The Second Disc

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It’s The Time Of The Season For The Zombies’ Lost Album “R.I.P.”

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Zombies - RIPIt’s the time for The Zombies – no, not the flesh-eating, reanimated monstrosities of The Walking Dead, but the British band famed for the hits “Time of the Season,” “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.” Varese Vintage has previously revisited the group’s catalogue including on this year’s Record Store Day vinyl reissue of the key 1968 album Odessey and Oracle. This week, the label has a real treat with the first-ever legitimate CD issue of The Zombies’ “lost” album, R.I.P., as it was intended to be released in the United States in 1969, sourced from the correct master mixes.

Though the band only recorded two proper studio albums (Begin Here in the U.K., refigured as The Zombies in the U.S., and Odessey and Oracle), enough material was left behind for Ace’s Big Beat label to curate a 4-CD complete box set, Zombie Heaven, in 1997. Yet even that monumental achievement left room for further titles to plug in the gaps. One such title was R.I.P., cheekily titled by the group members after they had broken up the band.

As reissue co-producer Andrew Sandoval explains in his typically excellent liner notes, most members of the band had moved into other arenas following the group’s dissolution in late 1967: lead singer Colin Blunstone in insurance, guitarist Paul Atkinson in computers; drummer Hugh Grundy in automobile sales. Rod Argent (lead vocals/piano/organ) and Chris White (bass) soldiered on, however. When Columbia Records’ U.S. subsidiary Date Records found itself with a hit on its hands thanks to the late-blooming “Time of the Season,” the label turned to Argent and White to craft a follow-up. Colin Blunstone, circa 1969, is quoted by Sandoval: “CBS wanted an album for America, so we used old tracks which had never been released. I sing on one side of the LP. We brought the tapes up-to-date by adding certain things and taking away others.” For the other side of the LP, Argent and White formed a band – including Jim Rodford, Russ Ballard and Bob Henrit – and recorded six new songs in late 1968 as The Zombies.

R.I.P. was turned in to Date in early 1969. The new Argent/White songs formed a sophisticated mini-suite of rich, melodic pop on the LP’s Side One, using the expansive, baroque sound of Odessey and Oracle as their starting point. An instrumental, “Conversation Off Floral Street,” expanded on the jazzy stylings that had elevated past songs including “Time of the Season.” The second side’s oldies, including the sublime, beat-ish “If It Don’t Work Out,” were fleshed out with added orchestral frills. But when the single releases of the evocative “Imagine the Swan” (from the Argent/White side) and “If It Don’t Work Out” failed to capitalize on the success of “Season,” Date shelved the album.

We pick up the story after the jump!  Plus: the complete track listing and order links!

Argent and White went on to form the band Argent with Rodford, Ballard and Henrit; Blunstone returned to recording for Columbia’s sister label Epic, and the other Zombies also found employment at Epic’s U.K. offices. But R.I.P. didn’t stay dead for long. Tracks leaked out on compilations including 1973’s double-LP set Time of the Zombies, and The Best and Rest of the Zombies. In 1997, Ace collected up all of the tracks for Zombie Heaven though they weren’t presented in album sequence.

Reissue producers Sandoval and Cary Mansfield are premiering R.I.P. in the form and order intended by album co-producers Argent and White. In addition to the original twelve stereo album tracks, this disc also includes four mono bonus tracks: the single mixes of “Imagine the Swan,” “If It Don’t Work Out” and “Don’t Cry For Me” – the latter which is new to CD – plus a never-before-released mono version of the haunting “Smokey Day.” (The mono single version of “Conversation Off Floral Street,” the flipside of “Imagine the Swan,” has not been included.) Steve Massie has remastered the album for this release. In addition to the liner notes, full discographical annotation and recording session information is also provided for every track.

The Zombies’ R.I.P. is available now from Varese Vintage and can be ordered at the links below!

The Zombies, R.I.P. (Varese Sarabande 302 067 266 8, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. She Loves the Way They Love Her
  2. Imagine the Swan
  3. Smokey Day
  4. Girl Help Me
  5. I Could Spend the Day
  6. Conversation Off Floral Street
  7. If It Don’t Work Out
  8. I’ll Call You Mine
  9. I’ll Keep Trying
  10. I Know She Will
  11. Don’t Cry For Me
  12. Walking in the Sun
  13. Imagine the Swan (Mono Single Mix)
  14. Smokey Day (Previously Unreleased Mono Mix)
  15. If It Don’t Work Out (Mono Single Mix)
  16. Don’t Cry for Me (Mono Single Mix)

Tracks 1, 3, 10 & 12 first released on Time of the Zombies, Epic 68262, 1973
Tracks 2, 6, 7 & 11 mixes first released on Time of the Zombies, Epic 68262, 1973
Tracks 4, 5 & 9 first released on The Best and Rest of the Zombies, Back-Trac 17703, 1984
Track 8 mix first released on Epic UK single 3380, 1973
Track 13 from Date single 1644, 1969
Track 14 previously unreleased
Tracks 15-16 from Date single 1648, 1969

Written by Joe Marchese

May 21, 2014 at 09:27

Posted in News, Reissues, The Zombies

4 Responses

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  1. Colin remade two of the side one tracks for his first solo album “One Year”, with production by Rod and Chris. She Loves The Way They Love Her sounds like a remix of the version included here, with additional overdubs, Smokey Day is a completely different strings arrangement. This will be a great companion piece to Ace’s Into The Afterlife – a fair amount of overlap, but nice nonetheless.


    May 21, 2014 at 10:19

  2. Though I own the Zombies Heaven box, I look forward to having these tracks grouped as the album they were ultimately intended for. Back in the day, the 2-LP Time of the Zombies hardly left the turntable and brightened my days in ’73-’74. Great work Andrew, Cary and the Band!

    Sean Anglum

    May 21, 2014 at 10:23

  3. Ok, I’ll bite. Why the **** wasn’t the mono single mix of Conversation Off Floral Street included? Was it simply a fold-down on the stereo mix? Is the mono single mix available anywhere else?

    David Olstein

    May 21, 2014 at 13:22

  4. Now, where is the vinyl version?!

    Stanley Saint

    May 21, 2014 at 16:43

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