14 tracks; 41 minutes
Care of Cell 44, A Rose for Emily, Maybe After He's Gone, Beechwood Park,
Brief Candles, Hung Up on a Dream, Changes, I Want Her She Wants Me,
This Will Be Our Year, Butchers Tale (Western Front 1914), Friends of Mine,
Time of the Season, I'll Call You Mine, Imagine the Swan
Liner notes by Rod Argent, September 1987
There's an unusual story behind "ODESSEY AND ORACLE" (the mis-spelling was intentional!). In 1967, The Zombies, after only three professional years, had already decided to break up. Chris White and I, however, wanted to make a parting gesture. We wanted to make a very personal final album, controlling every step of the process from writing to final cut, from production of the music to production of the album cover. We knew the record would be released after the break-up of the group, so we didn't attempt to bow to the pressures of the market place. The songs were inspired by a variety of influences, but they were songs which came from our hearts. They were not the result of a producer or record company imposing their views of what a hit single might be. Some of the songs were romantic, others sparked by literature ("Butchers Tale," "Brief Candles") -- "A Rose for Emily" was inspired by a Faulkner short story. Chris reflected on his experience growing up near Beechwood Park in his song of that name. "Time of the Season" was actually influenced by Smokey Robinson's "The Tracks of My Tears." I misunderstood the line -- "If you look closer it's easy (to trace the tracks of my tears)" as "It's the close of the season." I thought it was a great phrase, and when I found out that's not what he sang, I wrote "Time of the Season." Our record label, CBS, wasn't very interested in the project and only offered a recording budget of 1,000 pounds (approximately $3,500). We recorded the album for that, but were only able to mix it in mono. CBS was very pleased at the result, and wanted a stereo mix, but wouldn't pay for it. So Chris and I took 100 pounds each of our songwriting royalties to pay for the mixes. In the U.S., the album almost didn't come out at all. CBS, at first, didn't think it was a commercial proposition and only a chance visit by Al Kooper to England at the time led to its release. He returned to the States raving to all and sundry about the record and finally changed the company's opinion. The Zombies had had several big hits in America, starting with a Number One "She's Not There" in 1964, but one cut from this album, "Time of the Season," went on to sell nearly two million copies, and became the biggest seller of them all. Listening to "ODESSEY AND ORACLE" after all these years, I still find it a pleasant experience. It is definitely a period piece, but remains unique -- it certainly doesn't sound like anything else that was around at the time, and in many ways not like The Zombies' other records. The album developed a life and a character of its own, and to my ears still sounds remarkably fresh.