Monday, September 17, 2007

They Walk Among Us

Hmm...somebody I know has a big birthday coming up. Who am I thinking of?

Oh my gosh -- it's me!!!!

Almost a decade in the making, Big Beat UK is very proud to finally announce the release of The Zombies' "Into The Afterlife". A natural sequel to our acclaimed best-selling box set "Zombie Heaven", this compilation is essentially "what they did next". The Zombies split in April 1968 upon the completion of their masterwork "Odessey & Oracle". Songwriters Rod Argent and Chris White busied themselves forming a production company, whilst the other band members, including lead singer Colin Blunstone, depressed by the lack of recognition for "Odessey", retreated back to 'civvy street'.

Throughout 1968 Chris and Rod demo'ed their new material with an embryonic version of what would become the group Argent. The best of these experimental recordings are included on "Into The Afterlife" and as with the Zombies, the songs and performances are better than most other groups' regular releases. Meanwhile, Colin Blunstone had been romanced back into the studio by producer Mike Hurst and, under the nom-de-disque of Neil MacArthur, made three excellent singles including a revamp of 'She's Not There' that hit the UK Top 40 in 1969. All nine sides recorded by Colin in this period are featured and include his fabulous interpretations of Nilsson's 'Without Her', Billy Vera's 'Don't Try To Explain' and the Buffalo Springfield's 'Hung Upside Down', the latter previously unreleased.

As a special bonus, the disc contains special mixes of Zombies material that showcase the orchestral overdubs that were added for their aborted RIP project, plus a rare vintage live cut. Over half of "Into The Afterlife's" contents is unissued, and indeed, ninety percent has never appeared on CD before. Add to that detailed notes that clarifies this murky yet fascinating period in the group's history and this becomes a worthy addition to the perfectly-formed discography of the Zombies.

This is, of course, wonderful news, the Zombies being as damn near close to power pop perfection as any sentient mammals have ever come. And if it's on Big Beat, I guarantee the album is first class all the way. (After "Zombie Heaven" came out, a publicist at Rhino -- theoretically, the world's premier reissue label -- was famously quoted as saying "I'm really glad it's on Big Beat -- we wouldn't have done it as well.")

Meanwhile, here's an MP3 from the set -- Colin Blunstone's
gorgeous cover version
of "Hung Upside Down." In a word -- wow.

Have I mentioned that I have a birthday coming up?

[h/t Eric C. Boardman]


Kid Charlemagne said...

Sounds fantastic. Horrible artwork though.

steve simels said...

Yeah, that is a pretty crappy cover.

And the packaging on "Zombie Heaven" was so classy....

Kid Charlemagne said...

Yes, "Zombie Heaven" is the standard to judge these box sets by.

Actually, I did something similar to this on the bookcover of my 6th grade math book!

TuneLovinJacket said...

My birthday is actually... tomorrow. May have to make this a self present. I think I had a notebook I decorated the same way with an Allman Bros 'Shroom theme.