One Year album cover
One Year

Colin Blunstone


Though now rightly regarded as a classic, by the time The Zombies’ Odessey And Oracle was released in 1968 the band had already called it a day. Chief songwriters Rod Argent and Chris White formed Argent and — to pay the bills — singer Colin Blunstone quit singing altogether to get a job in insurance. Lured back into music by Cat Stevens producer Mike Hurst, Blunstone entered Olympic Studios in London and, with contributions from Ardent and White, recorded One Year between 1970 and 1971. The songs here chart a particularly heart-wrenching breakup and an Autumnal melancholy blows through an album which mixes blue eyed soulful ’70s rock (“Mary Won’t You Warm My Bed,” “She Loves The Way They Love Her”) with delicate chamber orchestration (“Misty Roses,” “Say You Don’t Mind,” the quivering strings and plucked harp of “Though You Are Far Away”). An elegant and deeply affecting record that was a major influence on Jeff Buckley among others, Blunstone’s sad choirboy vocals still give you goosebumps. Insurance’s loss was music’s gain.

Chris Catchpole

The debut solo album by the purest voice in The Zombies is so far from any specific genre that the only way you can place it is by triangulating against other ultra-individualists among his contemporaries. Most obviously the enduringly popular “Misty Roses” suggests the despairing introspection and Debussy-like strings of Nick Drake's finest songs. But before that, “She Loves the Way They Love Her” has already come in with the swagger of Bolan and Bowie at their most insouciantly vaudevillian, and elsewhere you can hear the lascivious yearning of Tim Buckley and Fred Neil at their most grooving, a bit of Steve Winwood’s prog-soul chops in Traffic, and even some of the impossibly deep sorrow of Scott Walker. But those are only reference points: Blunstone is 100% himself, completely comfortable in his own musical skin, and in fact as a singer and writer the equal of any of the above. Yes, that’s quite a claim, but this masterpiece justifies it and more.

Joe Muggs

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