Thursday, September 16, 2021

Sights and Sounds: Colin Blunstone’s One Year Celebrated With 50th Anniversary Edition; The Zombies' livestream from Abbey Road Studios

Lots of Zombies-related updates to share. Before I provide the latest on the Zombies' much-anticipated livestream from Abbey Road Studios on Saturday, Sept. 18, here is the big announcement on the 50th Anniversary reissue of singer-songwriter Colin Blunstone's debut "One Year" coming Nov. 5, 2021...Robert Kinsler

Colin Blunstone’s One Year Celebrated With 50
th Anniversary Edition

Exclusive LA and NYC Shows Confirmed

Double LP of 1971 Solo Debut from The Zombies’ Vocalist Features 14 Previously Unreleased Recordings and Nine Unrecorded Compositions

Features Never-Before-Seen Photos and New Liner Notes Penned by Blunstone

 First-Ever Live Performances of Album in its Entirety Confirmed for November 2 (LA) and November 8 (NYC) with Joe Wong’s Nite Creatures

Available November 5 via Sundazed Music

Originally released in November 1971, One Year is the debut solo album from The Zombies’ frontman Colin Blunstone, recorded over the course of “one year” following the band’s break-up and the posthumous success of their single “Time of the Season.” 
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark album, Sundazed Music will release a double LP edition on November 5. The second LP, That Same Year, features Colin singing his own compositions, many accompanied solely by his acoustic guitar, and gives a deeper introspective look into that time in his life. The double LP is now available for pre-order and the previously unreleased track, “I Won’t Let You Down” from That Same Year, which features fellow Zombie Rod Argent on piano, is available today at all DSPs; listen here.

Coinciding with the anniversary release, Colin will join forces with composer Joe Wong (Russian DollThe Midnight GospelMaster of None) to recreate One Year live on stage in its entirety for the first time, with exclusive shows at Los Angeles’ Regent Theater (November 2) and New York City’s Gramercy Theatre (November 8). Tickets are now on sale here.

Wong’s solo debut, Nite Creatures, was released by Decca last year. The collection of baroque psychedelia received praise on both sides of the Atlantic from outlets such as MOJONPR, and Rolling Stone. Wong, who will open the show and then accompany Colin for One Year, has recruited a 20-piece ensemble of top musicians, featuring drummer Joey Waronker (Atoms for Peace, Roger Waters, Beck, REM), Mary Timony (Helium, Ex Hex), Crisanta Baker (Lo Moon), and a chamber orchestra including members of the Orchid Quartet (leading up to the Anniversary, the LA-based string quartet will also be releasing a series of One Year tribute videos, the first with guest vocals from The Voice finalist India Carney, debuting September 17).
Included in The Guardian’s “1,000 Albums to Hear Before You Die” list, One Year was primarily recorded in Abbey Road Studios, and co-produced by Colin’s former Zombies bandmates Rod Argent and Chris White. The album chronicles tales of love and heartbreak, split between upbeat rockers, with Colin backed by Rod’s newly-formed outfit Argent (Rod alongside Russ Ballard, Jim Rodford & Bob Henrit), and haunting ballads, accompanied by Chris Gunning’s delicate string arrangements. Highlights include the incredibly gorgeous bossa nova cover of Tim Hardin’s “Misty Roses,” which erupts into a Bartók-inspired string break, Colin’s own lament “Caroline Goodbye” with the Argent personnel accompanied by string arrangements from Rod Argent & Tony Visconti, along with the full string-backed version of Denny Laine’s “Say You Don’t Mind,” which became a chart hit in the UK.  

One Year has gone on to touch a diverse array of artists, ranging from Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, who called it “a gorgeous example of classic British pop music…very personal, very sophisticated in its sentiment” (NME), to Neil Tenant of Pet Shop Boys, who cites Colin as “the missing link between Dusty Springfield and Nick Drake” and hails One Year as “an incredibly romantic album, which is why it's been with me such a long time” (The Guardian). According to Steve Berkowitz, the late Jeff Buckley’s Executive Producer at Columbia Records, “Part of the reason that Grace has those beautiful and interesting strings, by Jeff Buckley and Karl Berger, is because Jeff was affected by having heard Colin Blunstone and the way they wrote the strings on that record, particularly on the incredibly beautiful ‘Caroline Goodbye.’”
For the Anniversary edition, Colin penned the liner notes that fill the gatefold jacket along with unseen photos from that year. The notes go track by track through One Year along with background on That Same Year. This period marked the point where Colin came into his own as a songwriter, having previously only contributed two songs to The Zombies. This is evidenced by the tracks on That Same Year, fourteen beautifully sparse demo versions of Colin’s compositions that were being considered for One Year, recently unearthed from co-producer Chris White’s archives. Colin accompanies himself on acoustic guitar, with help on some tracks from Rod Argent on piano and the late English singer-songwriter Duncan Browne on classical guitar.

Only three of these songs graced One Year, “Caroline Goodbye,” “Though You Are Far Away” and “Let Me Come Closer To You”, while “Too Much Too Soon Last Night” found life as a B-side, and “I’ve Always Had You” made his second album, Ennismore. Beyond these early versions of familiar songs you will find Colin’s singular voice and wit come through on nine completely unheard compositions that remained lost until now; including “Sing Your Own Song,” a protest after reading about his own death in Rolling Stone.
From the album’s liner notes, Blunstone says of One Year:
“Fifty years on, there’s a dream-like quality to my memories of One Year. Almost seeming like another lifetime, a time of innocence and naivety and a time when anything seemed possible. Chance and circumstance had brought Rod Argent, Chris White and myself together again for the first time since we'd played in The Zombies. This time Rod and Chris would be producing me as a solo artist, a step into the unknown, a moment of truth, a turning point in our lives.
The first tracks were recorded at Sound Technique Studios in Chelsea but we quickly moved on to the more familiar setting of Studio 3 in Abbey Road where we had previously recorded Odessey And Oracle and where we were once again guided through the recording process by the brilliant engineer Peter Vince.
Shortly after we had relocated to Abbey Road we had a moment of epiphany when we were introduced to the stunningly beautiful string arrangements of Chris Gunning as they went on to be the musical backbone of this project taking it to places rarely approached in contemporary music and giving it its own unique appeal. And now all the principal performers are assembled and as the music plays I start to drift and so many of the ghosts who hide inside the secrets of this album suddenly come alive and yesterday becomes today, again!
One Year Track Listing:
1. She Loves The Way They Love Her
2. Misty Roses
3. Smokey Day
4. Caroline Goodbye
5. Though You Are Far Away
6. Mary Won’t You Warm My Bed
7. Her Song
8. I Can’t Live Without You
9. Let Me Come Closer to You
10. Say You Don’t Mind
That Same Year Track Listing:
1. Are You Ready
2. I’ve Always Had You
3. Sing Your Own Song
4. Caroline Goodbye
5. I'd Like To Get To Know You Better
6. Though You Are Far Away
7. Too Much Too Soon Last Night 
8. I Wonder If You Know What You’ve Begun
9. I Won’t Let You Down
10. You Gave Me A Reason
11. I’m Coming Home
12. I Really Do Love You
13. Let Me Come Closer
14. You Really Were A Surprise 

About Colin Blunstone
Predominantly known as the frontman for The Zombies, Colin’s solo career began in earnest in 1971 with One Year on Epic Records, from which the hit single “Say You Don’t’ Mind” was taken. Two more albums on Epic followed, Ennismore and Journey, which spawned the hits, “I Don’t Believe In Miracles” and “How Can We Dare To Be Wrong.” This was followed by a spell living in California where he signed for Elton John’s label, Rocket Records and released three critically acclaimed albums, PlanesNever Even Thought and Late Nights in Soho.

Returning to the UK, Colin supplied the vocals for Dave Stewart’s hit version of “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted” followed by further hits with Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks Of My Tears” and The Alan Parsons Project’s “Old And Wise”. These tracks were followed by three further albums, Greatest HitsEcho Bridge and The Light Inside, before Colin decided the time was right to play live again where he was joined in 1999 by fellow Zombies founding member, Rod Argent. This led to two decades of touring and recording with the new incarnation of The Zombies, including their 2015 Billboard-charting album Still Got That Hunger and 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.  Colin still found the time to release and tour two solo albums, The Ghost of You and Me and On The Air Tonight, and is now back in the studio with The Zombies recording their planned 2022 release. 

About Sundazed Music 
Sundazed Music proudly presents original albums, expanded editions, unique compilations and more on vinyl and CD. The catalog is bulging with classic and overlooked blast from the 60s and 70s: a universe filled with the sounds of garage, pop, soul, surf, psych, country, and much more.

The Zombies' triumphant return to Abbey Road Studios on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021; Paul Weller among celebrity guests to join the band during the event!

The Zombies performing selection from 'Odessey & Oracle'
at the Saban Theatre in Southern California on Oct. 24, 2015.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Over the years, musical magic has been made in Abbey Road Studios.  Come Sept. 18, Zombie magic will take place within the hallowed walls of this music lover's shrine.  And here's the best part – you have the chance to be an ear and eyewitness to this highly anticipated musical event.
Abbey Road.  The very name conjures up a vision of the iconic photo on one of the Beatles' most famous album covers taken on a street outside the celebrated recording studio.  Ardent and devoted Zombie fans know all too well that about two years before that photo was taken, the Zombies recorded their masterpiece, Odessey and Oracle, in the same studio at Abbey Road where the Beatles had just completed their masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The late Terry Quirk, our much beloved album cover designer and artist extraordinaire, immortalized the occasion in one of his whimsical and "quirky" drawings.

It seems fitting that, once again, our favourite band, the Zombies, will be replicating a similar world-encompassing experience, and you're invited to be a part of it.

There's certain to be some music fans who were lucky enough to be around to remember the global satellite broadcast 54 years ago when The Beatles were in this very studio introducing the world to their new song called, "All You Need Is Love."  It was beyond phenomenal!  For those not born yet or too young to recall, picture a world without cellphones, the internet, social media and all of the high-tech perks we take for granted.  The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) decided to produce the world's first global television program which would link five continents simultaneously by a satellite orbiting the earth.  This was the most ambitious and historic television program of its time, and the broadcast culminated with the Beatles performing a new song "live" written specifically for this event.  The result was epic!  Friends and family of the Beatles packed the Abbey Road Studios to join in this momentous occasion.  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were there, along with Eric Clapton, Graham Nash and Keith Moon of The Who.  Jane Asher, Pattie Boyd and Marianne Faithful were among the famous bystanders amid a worldwide audience of a reportedly 400 million people. 

For those who have been patiently waiting for some good news on the pandemic front, we'd like to offer you the opportunity to get some life back into your life!  How long has it been since you were able to experience a concert?  Are you getting the urge to return to some form of normalcy in your mask-wearing, social distancing existence?  Your wish has been granted!  On September 18, the Zombies will be streaming a full concert from Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios in London for you and all of their fans on a global stage. This will be your opportunity to reconnect with the Zombies and be a part of musical history. 
While the cast may be slightly different from The Zombies who entered Abbey Road Studios in 1967, Colin, Rod, Steve, Tom and Søren will be there to perform a career spanning concert with many of our favourites intertwined with some exciting new material.  Yes, the "touring" Zombies have been putting these months of isolation to good use by writing and rehearsing new songs for a soon to be released new album.  
Joining the Zombies in the studio will be the Q Strings, an experienced and versatile string quartet based in London who have performed worldwide with such acclaimed artists as Brian Wilson, OneRepublic and Gilbert O'Sullivan.            
The concert will be followed by an online Q&A session with Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone, hosted by Rock Journalist David Fricke.  The band will also field questions from a virtual audience of surprise celebrities! This will be their first and only worldwide streaming event this year, and you're not going to want to miss it!
The smartest and most economical idea is to purchase a special package in advance which includes the concert, Q&A session, poster and T-shirt.  It makes sense to purchase in advance because the price will increase on the day of the event. Plus, if you happen to miss the live stream or will be travelling, you can watch the concert from anywhere in the world as many times as you'd like for two weeks after it broadcasts!
Sound like a plan?  We think so, and we look forward to you joining us on September 18 at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT/8pm BST!  Tickets can be purchased at here.

-Contributed by Nancy King

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