music. Perhaps it is just a function of nostalgia. Perhaps it is a reaction to the unique warmth of their songs. Most likely its both. Who cares? Thank God for the Zombies.

Favorite Album: My old "Time of the Zombies" LP
Favorite Song: Summertime
Last edited by Davey the Fat Boy on 10 Jul 2006, 19:18, edited 7 times in total.
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Postby Leg of lamb » 10 Jul 2006, 17:38

Davey, all of a sudden I really want to hear the Zombies!

Thanks for that - a really great account.
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Postby Clippernolan » 10 Jul 2006, 18:14

Favourite Album - Once again, I have a "best of" but Odyssey (sp?)and Oracle has been on my list for years.

Favourite Song - "Time of the Season", being one of my favourite songs by anyone. "Whenever You're Ready" is a contender within the Zombies' canon, though.
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Postby Jeff K » 10 Jul 2006, 18:23

Leg of lamb wrote:Davey, all of a sudden I really want to hear the Zombies!

Thanks for that - a really great account.


I just put on Oddessy and Oracle because of Davey's post.

Well done.
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Postby brotherlouie » 10 Jul 2006, 18:35

*reads Davey's post and regrets two things: not having Odessey and Oracle to play and Davey not posting more. Thanks.*

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Postby Jeff K » 10 Jul 2006, 18:57

brotherlouie wrote:*reads Davey's post and regrets two things: not having Odessey and Oracle to play and Davey not posting more. Thanks.*


I don't play it often because it's a little too twee for my tastes but every now and then it hits the spot.
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Postby geoffcowgill » 10 Jul 2006, 18:58

Yes yes yes. I'm really glad you're here, Davey.

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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 10 Jul 2006, 20:03

:oops:
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Postby Zombeels » 20 Jul 2006, 06:08

album : Like you didn't already know. See what's on top of my list.

song: Brief Candles
http://rateyourmusic.com/list/Zombeels/ ... f_all_time
http://rateyourmusic.com/list/Zombeels/favourite_songs

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