Colin Blunstone (from the album One Year available on Legacy Recordings, That Same Year available on Sundazed Music/Modern Harmonic) (by Chris Wheatley)
Editors note: Chris Wheatley reviewed a UK release for the 50th anniversary. The US released That Same Year to compliment the One Year original release. Both albums are available on Spotify below.
Singer-songwriter Colin Blunstone will be familiar to many as the beautiful voice behind legendary 1960's band, The Zombies, whose hits included the ever-green “Time of the Season”, “She’s Not There”, and “Tell Her No”. Following the initial break-up of The Zombies in 1968, Colin Blunstone went on to enjoy a lengthy career, with a string of well-received solo albums and guest-contributor credits on records by such luminaries as Steve Hackett, Mike Batt, and Alan Parsons. The now re-united Zombies are still going strong, with a new album coming this year, but in this review, we are focusing on the 50th anniversary edition release of Blunstone's solo debut album, One Year. Colin Blunstone must have felt right at home during these sessions, back in Abbey Road studios with former Zombies (producer) Chris White and (keyboardist) Rod Argent. This special edition contains the original album plus fourteen unearthed recordings, nine of which are never-before heard tracks, including three long-lest demos which were miraculously discovered in an attic.
Unsurprisingly, fans of The Zombies will find themselves in familiar territory here as we kick off with the beautiful, jangling pop of “She Loves the Way They Love Her”. The playing here is wonderfully light and easy, and a potent reminder that The Zombies were always great musicians. Follower, “Misty Roses”, written by Tim Hardin, is an acoustic work of dreamy wonder. Colin Blunstone has the perfect voice for this sort of whimsical material – sensitive and delicate without ever resorting to cliched sentimentality. “Caroline Goodbye” floats past on clouds of guitar and softly swinging drums. The strength of One Year resides in the quality of its songs. Four of these are written by Blunstone himself, three more by Rod Argent/Chris White (plus the aforementioned “Misty Roses”). Manfred Mann vocalist Mike d'Abo contributes “Mary Won't You Warm My Bed”, one of the rockier numbers here, a nicely soaring, wonderfully orchestrated piece. Dennie Laine's (“Go Now!”-era of The Moody Blues) “Say You Don't Mind” will indeed remind you of Days Of Future Passed – an effervescent Chamber Pop composition which flows and flutters to a satisfying conclusion.
Colin Blunstone's personal recollections are fascinating…‘fifty years on, there’s a dream like quality to my memories of One Year. 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. We had a moment, an epiphany, when we were introduced to the stunningly beautiful string arrangements of Chris (White)’. These string arrangements, which run throughout the album, certainly account for much of the lasting charm of One Year, but the skill of the individual players shouldn't be overlooked, nor so their obvious bond and, of course, Blunstone's unique voice, which surely must be counted as one of the best in the history of pop.
The extra tracks (That Same Year) are no throwaway. Whilst missing the exquisite strings of One Year, the song writing quality is absolutely on a par, and the tracks themselves serve as a perfect complement to the album, in both tone and feel. There isn't a better way to end this review than with more words from Colin Blunstone himself, ‘...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!’. (by Chris Wheatley)
Listen and buy the music of Colin Blunstone One Year from AMAZON
Listen and buy the music of Colin Blunstone That Same Year from AMAZON
Please visit the Colin Blunstone website for more information