Colin Blunstone


Band members                              Related acts

- Colin Blunstone -- vocals, guitar

 

Colin Blunstone vocals; guitar Rod Argent piano; keyboards Russ Ballard guitar; piano; keyboards Steve Bingham bass guitar Jim Rodford bass guitar Robert Henrit drums Byron Lye Foot drums Jim Toomey drums Terry Poole drums; bass guitar Phil Dennys piano; keyboards Pete Wingfield piano; keyboards Derek Griffiths guitar Michael Snow guitar; keyboards

 

  supporting musicians (1974)

- Rod Argent -- keyboards

- John Beecham -- horns

- Michael Cotton -- horns

- Duncan Browne -- guitar

- Derek Griffiths -- guitar

- Richard Kerr - piano 

- The King's Singers -- backing vocals

- Nick Newell -- horns

- Terry Poole -- drums, percussion

- Jimmy Toomey -- drus, percussion

- Pete Wingfield -- piano

 

 

 

Keats

- Neil McArthur (aka Colin Blunstone)

- The Zombies

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  One Year

Company: Epic

Catalog: E-3094

Year: 1971

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original  textured cover

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

Say what you will about Colin Blunstone, but you'll have to admit that he has one of rock's most distinctive voices.  

 

Lots of folks are under the mistaken impression that 1971's "One Year" is Blunstone's post-Zombies solo debut.  It isn't.  With The Zombies calling it quits in 1968, Blunstone actually dropped out of music, taking a job with a London-based insurance company.  He reluctantly returned to music, cutting a series of three singles for Deram Records under the pseudonym 'Neil Macarthur'.  He even scored a UK hit with a remake of The Zombies' 'She's Not There'.  Those successes convinced Blunstone to embark on a true solo career.

 

By coincidence, Blunstone crossed paths with former Argent band mates Rod Argent and Chris White who had recently signed a recording and production deal with Epic.  The three quickly agreed on a collaboration, with the end result bring 1971's "One Year".  Co-produced by Argent and White the title was supposedly an autobiographical reference - the liner notes said "This album is the story of a year of mine from the July of 'She Loves the Way They Love Her' to the July of 'Say You Don't Mind', a time of searching and of beginning all over again."  It also apparently a reference to the long and painful recording sessions.  Musically the set's a wonderful showcase for Blunstone's instantly recognizable lighter than air voice.  It also serves as a showcase for Blunstone as a writer.  As a member of The Zombies few of his tunes were ever recorded, but here he's responsible for half of the material.  So what's it sound like?  Well anyone into The Zombies will love this album.  Propelled by Chris Gunning's pretty string arrangements tracks such as 'Smokey Days', 'Though You Are Far Away' and 'Her Song' are best described as baroque rock.  Imagine something by The Left Banke and you'll be in the right ballpark. Perhaps a bit fey for some listeners, those numbers are balanced out by a couple of nice rockers, including 'She Loves the Way They Love Her' and the blue-eyed soul-ish 'Mary WOn't Warm My Bed' (the former actually originally recorded by The Zombies and featuring the band Argent).  The result is probably Blunstone's most consistent and enjoyable album.  Epic also tapped the album for an American single: 'Say You Don't Mind' b/w 'You Are Far Away' (Epic catalog number 5-10868).  They should have picked 'Caroline Goodbye'.

 

"One Year" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) She Loves the Way They Love Her   (Rod Argent - Chris White) - 

2.) Misty Rose   (Tim Hardin) - 

3.) Smokey Days   (Rod Argent - Chris White) -     

4.) Caroline Goodbye   (Colin Blunstone) - 

5.) Though You Are Far Away   (Colin Blunstone) - 

 

(side 2)
1.) Mary Won't Warm My Bed   (Michael D'Abo) - 

2.) Her Song   (Rod Argent - Chris White) -     

3.) I Can't Live Without Her   (Colin Blunstone) - 

4.) Let Me Come Closer To You   (Colin Blunstone) - 

5.) Say You Don't Mind   (Denny Laine) - 

 

Blunstone has a small but interesting website at: www.colinblunstone.com

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Ennismore

Company: Epic

Catalog: 65278

Year: 1973

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressing; textured cover; owner's name stamped on back cover; silver promo sticker on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4533

Price: $20.00

 

 

Genre: pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Ennismore

Company: Epic

Catalog: KE-31994

Year: 1972

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: US pressing with official bio taped to the back

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4967

Price: $20.00

 

For a long time this is one of a handful of LPs that I'd wholeheartedly give a four star rating ...Revisiting it I'm a little less enthusiastic.  As I keep saying Colin Blunstone has one of those unique voices that's instantly recognizable.  The misgivings I have stem from the overwhelming number of sappy balladsfound on 1973's "Ennismore".  Like his debut this one was co-produced by former Zombie buddies Rod Argent and Chris White.  Blunstone's second solo effort served as a nice showcase for that voice.  Too my ears the sophomore set was considerably more commercial than his "One Year" solo debut.  Yeah, there were just too many sensitive ballads and Blunstone occasionally came off as fragile and pretentious (check out the single 'How Could We Dare To Be Wrong').  On the other hand, that was Blunstone's signature style and musical bread-and-butter so you knew what you were getting into when you bought the album.  Interestingly, in some respects the album almost qualified as an Argent LP. The entire Argent lineup, including Argent, Russ Ballard, Jim Rodford and Robert Henrit provide backing throughout. Additionally, Argent, Ballard and White contribute several songs to the album.  Accordingly, anyone familiar with Blunstone's Zombies catalog was liable to feel comfortable with this glistening mix of ballads and pop tunes.  Most of the set was worth hearing.  Okay 'Time's Running Out' was a lame and forgettable ballad.  Also, Blunstone was in fine form throughout.  Personal highlights include the Ballard-penned lead single 'I Don't Believe In Miracles' and the rockers 'I Want Some More' and the bouncy, biographical 'Andorra'.  Occasional reservations aside, it's a pretty and and consistent collection worth checking out.


"Ennismore" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Don't Believe In Miracles (Russ Ballard) - 3:05 rating: **** stars

One of the prettiest tunes Russ Ballad ever wrote and one of the sweetest solo tracks Blustone's ever recorded.  Ballard's version is good, but the addition of Blunstone's voice made it even better.  Shame it wasn't a major hit when Epic released it as a single.  Actually one of the funniest things I've read is someone explaining the song's relative failure - Christians believe in miracles so they didn't want to support a song counter to their belief.

- 1972's 'I Don't Believe In Miracles' b/w 'I've Always Had You' (Epic catalog number 5-10948)

 

YouTube has a January 2011 live in-the-studio performance of the song by a regrouped Zombies and it's amazing to hear how good Blunstone still sounds: The Zombies feat. Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent - I Don't Believe In Miracles - YouTube

2.) Quartet

     a.) Exclusively For Me (Colin Blunstone - Jones) - 2:30 rating: **** stars  

Opening with Argent's electric piano, the pretty ballad 'Exclusively For Me' showcased Blunstone's sophisticated, slightly jazzy delivery.  The tune has always reminded me of the kind of song bands like Everything But the Girl rode to successt.  Shame it was so short.

     b.) A Sign From Me To You (Colin Blunstone) -  3:56 rating: **** stars

The America-styled strumming acoustic guitars sounded familiar and what began as yet another beautiful ballad (yawn) blew away your expectations when it hit the poppy chorus and Ballard's guitar solo.  One of the album highlights.

     c.) Every Sound I Heard (Colin Blunstone - David Jones) -  2:26 rating: **** stars

Almost Baroque, the fragile instrumental section that opened 'Every Sound I Heard ' was lovely; Blunstone's measured, multi-track vocals merely icing on the cake.

     d.) How Wrong Can One Man Be (Colin Blunstone) -  2:00 rating: *** stars

Well the song title was clearly rhetorical ...  'How Wrong Can One Man Be' was interesting for introducing a touch of country into the mix.  Blunstone's performance has always reminded me a touch of an early Donovan song. 

3.) I Want Some More (Colin Blunstone) - 3:02

For folks who didn't believe Blunstone was capable of handling a real pop tune, check out the bouncy 'I Want Some More'.   The song was released as a US promotional single and in Holland where the "B" side was 'Pay Me Later'.  Naturally it sold well in Holland and vanished in the States.

- 1973's 'I Want Some More' b/w 'I Want Some More' (Epic catalog number 5-10981)

 

 

(side 2)
1.) Pay Me Later (Colin Blunstone - Phil Dennys) - 3:11 rating: *** stars

Another atypical upbeat country-tinged rocker, 'Pay Me Later' showcased some tasty Ballard dobro work and Argent on barrelhouse piano.  Perhaps a weird comparison, but on this one Blunstone's vocals have always reminded by of Marc Bolan.

2.) Andorra (Colin Blunstone) - 3:31 rating: **** stars

A wonderful bouncy, pop tune, 'Andorra' has always reminded me of something out of the Al Stewart catalog. The Spanish-styled lead guitar licks sounded like something Peter White would have added to one of Stewart's mini-historical epics.  Substitute sun, sex and sangria for a tale about the Napoleon's retreat from Moscow and you have 'Andorra'. The track was inspired by Chris White's playboy ways and a trip the pair took to Spain with one of White's conquests.  This was another released as a promotional single in the States and a stock 45 in Holland:

- 1973's 'Andorra' b/w 'Andorra' (Epic catalog number 5-11004)

YouTube has an interesting 1973 Dutch concert performance:Colin Blunstone Andorra PopGala'73 The Netherlands, Voorburg, De Vliegermolen March 10, 1973. - YouTube

YouTube also has a 2011 performance from a Zombies reunion tour.  The opening is interesting for Blunstone talking about the song's inspiration: The Zombies - Andorra @ The St Albans Arena 27/11/11 - YouTube

3.) I've Always Had You (Rod Argent - Chris White) - 3:29  rating: *** stars

Pretty acoustic ballad that again reminded me of a Donovan performance.

4.) Time's Running Out (Colin Blunstone) - 2:25  rating: ** stars

The album's one misstep, 'Time's Running Out' was a forgettable ballad.  Sure, it was pretty.  I liked the multi-tracked vocals  and Ballard's jazzy guitar licks were okay, but this one just didn't generate any energy.

5.) How Could We Dare To Be Wrong (Colin Blunstone - Phil Dennys) - 3:18 rating: ** stars

Yet another ballad, 'How Could We Dare To Be Wrong' was fine, showcasing Blunstone's whispery voice, but it was just a case of ballad overload.  I've always thought it was an odd choice for a single. Not something I needed to hear more than once or twice.

- 1972's 'How Could We Dare Be Wrong?' b/w 'Time's Running Out' (Epic catalog number EPC-1197

 

YouTube has a clip of Blunstone lip-synching the tune for a 1973 appearence on the BBC's Top of the Pops.  The creepy presenter is the infamous English DJ and television presenter Jimmy Saville: Colin Blunstone - How Can We Dare To Be Wrong - YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

In the States the album was released with different cover art, but the same track listing and running order (Epic catalog number KE-31994).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Journey

Company: Epic

Catalog: KE-32962

Year: 1974

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2391

Price: $15.00

 

I have no idea why, but The Zombies are one of my first musical memories ...  as such I've had a lifelong love for the band and anyone associated with them.   

 

Colin Blunstone's third studio album, 1974's "Journey" found him working former Zombies partner Chris White.  White handled most of the production chores on the album with Blunstone's former Argent partner Russ Ballard handled two songs.  "Journey" generally gets lukewarm  reviews from folks.   It's certainly inconsistent, packed with far too many ballads and a couple of throwaway tracks.  That said, Blunstone's voice remained in prime form throughout and with the exception of Pete Wingfield's Smooth Operation', and the music hall-ish 'Shadows of a Doubt' nothing here was truly awful.  Mind you, Blunstone had a voice that was near perfect for ballads and when done in moderation, nobody was close.  The opener 'Wonderful' and the Ballard-penned 'You Who Are Lonely were great examples of his facility with ballads.  It's just an album full of ballads, was a bit too much.   That made the isolated upbeat tunes a nice change of pace, providing some of the album highlights. 'Something Happens When You Touch Me' was one of the best pop songs he's ever recorded (and should have been a hit).  Dark and unsettling, 'This Is Your Captain Calling' managed to transpose a bouncy melody with some lyrics that will bother any frequently flyer.


"Journey" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Wonderful   (Rod Argent - Chris White) - 5:03   rating: **** stars

Say what you will about the man, but Blunstone certainly had one of those voices that was instantly recognizable.  True, it was occasionally wasted on sub-par material, but the martial 'Wonderful' wasn't one of those throwaway tracks.   With backing from The King's Singers, the ballad had a low-keyed, but charming flavor with a great refrain.  Probably one of the prettiest things he's ever written. Tapped as an European single, you had to wonder why it flopped,

- 1974's 'Wonderful' b/w 'Beginning' (Epic catalog number EPC 1775)

2.) Beginning   (Colin Blunstone) -1:21   rating: *** stars

While The King's Singers added a nice touch to 'Welcome' they began to wear out their welcome on the acapella 'Beginning'.  The faux-Gregorian feel was going to be an acquired taste for some listeners.

3.) Keep the Curtains Closed Today   (Colin Blunstone) - 3:16   rating: *** stars

Blunstone accompanied acoustic guitar, 'Keep the Curtains Closed Today' was a stark, fragile ballad.  personally I've always loved the way minimalist arrangement framed his voice (with The King's Singers there again), but the song's probably going to be a bit too fey for some folks.

4.) Weak for You   (Pete WIngfield) - 5:20   rating: *** stars

One of two song written by Pete Wingfield, Blunstone's never been known for upbeat, poppy material.  That made 'Weak for You' an atypical performance.  It wasn't bad, rather felt kind of forced and calculated - "if we add a horn chart here and a ittle guitar there we'll up the commercial quotient 15% ..."  I'm guessing that's why it was tapped as a Dutch single:

- 1974's 'Weak For You' b/w 'Keep the Curtains Closed Today' (Epic catalog number EPC 2132)

5.) Smooth Operation   (Pete Wingfield) - 4:05  rating: ** stars

'Smooth Operation' has always reminded me of something written for a stage show.  The melody was okay, but the arrangement was simply way too smooth and sophisticated for Blunstone's own good.   

6.) You Who Are Lonely   (Russ Ballard) - 3:55   rating: **** stars

I'll admit that Blunstone's heavy reliance on slower material can make an album start to drag.  The good news about the ballad 'You Who Are Lonely' stemmed from the fact Russ Ballard made sure the refrain was silky smooth and catchy.   Top-40 potential on this one.  

 

(side 2)
1.) It's Magical
   (Russ Ballard) - 3:25   rating: *** stars

The second Russ Ballard tune was another atypical rocker.  Not a great song, but at least it gave Blunstone a chance to show he could handle a more rock oriented tune.  Imagine a cross between The Alan Parsons Project, Pilot, and Uriah Heep (check out the way he screams the title ...)   The tune was tapped as the second  single:

- 1974's 'It's Magical' b/w 'Summersong' (Epic catalog number EPC 2413)

2.) Something Happens When You Touch Me   (Colin Blunstone - Richard Kerr) - 2:56   rating: **** stars

Easily the album's best tune, 'Something Happens When You Touch Me' was a near perfect slice of glistening mid-'70s pop.   A nice break from the ballads, anyone with an ear for melodic pop by the likes ofo Badfinger, Pilot, or The Raspberries was going to enjoy this one.  Should have been the single.   

3.) Setting Yourself Up   (Colin Blunstone) - 3:25  rating: *** stars

Almost a folk-rock tune.   Quaint and calming.   

4.) Shadows of a Doubt   (Colin Blunstone) - 3:45   rating: ** stars

A weird mix of '20s English Music Hall, Vaudeville, and pop, 'Shadows of a Doubt' with simply awful.  

5.) This Is Your Captain Calling   (RIchard Kerr - Gary Osborne) - 4:17   rating: **** stars

Hum, normally songs starting out with song effects rapidly go downhill from there.   That wasn't the case with 'This Is Your Captain Calling', but let me warn you that if you're a frequently flyer the lyrics on this one are probably going to cause you nightmares.   They certainly made me uncomfortable.    

 

 

 

Epic Records EPC 65287 

 

For hardcore fans, the original English release sported a different cover and slightly different track listing and sequence.  'Beware' and 'Brother Lover' were dropped from the US release, released replaced by 'You Who Are Lonely' and 'It's Magical'

 

"Journey" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Wonderful   (Rod Argent - Chris White) - 5:03  

2.) Beginning   (Colin Blunstone) -1:21   

3.) Keep the Curtains Closed Today   (Colin Blunstone) - 3:16   

4.) Weak for You   (Pete WIngfield) - 5:20  

5.) Beware   (Colin Blunstone) - 3:27

6.) Smooth Operation   (Pete Wingfield) - 4:05 

 

(side 2)

1.) This Is Your Captain Calling   (RIchard Kerr - Gary Osborne) - 4:17

2.) Something Happens When You Touch Me   (Colin Blunstone - Richard Kerr) - 2:56   r.   

3.) Setting Yourself Up   (Colin Blunstone) - 3:25  rating: *** stars

4.) Brother Lover   (Colin Blunstone - Richard Kerr) - 3:43

5.) Shadows of a Doubt   (Colin Blunstone) - 3:45 

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Never Even Thought

Company: Rocket

Catalog: BXL1-2903

Year: 1978

Country/State: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo stamp on back cover; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4576

Price: $15.00

 

 

Blunstone's fifth solo effort (only the fourth to see an American release), isn't exactly rare, but by the same token you don't run across copies every day.  

 

Does it matter?  Not really.  Having listened to this album a dozen times over the last year, as much as I'd like to say nice things about the collection, there just isn't much to recommend.  Mind you, Blunstone's voice remains instantly recognizable and one of rock's lost treasures, but here he wastes it on meaningless MOR pop.  Of the nine tracks (including seven originals), the poppish 'I'll Never Forget You', 'Lovelight' and ''Do Magnolia Do are all serviceable pop.  Nothing spectacularly good; nothing really hideous.  Blame part of it on producer Bill Schnee and part of it on Elton John, whose Rocket Records shipped Blunstone to LA where he recorded the album.  Guess I just expected more from such a talented guy.

 

"Never Even Thought" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I'll Never Forget You   (Colin Blunstone - Richard Kerr) - 

2.) Lovelight   (Colin Blunstone - Alan Phillips) - 

3.) Ain't It Funny   (Colin Blunstone - Richard Kerr) - 

4.) Who's That Knocking   (Colin Blunstone - Alan Phillips) - 

5.) Never Even Thought   (Murray Head) - 

 

(side 2)
1.) Touch and Go   (Colin Blunstone - Alan Phillips) - 

2.) You Are the Way for Me   (Colin Blunstone - Alan Phillips) - 

3.) Photograph   (Colin Blunstone - Alan Phillips) - 

4.) Do Magnolia Do   (Severin Browne) - 

 

 

 

 

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