on December 12, 2004
This awesome box set is by far the easiest (and probably cheapest, as long as you have the money to drop all at once) way to get all of the Zombies' released material--and then some! You really have to hand it to Big Beat--the Zombies' catalogue (particularly the singles) has been repackaged & re-released time and time again almost since their breakup...but with Zombie Heaven, Big Beat delivers the Zombies' entire works on four CD's, all of which are filled nearly to the brim (a standard CD holds 80 minutes of sound, and all four programs here are in excess of 70). That's not all you get, however. Also included is an invaluable 68-page book with information on every track and a comprehensive history of the group, told mostly by the Zombies themselves.
Disc 1 - Begin Here and Singles
As the title suggests, this disc includes the Zombies' debut album, Begin Here, and most of their A- & B-sides that did not appear on any album (the remainder are on disc 2). Begin Here has been described as a "typical" album of its time, and while that's somewhat true, I believe there's more to it than that. The album does contain a couple lukewarm covers, but those are outweighed by such gems as "I Can't Make Up My Mind," their jazzy rendition of "Summertime," "I Remember When I Loved Her," and "I Don't Want To Know," which has a 12-string guitar intro with a sound that a certain folk-rock band would popularize a year later. As for the singles, there isn't a weak one in the bunch, though only two of them ("She's Not There" & "Tell Her No") were successful, which calls into question what the public was instead listening to at the time (well, okay, the Beatles)...even George Harrison said at the time that he couldn't understand why the Zombies weren't being more successful.
Disc 2 - Odessey & Oracle and The Lost Album
This is the best of the four discs because it contains the magical Odessey & Oracle album. It also has the tracks intended for the aborted R.I.P. project--six songs recorded in the late 60's and 5 more great ones which the Zombies recorded earlier in their career but never released (plus "I'll Call You Mine"), done up with overdubbed strings & vocals. And if you don't care for the overdubbed versions, Zombie Heaven gives you the freedom of choice and you can listen to the originals on disc 3!
Disc 3 - In The Studio / Rare & Unissued
The third disc is a bit of a hodgepodge. The songs range from ones that had been officially released in formats such as EP's but are extremely hard to find to demos of songs that went (regretfully) unreleased. There are also full-band demos of songs which were later released, which hurts the disc a little because these demos usually aren't too incredibly different from the finished versions, just understandably rawer and less slick. It's too bad there weren't original home demos of these songs in their infant state available--that would have been more interesting.
Disc 4 - Live On The BBC
Good "live" stuff. If you've ever heard a "BBC" album by any other artist, you know what you're getting here. Standout tracks include previously unreleased covers of "The Look Of Love" & "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" as well as an extended version of "What More Can I Do" and an organ-dominated "She's Not There." The disc ends with an interview where Rod & Chris talk about their future plans in music.
Again, this is the ultimate release for Zombies fans. The one & only drawback: there isn't more!
on January 21, 2005
A boxed set from a bunch of guys who only had 3 or 4 hit records at best? What could be on it? PUUULLLENTY. And is it any good? YOU BETCHA! 119 numbers from a 4 year period. These guys were PROLIFIC and just about the most hard lucked band of the Briish Invasion. Trouble with their work permits kept them from capitalizing on their fame here, when they hit right out of the box with SHE'S NOT THERE. Bad luck, bad management, trouble with unions did not stop these guys from plugging away. This set is like finding a treasure trove of GOOD British Invasion records you never heard before. Rave-ups, eerie introspective numbers (way before they were in vogue), and just plain wonderful pop songs permeate this fantastic sounding 4 disc set. That's info for the uninitiated. For those in the know, there's mono and rare stereo versions, overdubbed and pre-overdubbed versions, studio chatter and rehearsals, live at the BBC recordings, a massive 65 page booklet that goes through the band's history and track by track breakdown and commentary from the guys, a ton of photos, and just about everything this group ever recorded. Very,very few clunkers. Despite two timeless #1 hits (at the begining and end of their career) the Zombies need to be re-evaluated as one the top groups of the British Invasion. And this set is the proof.
on December 8, 1999
As with any box set, there's about a half disc's worth of material too much. But the stuff in this set that's good....is sooooooo unbelievably good. If attitude wasn't such an important trait for bands to have in the sixties, the Zombies could have been as popular as the Rolling Stones. Since they were basically a mom-friendly band, we're only left with an extremely underrated treasure of sixties pop music. The list of what's so wonderful about this music is simply too exhaustive to contain in a single review-"I'll Keep Trying", "Whenever You're Ready", "This Will Be Our Year", "If It Don't Work Out", "Sometimes" and on and on and on. "I'll Keep Trying" very well may be the first song that can ever be accused of being disgustingly catchy, and it wasn't even a single. This bands also-rans pack more punch in a three minute span than most bands entire careers are capable of. You simply will not find a greater collection of beautifully constructed, melodic-to-a-fault, choral pop music in the world than 'Zombie Heaven'. We should all thank the Zombies for finding just the right chord to play so many times. Writing great songs came naturally to these guys. It's as if McCartney was cloned as five nerdy-looking eggheads. This box set is an absolute necessity for any fan of melody and for anyone who's forgotten what a well-crafted song sounds like. If only they had been busted for drugs.....
on January 2, 2004
Although always enjoying the sound of the Zombies when heard on the radio I never bought any of their recordings until this set was released. By that time I was really anxious to get a copy of Zombie Heaven and ordered it as so as a USA seller had one. (Available here in US only as an import)
Zombie Heaven is comprised of four discs eeach of which handles a certain catagory (example: disc four is live/BBC recordings). Each disc runs a healthy 70+ minutes providing a near 5 hours of total playing time. Nearly, if not all of the Zombies' recorded material is included in this package.
First of all the package is first rate, attractive and clasy. Not a box per say but a long, tall, hardcover digipack. very nice.
The included booklet is full of info (and photos) giving a track by track rundown from start to finish.
While naturally some songs get repeated, but with alternative versions, I'm glad it's all included here. We also get blessed with a few early but excellent Argent cuts.
Perhaps it's best the group split when it did instead of later falling into (mid-70's) mediocrity.
One of the most appealing traits of the Zombies is the sensational three-part harmonies (not just backing vocals) they created. Not to pair one against the other, but I find Rod Argent's lead vocal contibutions equaly as appropriate as Colin's. But Colin is the man with those breathy, cool vocal chords that I often wished I possessed.
BTW- another of Colin's greatest and moving performances is on Alan Parsons Project album "Pyramid". Colin's contribution for the track "The Eagle will rise again" is to my ears one of the greatest (pop) vocal performances ever captured.
Zombie Heaven is prime example of that cool, crisp, crafty British 60's pop. The mixes are clean and uncluttered and you can realy hear the sound of the woody studio acoustics come alive prompted by these five young talents (as well as a caring producer's hand).
I have a vast music and cd collection of rock and beyond, but for some inexplicable reason Zombie Heaven, in both it's contents and package/presentation, remains the crown jewel of my collection.
on July 18, 2002
The Zombies' first album, with "She's Not There" and "Tell Her No" was excellent. "Odessey and Oracle" was even better, but it's only in retrospect that I realize how superior it was to almost anything else that was released during that period. And listening to it now, it's clear that it has held up well over the decades, not sounding dated at all. And the closer you listen the more you realize that these guys were really GOOD!
The Zombie Heaven box set delivers another BIG surprise. When they broke up, they still had enough unreleased material recorded to make up another album nearly as good as Odessey and Oracle. (These songs comprise "The Lost Album" in this collection). The Zombies left stuff behind that was better than nearly anything that other bands were selling. "She Loves the Way They Love Her", "Imagine the Swan", "Girl Help Me", "I Could Spend the Day" and "Smokey Day" rank with the best work the group ever produced, and if not for the release of this set, would have been all but forgotten. Likewise, "If It Don't Work Out", "Don't Cry For Me", "Walking in the Sun" and "I'll Call You Mine". These are first-rate tunes! The harmony is so good at times that it will make you weep! (She Loves the Way They Love Her). Colin Blunstone is, in fact, one of the great vocalists in pop music history, with an instantly recognizable voice.
Any fans of the band, "Argent" will love this collection, too. This collection is the "missing link" between A(rgent) and Z(ombies), since this was the transition period when keyboard wizard Rod Argent was forming "Argent", and he and bassist Chris White were solidifying their song-writing partnership. A few of the "Lost Tunes" like "Imagine the Swan" are more "Argent" tunes than Zombies, especially with Rod singing lead.
Although their early lyrics were nowhere nearly as sophisticated as their music, by the time "Odessey and Oracle" was released, they had bridged this gap. Tunes like "A Rose For Emily", "Brief Candles" and "Care of Cell 44" tell wonderful stories without resorting to cliches.
Disc one, "Begin Here and Singles" includes songs from their first album and all of the "A-side" and "B-side" of their singles released on 45's. I use the quotes because their "B-sides" were as good as the "A-sides", not just throw-away seconds. Good tune after good tune. A few, like "Road Runner" are dated, but the rest hold up amazingly well after 35 years or so, especially "Whenever You're Ready", "Leave Me Be", and "Indication". This was/is still really good music!
Don't let yourself miss out on the pleasure of this collection. It's worth every cent, because you'll discover many wonderful tunes that you may have never heard before, that you will find yourself humming at odd times, and you'll realize..."Hey, I really LIKE that song!"
on December 4, 2004
The Zombies were one of the most talented British bands of the 1960's. You could say that this band had it all: Two prolific songwriters, two outstanding singers and four great musicians.
This 4 CD box contains all their released material ( singles, EP's, albums etc. ) + a vast amount of rarities; demos, outtakes, alternate takes and live recordings.
Most of their original output is well-known, and the majority of it is simply outstanding.
They only released two albums in their time. Their first. "Begin Here" is an uneven mixture of rhythm'n blues standards and Zombies originals.
Their covers of songs like "I Got My Mojo" and "Roadrunner" I have always thought their weakest output. Their vocals simply do not fit the r&b style. But apart from these few exceptions, all their released material is first class.
Unfortunately their success in the singles charts was short-lived; even though they released great singles throughout their career. They experienced an unexpected come-back in 1969 with "Time of the Season", but this was at a time, when they had practically split-up.
Their second ( and last released ) album "Odessey and Oracle" is considered a rock-classic - which is very well-deserved.
A third album was planned for release, to cash in on the success of "Time of the Season", but this album called "R.I.P" was unfortunately never released. All tracks from this abandoned album are also included on "Zombie Heaven".
Try to programme your CD player and hear how it would have sounded. Personally I think it comes very close to the high level of "Odessey and Oracle"
CD 1 contains their first album and early singles.
CD 2 contains "Odessey and Oracle" and "R.I.P" + a few alternate version.
CD 3 is the rarities CD featuring Previously unreleased demos and various rare recordings.
CD 4 is all BBC live recordings, showcasing the Zombies as a terrific live-band.
The 64 pages booklet ( high-quality paper and print ) is sheer pleasure. The book simply has it all: Foreword by Tom Petty, biography, extensive discography, notes to all tracks, plenty of photos, reproductions of single-covers etc.
This CD box is simply highly recommendable.
on June 5, 2003
Possibly one of the most underrated British invasion groups from the 1960s.The group was actually a little more successful in the U.S. than the U.K.
They sounded every bit as smart as they probably were, never making it a secret they were british singers with those accents of theirs that sounded so right. Even when doing a R&B type song.
This boxset is the answer to anything you wanted to hear from them.Unreleased songs, as well as demos, radio spots, and of course the great "Odessy and Oracle" album.
Yes, it goes way beyond any greatest hits CD, but, for a good reason, on this you get everything, hearing all of what this underrated group does is important to Zombies fans. You've heard the hits already, now hear the left behind morsels and the hits too.
What a great boxset, with a booklet that tells you just about everything. If you can afford it, buy it.
on January 19, 2000
Mostly dismissed in their own time as rudimentary beatsers, the Zombies were actually far more inventive than their three hits bely, as Zombie Heaven proves beyond all doubt. There were few more capable popsmiths in their time than Rod Argent or Chris White, and no vocalist could match the sweetly chilling atmosphere conjured by Colin Blunstone's frosty pipes. Their fully-rendered melodicism surpassing that of even the Beatles (John Lennon wanted to produce them, by the way), they are rivalled only by Brian Wilson's contemporaneous work with the Beach Boys, and as with that group, digging deeper than the most obvious hits in the Zombies' catalogue can only be rewarding. Zombies Heaven collects all the group's single and LP tracks in one place, including the entirety of their 1968 pet sounds Odessy and Oracle, BBC sessions, plus dozens of cuts only rumored to exist previously. Few groups warrant the fanatical kind of devotion exemplified here, and were it anybody else this would be excessive, but the Zombies were simply too good, and the ridiculous proliferation of box sets devoted to undeserving two-hit schleps is almost justified by the sheer quality of this collection, if only it means that there is more to come from such woefully overlooked acts whose master tapes are currently languishing in record company vaults.
on January 2, 2000
The zombies have not been neglected on CD but if you are a true fan this is the only collection you should consider. It contains virtually everything the group recorded for both DECCA and CBS. The sound quality is superb, although I was initially disappointed that the DECCA material was not in stereo, having stereo mixes on other CDS. However, after reading the excellent booklet notes by Alec Palao, I accept that mono is the way these tracks should be heard. (the Decca material has since been issued in wonderful stereo on a 2CD collection & is also essential for fans). Listening to songs like "what more can I do" and "summertime" convinces me that the Zombies were one of the 60's best groups. "I remember when I loved her" sounds like it was recorded in a graveyard at midnight,with ethereal organ and tambourine which sends chills up my spine. There are so many great tracks, including many unreleased until now, that it is amazing that the group had so few hits.
The booklet is the best I have seen in a box set and should be a model for other compilers. All CBS tracks are stereo. Don't hesitate, buy it and you will be in ZOMBIE HEAVEN.
on January 29, 2000
When, I first bought this set I was a little nervous. I had only previously heard Time of the Season and She's not There and it was allot of money for this college student to spend. However, it was well worth it! This band was a true lost treasure for me! They were truly a band that tried to do everything they could do to make the typical three minute song sound fascinating! I was completely, under there spell from start to finish. The sound quality apart from the BBC disc (which is understandable considering the BBC wiped out allot of great performances) is stunning! The mono songs on disc one are suprisingly powerful and sound as fresh as any stereo mix. In fact the original mono versions are far better than the stereo versions on the "Singles A's and B's." Great time, effort, and care was placed into this collection and it shows! This is how a boxed set should be produced and add to that a great band and you have a box set taht is well worth getting! Get it and stay away from those inferior stereo mixes on other CD's. This box set has everything a Zombies fan could want. All of the CORRECT stereo and mono versions are used and it includes Odessey and Oracle plus the songs from the lost album. The book and pictures are also wonderfull and provide the listener with hours of great reading. This box set is truly heaven! There are so many great songs and it's been well stated,that this band if anything had too much talent! Sincerely, A HAPPY COLLEGE STUDENT!