The Zombies: Begin Here



ON THIS DATE (47 YEARS AGO)

April 30, 1965 – The Zombies: Begin Here is released in the UK.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4.5/5
# allmusic 4/5
Begin Here is the UK debut album by The Zombies, released on this date in April, 1965. The American version (titled The Zombies) repeated many of the tracks from it, but, as was common in those days, deleted some cuts and substituted some others.
The British Invasion would not have been the same without those Pop-masters that were The Zombies. Begin Here was proof that The Zombies could swim in the same pool with the likes of The Beatles and The Kinks.
In the springtime of 1965, the most dynamic beat group to hit big on both sides of the Atlantic was The Beatles. However, the most dynamic beat group could very well have been the Zombies. As evidenced by their debut album Begin Here, the Zombies showed that they were much more than another English beat group configured into the constraining mold of The Beatles.
Their cover of George Gershwin Summertime does more than signal to the listener that this is a group that will not only throw you the unexpected choice of song covers, but that they will also play and sing them like nobody else can.
Where the Zombies strike gold is in their original songs. And although most everyone has heard She’s Not There with its magnificent keyboard solo and inventive stuttering drum beat, what truly lingers after listening to this record is the haunting aural landscape from songs like I Can’t Make Up My Mind and the truly remarkable I Remember When I Loved Her.
It’s a shame that the Zombies never hit bigger than they did. They certainly had the musical chops, they were great songwriters, and they could all sing very well together.
REVIEW
by Mark Deming, allmusic
The Zombies were one of the best and most original pop groups to rise from the British Beat scene of the early to mid-’60s, with striking harmonies, gorgeous melodies, a gifted and nuanced lead singer in Colin Blunstone, and a keyboard player, Rod Argent, who was just as comfortable with jazz and blues as he was with rock, and not afraid to blend his influences in the course of a song. Given all this, the Zombies’ first album, 1965’s Begin Here, is a bit of a disappointment; while it’s an inarguably fine set of songs, half of the tunes are covers, mostly of R&B standards, and while the band plays them with genuine passion and impressive skill, the truth is there were plenty of bands on the U.K. Beat scene who could play “I Got My Mojo Working,” “Road Runner,” or “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” at least as well if not better. It’s on the originals, written by Argent and guitarist Chris White, where one hears what really made the Zombies special. “She’s Not There” was an international hit, and the slightly ominous rumble of Argent’s electric piano, the emphatic lead vocal from Blunstone, and the melodic lift of the harmonies give it a sound not quite like anyone else around at the time, while “I Can’t Make Up My Mind” and “I Don’t Want to Know” are similarly well-crafted and thoughtful. “Woman” and “What More Can I Do” are hard-driving R&B numbers that allow the group’s individual personality to shine through (especially in Argent and White’s forceful instrumental work), and “I Remember When I Loved Her” is a moody and atmospheric piece that anticipates the tone of the group’s masterful final album Odessey and Oracle. Given the wealth of fine original tunes that the Zombies released on various non-LP singles and EPs during this period, it’s a shame that so much of Begin Here was given over to covers; it’s still a fine album and certainly better than what most of their peers had to offer in 1965, but what could have been an achievement on a par with the Kinks’ Face to Face or the Beatles’ Rubber Soul ended up being something quite good instead of an unqualified triumph.
TRACKS:
Side 1                                   
1              Road Runner (Bo Diddley) 2:06
2              Summertime (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward)                                                  3              I Can’t Make Up My Mind (Chris White) 2:37
4              The Way I Feel Inside  (Rod Argent) :28
5              Work ‘n’ Play (Ken Jones) 2:07
6              You Really Got A Hold On Me/Bring It On Home To Me  (Smokey Robinson/Sam Cooke)
7              She’s Not There (Argent) 2:20
                                               
Side 2                                   
8             Sticks And Stones (Henry Glover, Titus Turner) 2:56
9             Can’t Nobody Love You (Phillip Mitchell) 2:15
10           Woman (Argent) 2:25
11           I Don’t Want To Know (White) 2:07
12           I Remember When I Loved Her (Argent) 2:00
13           What More Can I Do (White) 1:38
14           I Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster, McKinley Morganfield)               
                                               
CD Bonus Tracks                                              
15           It’s Alright With Me (Argent)              
16           Sometimes (Argent) 2:05
17           Kind Of Girl (Argent)              
18           Tell Her No (Argent) 2:09
19           Sticks And Stones (Alternate Take) (Glover, Turner)
20           It’s Alright With Me (Alternate Take) (Argent)              
21           I Know She Will (Argent, White)               
22           I’ll Keep Trying (Argent)
             
 
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Filed under colin blunstone, rod argent, The Zombies

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