Live At The Bloomsbury Theatre, London

Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent of the Zombies

Rhino, 2007


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent were the two mainstays of the British Invasion group The Zombies. Formed in 1961 and disbanded in 1967, The Zombies were best known for three single releases: “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No” and the brilliant “Time Of The Season.” Proving that timing is everything in life and in the music industry, the already-recorded album Odessey And Oracle was released in 1968, one year after the break-up. Odessey And Oracle is now recognized as one of the classic albums of the 1960s, and Rolling Stone magazine named it the 80th greatest album of all time.

The Zombies had one brief reunion in 1997. Argent and Blunstone, who enjoyed long, credible solo careers, found themselves at the same charity concert in 2003 and decided to perform a few songs together. They enjoyed the experience and decided to put a band together and play a half dozen dates, which have now extended to five-plus years of touring and recording. Originally billing themselves as Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent, promoters kept adding “of The Zombies” to the advertising, so it was appended to their official name. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Live At The Bloomsbury Theatre, London is a two-disc compilation of their five years of touring together. Two discs and 25 songs may be a bit much for any except the most hardened fan. However, many of the songs presented here, including tracks from Odessey and Oracle, are being made available live for the first time. Still, it would have been nice to hear all the songs from Odessey and Oracle performed together in order to give the listener a feel for one of the great sophisticated British invasion albums.

Andorra” leads off the album and establishes the feel of what is to follow. Colin Blunstone remains a strong vocalist and Rod Argent’s keyboards dominate most of the songs with a rhythm section in support. Lead guitarist Keith Airey is underused but shines through when allowed to. The sound is sparse at times and seems to fit what the modern days Zombies would sound like. The few times that strings are added to the mix just don’t sound right.

One of the highlights of Live At The Bloomsbury Theatre, London is the three songs from Odessey And Oracle that are performed back to back. “A Rose For Emily,” Beechwood Park” and “Time Of The Season” give a hint at just how well that album fit together.

Argent and Blunstone play it fairly conservatively for the most part. “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There” are performed in mid-sixties style. Rod Argent’s solo hit “Hold Your Head Up” is also performed note-for-note from the original. This is probably a good decision as when they veer away from their songs to such covers as “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted” and “Summertime,” problems occur.

Live At The Bloomsbury Theatre, London is a competent album of a group of songs that have not been heard in decades. Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent seem reinvigorated and while it may not be the most exciting music on this earth, at times it is at least consistently interesting. Sometimes that is enough.

Rating: B-

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