Sunday, August 7, 2011

And Yet There's No Good Reason Not To...

If You Don't Know the Story, You Should

(Major h/t to Peter's Power Pop, which everyone should read every day.)

The Zombies were a great English band in the early to mid-60s. They had a couple of huge hit singles ("She's Not There" and "Tell Her No") and were pushed heavily as a singles band by their label Decca. But when other singles failed to perform, the record company lost interest.

Meanwhile, the band wrote and recorded an entire album that Decca rejected because they couldn't hear a single.

Eventually Decca let them go and they signed to Columbia, where they recorded Odessey and Oracle, then broke up before it could be released. The record was a baroque masterpiece anchored by "Time of the Season," a song so amazing it seems like it must have always existed (perhaps buried deep in the earth's magma and waiting for the right tool to free it and allow it to travel over the world).

Despite the record's success, the band had no interest in regrouping, so several different groups of Zombies were recruited to tour the U.S. and Europe.

Fast-forward 43 years and Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Ben Mason has recorded covers of every song on that record (calling his work The Odessey Odyssey). Mason says he did it to improve his recording techniques and teach himself to play piano.

And while there's no good reason for anyone to re-record a classic album (even as a one-man band exercise)... there's no good reason not to either.

Mason's versions are faithful to the originals, but not so slavish that his personality gets lost.

You can read Ben's notes about the process of making this record.

Take a listen here:

I don't know much about Ben Mason, but I know if I ever make it out to Melbourne I wanna buy him a beer!

1 comment:

ben and natalie mason said...

hey alex, thanks for the kind words!
i have just released my version of odessey and oracle on limited edition vinyl and am about to put on a show performing the album from start to finish with a full band.
thanks again,