Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Music Club: Lost LOVE: The Zombies' best album, I LOVE YOU (1966) from the original version of the band...released only in Japan and Holland

Below, the Varese Sarabande version (with six bonus tracks added: 13-18) of I Love You by the Zombies, an album Decca put together solely for their Japanese and Dutch divisions, made up (as were such similar US-market compilations as the Beatles' Yesterday and Today or Hey Jude or the Rolling Stones' December's Children (And Everybody's)) out of a fairly random mixture of singles (A and B sides) and other recordings that hadn't been actually earmarked for inclusion in an album (at least, in many cases, in the US market, where corporate greed meant fewer songs per LP than in the less affluent Britain of the '60s).

Why Decca/Parrot, which had already found greater success with the Zombies in the US (though they did OK enough in the UK and much of the rest of the world), didn't simply follow that example and release this second LP (unless we count their contribution to the soundtrack album for the suspense film Bunny Lake is Missing, which is not a Zombies film quite the way Help! or Catch Us if You Can or Hold On! are films about/featuring the bands in and scoring them, but more along the lines of Blow Up, and missing the all but required exclamation point) in the States as well is unclear...perhaps the Japanese and Dutch releases were meant to be a sort of test-marketing. But after the rather rushed-out first album, Begin Here (1965), chopped and channeled and shortened for US release as The Zombies, the band had been consistently exploring means to not only Make Hits but to play around with song forms, and find different ways to incorporate their jazz, R&B, choral music and other influences within a rock context...much in the manner of such exact contemporaries the Byrds (particularly by the latter's third album, where the jazz influences outweigh the folk-music legacy, and as they also moved on to co-founding country rock), and their fellow Britons in the Yardbirds and the Animals to a great extent; similar music from Fairport Convention and Soft Machine, among others, would soon follow.

Samples, courtesy AllMusic:
  1. The Way I Feel Inside (1:51)
  2. 2 How We Were Before (2:05)
  3. 3 Is This the Dream (2:42)
  4. 4 Whenever You're Ready (2:42)
  5. 5 Woman (2:24)
  6. 6 You Make Me Feel Good (2:37)
  7. 7 Gotta Get a Hold of Myself (2:29)
  8. 8 Indication (2:59)
  9. 9 Don't Go Away (2:34)
  10. 10 I Love You (3:12)
  11. 11 Leave Me Be (2:08)
  12. 12 She's Not There (2:25)
  13. 13 I Can't Make Up My Mind (2:33)
  14. 14 I Remember When I Loved Her (2:01)
  15. 15 Remember You (1:58)
  16. 16 Just Out of Reach (2:08)
  17. 17 Goin' Out of My Head (3:04)
  18. 18 She Does Everything for Me (2:15)
After this, in 1967, the Zombies and Decca disaffiliated, and the band moved to CBS to see if their fortunes might improve; Columbia's UK division wasn't going to extend them much money, so they recorded even the more complex compositions on their third (or fourth) LP as inexpensively as they could (the band was never as wrapped up in extensive studio/mixing technique as the Beach Boys or the Beatles or the Who, preferring most of their more complex work to still be performed in concert without too much frippery...though, of course, they didn't get much opportunity to play around thus, despite achieving interesting Spectorish walls of sound in some of their recordings, such as "She's Coming Home"). Odessey and Oracle, cute reference to odes implanted in the customized spelling and all, did little business, and the mooted next/last album, to be titled R.I.P. (the first time they would make even a passing reference to their own band name, which apparently meant about as little to them as "the Kinks" did to that band's members), didn't actually come together, as the members went their different ways, keyboardist/composer Rod Argent having already put together his new band Argent, lead singer and infrequent composer Colin Blunstone not quite yet ready to launch his solo career but it would soon follow, bassist/composer Chris White all but retiring from performance but writing songs for both and others. It took two years for "Time of the Season," the last song on O&O, to build to an international hit, and the Zombies declined to reform. which led to multiple fake Zombie bands touring (George Romero could sympathize), and, of course, obligated Argent the band and Blunstone to add it to their concerts.

But while there is excellent material on all the Zombies albums (including Bunny Lake, and surprisingly "She's Not There," though played briefly in the film, is on all cited albums so far except the soundtrack and O&O), this selection is perhaps just a notch better than the other long-players the band saw released during their first career together, featuring such brilliant material as their first hit (and pointedly leaving off their second, "Tell Her No," not a song the band wanted to release as a single and one of the weaker songs in their discography) as well as "Whenever You're Ready" and several others which come close to their mark (I'll admit that the "extra" tracks Varese Sarabande added for this 2004 release make it even sexier, for those who wouldn't want the not quite exhaustive but very inclusive box set Zombie Heaven--"Remember You" and "Just Out of Reach" are also among their very best records, and their cover of "Going Out of My Head" another highlight). "Woman" by me is a near-clunker, but a charmingly energetic one, and compares favorably with the not-quite first-rate covers of the likes of "Road Runner" on Begin Here or the Weillesque but not completely successful attempt at getting across the horrors of war on O&O, "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)"--also, an example of the very young band starting by their last work together in the '60s starting to move lyrically beyond songs of new, lost and spurned love; their early psychedelia recordings, such as "Beechwood Park" and "Smokey Day," would follow, and would illustrate how little even King Crimson or Pink Floyd, much less the Moody Blues (or, sadly, Argent the band), would manage to better what the Zombies were beginning to explore--and still within the confines of the three-minute or shorter song.

Though as callow as their lyrics could be at times (and as witty at other times, and sometimes even simultaneously--something also notable in their similarly young contemporary Gene Clark, the first great songwriter in the Byrds, whose swan song with that band was "Eight Miles High"), few bands have ever combined the beauty and propulsiveness of most of the Zombies' best work (Blunstone's sometimes almost bleating in the early recordings, in an attempt to sound bluesily soulful, usually manages to resolve to something worthwhile, and happily he gave that up rather quickly; another rare feature of early recordings, Argent's excellent harmonica playing, is sadly absent from the later recordings). Even this album is only a limited taste of what they were able to achieve from 1964-67, and Zombie Heaven gives one the meat of all the albums, BBC radio tracks, and some interview and other matter (including the very funny full recording of the reworking of Blunstone's "Just Out of Reach" to promote the film Bunny Lake, "Come on Time"--the web-posted versions of that song are sadly truncated and apparently lifted from a very ragged recording source, indeed). Listening to Argent's often Brubeckianly block-chorded solos play off Hugh Grundy's precise and melodic drumming, and the occasional flashes of virtuosity from good guitarist Paul Atkinson and even better bassist White, mixed with the often tricky vocal arrangements (all but Grundy put their choir practice chops to excellent use), is a very good time indeed, not at all soulless.

Rather bemused Zombies playing live, 1966: "Gotta Get A Hold of Myself"

"Whenever You're Ready"

Incomplete Discography: The Zombies, 1961-1967 version:
(Largely courtesy Wikipedia and Discogs)
Top, Paul Atkinson, Rod Argent. Below, Hugh Grundy
Chris White, Colin Blunstone

Side 1
1."Road Runner"  Bo Diddley2:06
2."Summertime"  George GershwinIra GershwinDuBose Heyward2:17
3."I Can't Make Up My Mind"  Chris White2:37
4."The Way I Feel Inside"  Rod Argent1:28
5."Work 'n' Play"  Ken Jones2:07
6."You Really Got A Hold On Me/Bring It On Home To Me"  Smokey Robinson/Sam Cooke3:39
7."She's Not There"  Argent2:20
Side 2
8."Sticks And Stones"  Henry GloverTitus Turner2:56
9."Can't Nobody Love You"  Phillip Mitchell2:15
10."Woman"  Argent2:25
11."I Don't Want To Know"  White2:07
12."I Remember When I Loved Her"  Argent2:00
13."What More Can I Do"  White1:38
14."I Got My Mojo Working"  Preston Foster, McKinley Morganfield3:35
CD Bonus Tracks
15."It's Alright With Me"  Argent
16."Sometimes"  Argent2:05
17."Kind Of Girl"  Argent
18."Tell Her No"  Argent2:09
19."Sticks And Stones" (Alternate Take)Glover, Turner
20."It's Alright With Me" (Alternate Take)Argent
21."I Know She Will"  Argent, White
22."I'll Keep Trying"  Argent

  • Ken Jones - piano on "Work 'n' Play" (as Argent played harmonica), tambourine on "I Remember When I Loved Her"

Side 1
1."She's Not There"  Rod Argent2:20
2."Summertime"  George GershwinIra GershwinDubose Heyward2:17
3."It's Alright With Me"  Argent1:49
4."You've Really Got a Hold on Me/Bring It On Home to Me"  Smokey Robinson/Sam Cooke3:36
5."Sometimes"  Argent2:05
6."Woman"  Argent2:24
Side 2
1."Tell Her No"  Argent2:09
2."I Don't Want to Know"  Chris White2:03
3."Work 'N' Play"  Ken Jones2:01
4."Can't Nobody Love You"  Phillip Mitchell2:12
5."What More Can I Do"  Chris White1:38
6."I Got My Mojo Working"  Preston Foster, McKinley Morganfield3:32

A1Paul Glass Theme From: Bunny Lake Is Missing6:50
A2Paul Glass Chocolates For Bunny1:01
A3Paul Glass The Empty House At Frogmore End5:07
A4Zombies, The Nothing's Changed
Written-By – Chris White (2)
A5Zombies, The Just Out Of Reach
Written-By – Colin Blunstone
A6Zombies, The Remember You
Written-By – Chris White (2)
B1Paul Glass Bunny3:37
B2Paul Glass A World Of Dolls4:16
B3Paul Glass Wild Games!2:29
B4Paul Glass Samantha's Waltz1:33
B5Paul Glass Touching The Sky5:49
B6Paul Glass End Title From Bunny Lake Is Missing1:10

(CD versions include the radio/tv ad edit of "Come on Time" and a bit more of Glass's incidental music)

All songs written and composed by Chris White, except where noted. 
Side one
1."Care of Cell 44(Rod Argent)3:57
2."A Rose for Emily" (Argent)2:19
3."Maybe After He's Gone"  2:34
4."Beechwood Park"  2:44
5."Brief Candles"  3:30
6."Hung Up on a Dream" (Argent)3:02
Side two
1."Changes"  3:20
2."I Want Her, She Wants Me" (Argent)2:53
3."This Will Be Our Year"  2:08
4."Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)"  2:48
5."Friends of Mine"  2:18
6."Time of the Season(Argent)3:34

--Really, just get this one. 

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