Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Last Argent Record

Aside from "Hold Your Head Up," which never killed me, and "God Gave Rock & Roll To You," which I really can't stand, I can't say I have ever heard much else from Argent. Odd really, being The Zombies fan that I am, as well as knowing most of Colin Blunstone's solo work.

But I found this LP yesterday while perusing an "A" box at my storage facility, and I was intrigued by the credits on the back sleeve.

"Thanks to Phil Collins who played drums and percussion while Robert was ill."


"Produced by Rod Argent & Chris White in conjunction with Tony Visconti."

I am always up for Phil Collins behind the kit, and since this LP was dated 1975,  I assume it was recorded right after Genesis recorded "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" and right before they reconvened without Peter Gabriel, making the possibility of Collins wanting to show off his chops quite good.

If I had to take a stab at what "Counterpoints" sounded like based on the two hits I mentioned above, I would have never come up with a cross between Queen, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, The Who, the soundtrack from "Godspell" and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Take a listen to the opening track:

There is not much information about this record, it has never been issued on CD, and even All Music gives it only 2 stars and no review. I love it. All of it. If what I posted is not your cup of tea, then move on. There's nothing to see here. But, for most of "Counterpoints," Rod Argent and company offer up a little of everything, with splendid playing and layers of harmony. It's never boring.


Anonymous said...

Argent was maddeningly inconsistent. I always blamed Russ Ballard, whose "Liar" on their first album was later made a big hit by Three Dog Night. Ballard was the rock side, Rod Argent was the finesse side, and they never combined well. "Dance in the Smoke," from the first s/t album, was probably their high point. The In Deep album, with the 2 "hits" you cite, is actually the outlier for the band since none of the other albums concentrated on long cuts.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Sal, the 3 samples are from snooze-ville. The only Argent I ever liked was the first side of the first album, which had a little bit of a Zombies groove.


buzzbabyjesus said...

I can totally hear Phil behind the kit. These pieces sound good (Visconti), but it's hard to think of them as songs, more like a bunch of bits hammered together. I wanted to like them, but it has this sad "out of gas" quality last albums often have. Also the cover is terrible, must be by someone's girlfriend.

A guy called Tak said...

Sal, you're right about the mixture of sounds.
Zombies playing Todd's tunes with 3-men Genesis featuring McLaughlin!
I kinda dig this album.
Maybe just a bad production over all.
Not to mention horrible cover design...

A walk in the woods said...

I reckon I'm in the minority then because I found it pretty darn beguiling. Nice stuff!! I saw the Zombies on a reunion tour a few years ago, and it was a reeeeal nice show.

steve simels said...

Sal -- the first Argent LP, as somebody mentioned earlier, is the one to hear.

Particularly "Schoolgirl," which is -- in every way -- the best Zombies song the Zombies never did. One of those great, syncopated "She's Not There" verse grooves, exquisite breath vocals, and a melody to die for.

Anonymous said...


The Zombies are Gods; under-appreciated for so long with a modicum of appreciation arrived ├╝ber-belatedly.

Their success came way too fast followed by an endless number of terrific singles issued after She's Not There & Tell Her No with almost nobody noticing including their label.

The only cohesive group produced album was Odessey & Oracle and that too sank until Time of The Season, and even then only a few of us understood just how freaking fabulous it was.

Then slowly, almost person by person, over 3 decades word of mouth brought the appreciation that the album and the musicians deserved.

They're pleased with all that has happened for them, even if it took as long as it did. I've had the pleasure of their company and perhaps because it did take so long, any props that they get are truly taken to heart.

The fact that Colin Blunstone has still got Colin Blunstone's voice is truly remarkable and Rod Argent hasn't lost any of his remarkable ability either.

They'll be back playing in the states again and if you get the chance, you have to see them - it's as if they're the last guys standing.

If you are a Zombies fan, the Argent album to check out is the first one.

It's as much a Zombies album as anything can be without Colin, but Rod's voice isn't too shabby and there's enough there to merit the listen - and then some.

I'm not a fan of the more prog-rock sensibilities of some of the later day Argent.

I always thought that what made much of the Zombies music so special wasn't what was added later to Argent music (the noodling and extended cuts) but the tasteful arrangements and what was left out if you know what I mean.

Schoolgirl should have been the follow-up to Imagine the Swan... find it and lemme know what you think.

Jeff McKee
Richmond, Va

Sal Nunziato said...

"Schoolgirl" is pretty great. About half of that first album is great.