Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews

The Zombies Featuring Clin Blunstone & Rod Argent – Recorded Live At Metropolis Studios, London – Convexe Entertainment (CD + DVD)

Another veteran sixties group flexes their muscles.

Published on August 6, 2012

The Zombies Featuring Clin Blunstone & Rod Argent – Recorded Live At Metropolis Studios, London – Convexe Entertainment (CD + DVD)

The Zombies Featuring Clin Blunstone & Rod Argent – Recorded Live In Concert At Metropolis Studios, London – Convexe Entertainment CVX902141, CD (68:23) + DVD (73:24) ****:

(Rod Argent – keyboards, vocals; Colin Blunstone – vocals; Jim Rodford – bass, vocals; Tom Toomey – guitar, vocals; Steve Rodford – drums)

When the Zombies (still one of the greatest band names, ever) hit the British rock scene, they were trying to hit a different chord…a jazzy one. Led by talented keyboardist, Rod Argent, and vocalist Colin Blunstone, their unique sound set them apart from the typical English blues-based groups. In 1964, they got off to a fast start by recording “She’s Not There”. With a flair for minor key structure, the catchy song soared to #2 on the pop charts. Subsequent hits like “Tell Her No” and “I Love You” were offset by disappointing sales. The band sustained numerous lineup changes. Their last hit was “Time Of The Season” (1969). As a side note Al Kooper (then an A&R man for CBS) used his influence to get this released.

Argent formed his own self-named band in the seventies. Songs like “Hold Your Head Up”, “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” and “Liar” became staples on the seventies music scene. Blunstone moved on to a solo career, releasing commercially successful singles, and contributed vocals to the Alan Parsons Project. As the new millennium dawned, he and Argent began to reunite and eventually incorporated this into new life for the Zombies.

The Zombies Featuring Colin Blunstone And Rod Argent is a CD/DVD package of a live concert, The performance (before an enthusiastic crowd of 120 at Metropolis Studios) is a compilation of Zombies tunes, as well as a few solo numbers. Featuring Argent and Blunstone, they are joined by Jim Rodford (bass), Tom Toomey (guitar) and Steve Rodford (drums). Opening the set is “I Love You”. Blunstone’s vocals are crisp and soulful. Argent’s jazzy riffs on organ are still vibrant. Argent is equally adept at the piano as he rocks out on the bluesy “Mystified”. Some of the earlier material is more nostalgic than compelling. But when the Zombies escape from conventional pop structures, they are fun. “Whenever You’re Ready” (with Argent sailing on electric piano) captures the aural spirit of the band.

For those who came to hear the “standards”, they were bountiful. “Time Of The Season” still possesses the spooky tempo and cool time signature. Blunstone (with the help of Toomey and J. Rodford) pour on the layered vocals. All of the vibes of “She’s Not There” are still present. Blunstone is measured and doesn’t try to overpower the vocals. The inherent grooves speak for themselves. Argent continues to be scintillating on electric piano and organ.

Various tracks, (including “Say You Don’t Mind”, “I Don’t Believe In Miracles” and “What Becomes Of the Broken Hearted”) from Blunstone’s solo albums are featured. He still has credible, rock n’ soul chops. However it’s an Argent number (“Hold Your Head Up”) that has survived banality. The near-progressive rock organ runs, clicking guitar and repeat chorus are still infectious. A special treat is a Zombies-infused jazzy waltz on Gershwin’s “Summertime”. This exemplifies the creative spark that elevated The Zombies above their contemporaries.

The DVD contains the identical set list, and includes interviews with Argent and Blunstone. It’s filmed in a no-frills manner, letting the music speak for itself.

TrackList (CD + DVD): I Love You; Can’t Nobody Love You; Mystified; What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted; Any Other Way; A Rose For Emily; Care Of Cell 44; This Will Be Our Year; Beechwood Park; I Want Her, She Wants Me; Time Of The Season; Whenever You’re Ready; Tell Her No; I Do Believe; Say You Don’t Mind; Hold Your Head Up; I Don’t Believe In Miracles; She’s Not There; Summertime; (Extras on DVD): Video interviews with Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone

—Robbie Gerson

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