Archive for the ‘Colin Blunstone’ Category

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band

Monday, April 11th, 2016

ZootWillie, Zoot Money, Decca

Listen: The Uncle Willie / Zoot Money ZootWillie.mp3

If you ever see the double LP, HARD UP HEROES, do yourself a favor, buy immediately. Released on UK Decca in ’74, the compilation is a proper collection of their deep 60′s catalog, mostly gritty blues leaning acts, and packaged beautifully. It was here that I first heard ‘The Uncle Willie’.

As with other tracks by The Graham Bond Organization, Alexis Korner, Them, The Birds and John Mayall, it epitomized what I imagined the seedy clubs of London’s Soho to sound like. I’ll never know, but bet I’m right.

Zoot Money already had his Big Roll Band rolling by then. For whatever reason, their moniker was left off the label copy, but their signature sound was sure there to be heard. Man, did I want to own this single from that first listen. Took me a few years, but I got it. Just as expected, the audio on the 7″ was even more authentic than the LP pressing, which in original mono, sounded pretty great already.

Years later, like thirty or so, a live cd from The Flamingo was issued. This band was clearly full and exciting live, as their rendition of ‘The Uncle Willie’ proved.

ZootBigTime, Zoot Money, Epic

Listen: Big Time Operator / Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band ZootBigTime.mp3

Pretty sure it was 2003, the Maximum Rhythm & Blues Tour, a yearly-ish event, played The Royal Albert Hall, and by sheer luck, I was there for work. Jackie Hyde arranged not only tickets, but passes to the after show. As if having just watched Manfred Mann, with both Paul Jones and Mike D’Abo doing their respective hits, Chris Farlowe, The Alan Price Set and Colin Blunstone wasn’t enough, the post show bit was a corucopia of their musician friends from the 60′s. I’m sure there were guys milling about, by now unrecognizable, that would’ve been great jukebox tab scores, but who could tell.

Not the case with Zoot Money. You couldn’t miss him. Jovial and very approachable, he laid a bunch of Marquee stories my way and had no idea ‘Big Time Operator’ came graced with a picture sleeve in the US.

ZootJukebox, Zoot Money, Jukebox Tab

What a great guy to talk with, and pretty good memory too. Wanting a jukebox tab, I didn’t know the B side to ‘The Uncle Willie’, but he did.

The Zombies

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Listen: I Love You / The Zombies

‘Whenever You’re Ready’, one of three non-hit followups to ‘Tell Her No’ in ’65, helped fuel a three year downward spiral for The Zombies, reaching only #110 on BILLBOARD’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart. I wonder what might have happened if it’s flip, the Valentine’s Day staple, ‘I Love You’, had been issued as the A side instead. Considering the song’s strength, and ultimate success when covered by People, providing the one hit wonders with a massive Top 40 placement, #14 during an eighteen week chart run in ’68, must bug the hell out of The Zombies to this day. Who wouldn’t have preferred they had taken home that prize instead?

Nothing has ever challenged Colin Blunstone’s voice. By ’69, The Zombies ODESSEY AND ORACLE, now rightfully regarded as one of the most important albums of all time, was the ultimate spotlight for his vocal power and thankfully gave them the multi platinum achievement they deserved. Justice for a change.

Tim Hardin

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Listen: Black Sheep Boy / Tim Hardin

Been meaning to post more double siders like this Tim Hardin one. Not official double A’s, but worthy of.

There’s literally not a bad song this guy ever wrote and recorded for Verve. The amount of other artists who have covered his stuff being proof, if plain old listening isn’t enough. Even the live album TIM HARDIN 3 LIVE IN CONCERT, a format I’m generally not fond of, is an exception in his case.

Listen: Misty Roses / Tim Hardin

And when it comes to covers, ‘Misty Roses’ has plenty. Hard to pick a favorite, but in front of a firing squad, I’d opt for Colin Blunstone’s.

Not to say the original isn’t a masterpiece.

The Zombies

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

zombiesfeelsogood, The Zombies, Parrot, Decca, The Nashville Teens, The Hullaballoos, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent

zombiesfeelsogoodb, The Zombies, Parrot, Decca, The Nashville Teens, The Hullaballoos, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent

Listen: You Make Me Feel So Good / The Zombies ZombiesGood.mp3

The fact that my blog is pushing the two year mark, and I’ve yet to write about The Zombies is pathetic. Thought about it often, so in case I croak, now I’ll rest easier.

Luckily much praise and appreciation, despite years of delay, has been afforded this band – to the point whereby they can tour the world consistently and get the admiration for ODESSEY AND ORACLE they deserve.

‘You Make Me Feel So Good’, the B side to ‘She’s Not There’, may indeed be the first seed planted that years later would spawn androgynous 70′s rock and 90′s Britpop, who can say. But the swish and swagger in Colin Blunstone’s delivery is not deniable. At the end of the day, it was basically his normal vocal styling and not too much needed to be read into it. There’s something about the combination of his voice and Rod Argent’s hollow electric keyboard tones that are as magical as Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek’s.

In ’65, The Zombies played The Brooklyn Fox Theater with The Nashville Teens and The Hullaballoos. Way too young to even know it was happening, my parents lucked out, because I would have tortured them into taking me.

zombiesindicationusa, The Zombies, Parrot, Decca, The Nashville Teens, The Hullaballoos, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent

zombiesindication,  The Zombies, Parrot, Decca, The Nashville Teens, The Hullaballoos, Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent

Listen: Indication / The Zombies ZombiesIndication.mp3

Of their several overlooked later Parrot / Decca singles, ‘Indication’ was my favorite, an indeed hard call to make. Subsequent anthologies and reissues all use the longer, stereo take with an extended keyboard solo at the end. This US mono 7″ version (streamed above), I think, works best.
ZombiesJukebox, Jukebox Tab, The Zombies, Colin Blunstone

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Colin Blunstone

The Mindbenders

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

mindbendersgroovyusa, The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana

Listen: A Groovy Kind Of Love / The Mindbenders

Listening to BBC2 a few weeks back, I was loving that ‘Days’ by The Kinks just normally got a spin. Immediately followed by The Mindbenders ‘A Groovy Kind Of Love’, I realized once again, England was always a natural habitat for me. Had I been a native, I could’ve simply turned on the radio in the car for musical bliss.

Despite ‘A Groovy Kind Of Love’ becoming a massive mainstream hit, reaching #2 in both the US and England, it still sounds freaking great every time. Talk about an intro. I was on the phone with Duane when the above Kinks/Mindbenders segue went down and had to take a breather for a brief moment as it happened.

 The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana, Lulu, To Sir With Love, Graham Gouldman

Listen: : Ashes To Ashes / The Mindbenders

Beginning with ‘Ashes To Ashes’, The Mindbenders’ success began an unfair linear downward erosion, with each single being played less and achieving lower and lower chart numbers each time, then no chart placings at all. The trajectory was softer in the UK, but more severe here, with this single being the big hit’s followup and doubling as The Mindbenders’ last US chart entry (#44. ’66). It worked out fine in the end for the fellows. Basically, they turned into 10cc.

mindbenderswantherusa,  The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana, Lulu, To Sir With Love, Graham Gouldman

Listen: : I Want Her, She Wants Me / The Mindbenders

Most obscure is their US pressing of ‘I Want Her, She Wants Me’, Rod Argent’s’ song from The Zombies’ ODDYSSEY AND ORACLE. They deserve an A+ for cover choice, this version being as equally necessary to a full, healthy life as the original. Admittedly, the band suffer from the lack of Colin Blunstone’s angelic voice on this one, a set back not only for The Mindbenders, as well, for every other musical combo till the end of time.

mindbendersharderusa,  The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana, Lulu, To Sir With Love, Graham Gouldman

Listen: : It’s Getting Harder All The Time / The Mindbenders

mindbendersoff,  The Mindbenders, Fontana, 10CC, Wayne Fontana, Lulu, To Sir With Love, Graham Gouldman

Listen: : Off And Running / The Mindbenders

They landed a two song technicolor spot in the classic TO SIR WITH LOVE film, performing ‘It’s Getting Harder All The Time’ and ‘Off And Running’. But despite the movie’s success, and character lead, Lulu, achieving her US #1 as a result, unbelievably it did The Mindbenders zero good in ressurecting their US presence.

Almost cookie cutter in beat group song perfection, Fontana US issued both tracks as a double A side. Promos occasionally turn up, but stock copies are very thin on the ground. Despite my constant search through the years for such a pressing, I only found one a recently, pictured above.

Colin Blunstone

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Misty Roses / Colin Blunstone

Listen: Misty Roses / Colin Blunstone ColinBlunstoneMisty.mp3

I still obsess about missing the US tour by The Zombies / The Nashville Teens / The Hullaballoos. I lived in a wrong city – one the tour did not play. Long before ODESSEY & ORACLE was recorded, Colin Blunstone established his greatness in my world. The very first Zombies single, ‘She’s Not There’ tells all. Every song that ever followed was instantly recognizable because of Colin Blunstone’s other worldly voice. In hindsight, Colin was – still is – one of the greatest interpretive singers of all time. Up there with Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield – name anybody and he will stand equal. If not for him, would Rod Argent’s great songs have succeeded as they did? Who else could do justice to ‘Time Of The Season’?

Mercifully, years later, Rod reconnected with the struggling Colin to spin their partnership together into a dazzling and deserved business – going as far as to reform The Zombies for ODESSEY & ORACLE in it’s entirety. Sharing some of that songwriting wealth to the voice that made it all valuable, Rod will now be allowed into heaven.

Once The Zombies dissolved, and Colin abandoned his three single career as Neil MacArthur, he was back to being Colin Blunstone. Signed to Epic in 1971, he began releasing a series of under appreciated albums. A few spawned the occasional hit in the UK but not here. His version of Tim Hardin’s ‘Misty Roses’ was issued as the US B side to ‘Caroline Goodbye’. How lucky for those owning it. Just listen.

In ’72, he toured The US. Epic made a bit of effort, and presented him at a college radio convention showcase I got to attend in Washington DC. It was stunning. No idea who was in the band, but his voice and persona alone filled the room. Magnificent.

Wonderful / Colin Blunstone

Listen: Wonderful / Colin Blunstone ColinBlunstoneWonderful.mp3

I heard ‘Wonderful’ on BBC’s Radio 1 just before leaving England to return home after an extended London stay in ’73. It was one of the last singles I bought before boarding the plane. The 7″ version clocks in at 3:20, proving the power of editing. I think it works much better than the five minute plus album track.