Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"This Will Be Our Year"
The high-tech cable channel, HD NET, has been running the 40th anniversary concert celebration of The Zombies' "Odessey & Oracle," one of the greatest records of all time that almost never got released. The concert took place in March of 2008 at Shepherd's Bush Empire in England, where 4 of the original 5 members--guitarist Paul Atkinson died in 2004---performed this legendary work in its entirety...for the first time EVAH!
Here is what Bruce Eder had to say about "Odessey..."
Odessey and Oracle was one of the flukiest (and best) albums of the 1960s, and one of the most enduring long-players to come out of the entire British psychedelic boom, mixing trippy melodies, ornate choruses, and lush Mellotron sounds with a solid hard rock base. But it was overlooked completely in England and barely got out in America (with a big push by Al Kooper, who was then a Columbia Records producer); and it was neglected in the U.S. until the single "Time of the Season," culled from the album, topped the charts nearly two years after it was recorded, by which time the group was long disbanded. Ironically, at the time of its recording in the summer of 1967, permanency was not much on the minds of the bandmembers. Odessey and Oracle was intended as a final statement, a bold last hurrah, having worked hard for three years only to see the quality of their gigs decline as the hits stopped coming. The results are consistently pleasing, surprising, and challenging: "Hung Up on a Dream" and "Changes" are some of the most powerful psychedelic pop/rock ever heard out of England, with a solid rhythm section, a hot Mellotron sound, and chiming, hard guitar, as well as highly melodic piano. "Changes" also benefits from radiant singing. "This Will Be Our Year" makes use of trumpets (one of the very few instances of real overdubbing) in a manner reminiscent of "Penny Lane"; and then there's "Time of the Season," the most well-known song in their output and a white soul classic. Not all of the album is that inspired, but it's all consistently interesting and very good listening, and superior to most other psychedelic albums this side of the Beatles' best and Pink Floyd's early work. Indeed, the only complaint one might have about the original LP is its relatively short running time, barely over 30 minutes, but even that's refreshing.
The performance was sublime and can be seen in its entirety on the DVD below. Lead singer Colin Blunstone's voice has taken on some years, but it is no less moving than it was in 1968, making such gorgeous material as "A Rose For Emily" as beautiful as ever. Rod Argent hasn't lost a step on the keyboards, and the rhythm section of Chris White and Hugh Grundy, more than held their own. One of the highlights of this excellent performance was Chris White's "Butcher's Tale," which brought the Empire to its feet.
I had been thinking about "This Will Be Our Year," one of my two favorite songs on "Odessey & Oracle," (the other being the flawless opener "Care Of Cell 44,") for weeks now. It would have been easy enough to just take the CD off the shelf and put it on, but "Odessey..." is one of those pieces of work that needs to be savored. It is not to be played while working out, or vacuuming, or balancing a check book.
I finally got around to it. Once the CD reached "This Will Be Our Year," I had to stop and take it all in. This song is 2 minutes of pop perfection and one of those songs that can change my mood the second I hear the opening piano progression. I played it 17 times in a row, and never made it to the end of the CD.
There is no proper video for this song, so if you don't own "Odessey & Oracle," (WHY DON'T YOU?) you can listen up top.