Odessey & Oracle {Revisited}: The 40th Anniversary Concert (DVD)

The Zombies

MVD Visual, 2009


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The Zombies was a British Invasion group that produced some memorable music but ultimately, they had some very poor timing. They are best remembered for two excellent singles, “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No,” which reached the upper regions of the American charts in late 1964 and early 1965.

The bad timing occurred in 1967 when after recording one last album, they broke up before its release. The disc sat on the shelf at Columbia Records until producer Al Kooper lobbied for its release. Still unconvinced, Columbia issued it on their small Date Label. Odessey & Oracle is now recognized as one of the best albums of the late ‘60s. The hit single “Time Of The Season” is a psychedelic classic and still receives airplay.

The Zombies resisted all overtures to reunite, though. Keyboardist Rod Argent formed his own group, and vocalist Colin Blunstone went on to enjoy a credible solo career. Guitarist Paul Atkinson became an A&R man for Columbia and RCA until his death in in 2004. Drummer Hugh Grundy ran a horse transport business. Bass player Chris White wrote Argent’s hit song “Hold Your Head Up” and acted as a producer. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In 1997, all five Zombies reunited for two songs at a Blunstone solo show. This led to Argent and Blunstone touring together as Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent of The Zombies. Finally, they recruited three new musicians and began performing under The Zombies moniker again.

March 7th through 9th found the four living Zombies reuniting for three concerts to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Odessey & Oracle. New guitarist Keith Airey filled in for the deceased Atkinson.

Let me say that Odessey & Oracle {Revisited}: The 40th Anniversary Concert is well worth the wait. It transports you back in time to enjoy the first complete live performance of one of the best albums of the psychedelic era.

The concert is divided into two parts. The current Zombies touring band presents a nine song set, complete with such early Zombie material as “I Love You,” “Sticks And Stones,” and “Can’t Nobody Love You.” Blunstone’s voice still has incredible range and Argent remains an expert keyboardist.

Part two includes an introduction by Al Kooper, which is followed by the original Zombies lineup performing all twelve tracks in order. Songs such as “A Rose For Emily,” “Hung Up On A Dream,” “Friends Of Mine,” and the eternal “Time Of The Season” are resurrected in all their late ‘60s glory. They finish the evening with “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.” It was good to see Chris White on board, since he composed seven of the twelve tracks.

There is a thoughtful interview with Blunstone, White, and Argent included here, which examines the creation and recording of the album in detail.

Forty years is a long time, and it’s nice to see that The Zombies have closed the musical circle by finally bringing Odessey & Oracle to life. The DVD was well-produced, professionally recorded, and long overdue.

Rating: A-

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© 2009 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MVD Visual, and is used for informational purposes only.