1001 Albums You Must Hear (and Blog about) Before You Die

My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die

864. Odessey and Oracle – The Zombies

Brief Background: Odessey and Oracle  (Odessey was unintentionally spelled incorrectly) was recorded throughout the second half of 1967 at Olympic and Abbey Road studios in London. By time the album was released in April of 1968, there had been two unsuccessful singles issued and the group had broken up. The album lingered in obscurity until 1969 when, after slowly rising in popularity, the song “Time of the Season” reached number #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the US.

What I think: This is an album I’ve been eagerly wait to review. I came across this album a couple of years ago when listening to a number of garage songs. The Zombies “She’s Not There” and “Time of the Season” came up. I thought to myself, “wow I hate this song (“Time of the Season”), it’s the archetypal Hippie crap”. I gave the song more thought though and realized I was being really unfair to it. It was really catchy and a bit campy, and it represented a period of music I’d probably unfairly discredited. This lead to some more research about The Zombies, which in-turn lead to this album and it’s story. I believe learning of this album one of the inspirations that lead me to start this project.

Unfortunately, the album was really difficult to find on streaming services and I really didn’t get a chance to listen to it until six months ago. At that point, I was blown away, it not only lives up to it the hype of being a wonderfully obscure album, It’s a bonafide masterpiece! It’s psychedelic soaked pop rock songs  of life/death, love/loss are everything Pet Sounds wanted to be. I catch myself sometimes stepping back from how much I adore this album. I think I’m over hyping it in my mind and then a chorus or new verse will kick in and I’m all in again… all that hype I have for it is worth it.

I’ve tended to stay away from doing track by track breakdowns of albums on this project, because it seems tedious (both as reader and writer), and I would like to break them down for this album since they are all so  amazing. Just listen to it though and know they are all perfect! Each song is my favorite when it’s playing (which is funny, because I put little lyrical pieces in the social media posts and I want to do “Friends of Mine” since it’s the last song I heard from it. I think I’ll do “Brief Candles” though).

Oddly enough, the song that sort of doesn’t fit with the rest is “Time of the Season”, in which (at the urging of organist Rod Argent) vocalist Colin Blunstone sings the song in a sort of flamboyant manner and has an extended organ solo, which is atypical of the other tight/to the point tracks.  It works though and instead of hating it, I think it’s now one of my favorite radio singles from the time. I mean it’s the archetypal Hippie song, it represents the time so well!

Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I there even a question…. go listen to it now and let me know what you think!

Rating (Out of 5): 5

Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5

Is this my first time hearing this album? No (29/138)

Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 79%


2 comments on “864. Odessey and Oracle – The Zombies

  1. drl1025
    November 7, 2014

    Your not alone, I also love this album and feel it is one of the best in the 60’s. Crazy to imagine what else they might have accomplished if they hadn’t broke up after this album!

    • davidvriezedaniels
      November 7, 2014

      Yes, taking that pop sensibility into the later ’60s and early seventies could have been amazing!

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