The Zombies released their second LP titled “Odessey and Oracle” on April 26, 19…

Written by on May 15, 2018


The Zombies released their second LP titled “Odessey and Oracle” on April 26, 1968. The album was recorded over a period of three months between June and August 1967, in sessions that took place at Abbey Road and Olympic Studios, in London. “Time of the Season” was released as a single and became a surprise hit in early 1969.

The following is from wikipedia:

Odessey and Oracle was recorded in 1967 after The Zombies signed a recording contact with the CBS label. They began work on the album in June 1967. Nine of the twelve songs were recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios. “Friends of Mine” was recorded on 1 June, “A Rose for Emily” was started on 1 June and completed on 10 July (take 5 reduction of take 3), “This Will Be Our Year” was recorded on 2 June (take 4) and 15 August (horn overdub), “Hung Up on a Dream” was recorded on 10-11 July (take 7 reduction of take 3), and “Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)” was recorded on 20 July (take 1). In late July, when Abbey Road was unavailable, The Zombies temporarily shifted base to Olympic Studios where they recorded “Beechwood Park”, “Maybe After He’s Gone” and “I Want Her, She Wants Me”. They returned to Abbey Road Studios in mid-August to record “Care of Cell 44” (take 5 reduction of take 4) and “Brief Candles” (take 10 reduction of take 9) on 16-17 August and “Time of the Season” (August, date unknown). The sessions ended in November and the final track to be recorded was “Changes” (take 5) on 7 November 1967.

Because the album was recorded to a tight budget and deadline, The Zombies worked quickly in the studio, having rehearsed rigorously beforehand. This meant that there would be no outtakes or unused songs recorded during the sessions. Cello and Mellotron parts were added to “A Rose for Emily” but discarded at the final mixing stage.

The album was recorded using a Studer four track machine, the same tape machine used on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Argent and Chris White mixed the album down into mono, but when they handed the master to CBS, they were informed that a stereo mix was required. The recording budget having been spent, Argent and White used their own money to pay for the stereo mix. One major problem arose when it came time to mix “This Will Be Our Year” into stereo. The Zombies’ original producer Ken Jones had dubbed live horn parts directly onto the mono mix. With the horns not having been recorded on the multi-track beforehand, a faked stereo mix had to be made of the mono master. The stereo mix was completed on 1 January 1968.

Morale within the band was at a low point at the end of the recording. Two singles, “Care of Cell 44” and “Friends of Mine”, had been unsuccessful, and the band had a declining demand for live appearances, so after a final gig in mid-December 1967, the band split up.

The album sleeve contains a short text written by keyboardist Argent quoting William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The misspelling of “odyssey” in the title was the result of a mistake by the designer of the LP cover, Terry Quirk (who was a friend of bassist Chris White). The band tried to cover this up at the time of release by claiming the misspelling was intentional.

Odessey and Oracle was released in the UK on April 26, 1968 and in the US in June. The single “Time of the Season” became a surprise hit in early 1969, and Columbia (in the US) re-released Odessey in February, with a different album cover that severely cropped the original artwork.

American CBS boss Clive Davis initially decided not to release the album (Columbia had released a single “Care Of Cell 44” on Columbia 4-44363 on 21 November 1967 to complete indifference). However, at the urging of staff producer Al Kooper, the US CBS/Columbia Records label was eventually persuaded to release the album on their small Date Records subsidiary label. Kooper had picked up a copy of the album during a trip to London and, when he returned to America and played the album, loved it and believed it contained three hit singles. CBS chose to release “Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)” as the first single in the US, feeling that the song’s anti-war theme would resonate with record-buyers due to the Vietnam War.[8] After its release, “Time of the Season” slowly gained popularity before finally hitting big on the US charts in 1969, by which time Rod Argent and Chris White were busy with their new band, Argent.

Because the band split before the album was released, they never performed any of the songs onstage. However, due to the surprise success of “Time of the Season”, several “fake” versions of The Zombies were created by unscrupulous promoters in 1969 to cash in on public demand to see and hear the band.

In March 2008, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the album’s release, the four surviving members performed Odessey and Oracle in its entirety for three shows at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. They were joined by Keith Airey, Darian Sahanaja and various friends. The Zombies were insistent on recreating the sound as authentically as possible, hence the extra singers, Sahanaja filling in keyboard and Mellotron parts via use of a Memotron, and Argent himself playing an original mellotron on a couple of numbers. Argent also tracked down a Victorian pump organ dating from 1896 so they could recreate White’s “Butcher’s Tale”, the original organ having long since been given away or sold by White.

The 40th anniversary concerts were sold out and critically acclaimed. One of the shows was recorded, filmed, and released on CD and DVD as Odessey and Oracle (Revisited). The reunion was so successful that they decided to reprise the show on a short four-date British tour in April 2009, playing in Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester, and ending on 25 April at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, which Argent stated would be the very last time the album would be performed on stage, at least until the songs are reverted to public domain. This ended up not being true as the surviving members once again reunited to perform the album in its entirety across America in 2015.

Happy 50th Birthday to the release of the LP “Odessey and Oracle”!!




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