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Music / Odessey and Oracle

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Odessey and Oracle is the second studio album by The Zombies, released in 1968. It is their final album released in The '60s as well as their final album to officially feature guitarist Paul Atkinson.

Sadly, by the time this album was released, The Zombies had already broken up, and upon release was virtually ignored commercially and critically. However, this album has become one of the great Vindicated by History stories. "Time of the Season" was released as a single in 1969, and it became a major hit as well as the band's Signature Song, along with "She's Not There" from 1964. Gradually, the album itself gained a cult following.



Side One

  1. "Care of Cell 44" (3:57)
  2. "A Rose for Emily" (2:19)
  3. "Maybe After He's Gone" (2:34)
  4. "Beechwood Park" (2:44)
  5. "Brief Candles" (3:30)
  6. "Hung Up on a Dream" (3:02)

Side Two

  1. "Changes" (3:20)
  2. "I Want Her, She Wants Me" (2:53)
  3. "This Will Be Our Year" (2:08)
  4. "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" (2:48)
  5. "Friends of Mine" (2:18)
  6. "Time of the Season" (3:34)

Principal Members:

  • Rod Argent - keyboard, organ, backing and lead vocals, piano, harpsichord, mellotron, harmonium
  • Paul Atkinson - guitar, vocals
  • Colin Blunstone - lead vocals
  • Hugh Grundy - drums, vocals
  • Chris White - bass, backing and lead vocals


It's the Time of the Season for troping:

  • Alliterative Title: "Odessey and Oracle", "Care of Cell 44"; "I Want Her, She Wants Me"
  • Break-Up Song: "Maybe After He's Gone", "Brief Candles" (which is about someone else's break-up).
  • Call-and-Response Song: "Time of the Season"
    What's your name? (What's your name?)
    Who's your daddy? (Who's your daddy?)
    (He rich?) Is he rich like me?
    Has he taken? (Has he taken?)
    Any time... (any time)
    To show you what you need to live.
  • Corrupt Church: "Butcher's Tale (Western Front, 1914)", set during World War I from the viewpoint of a soldier in the trenches.
    And the preacher in his pulpit
    Sermoned "Go and fight, do what is right"
    But he don't have to hear these guns
    And I bet he sleeps at night
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The psychedelic album cover.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The reunion concerts and reissue of this album meant that they finally received some of the recognition they deserved… forty years too late. The album now frequently appears in "greatest album" lists.
  • Falling Bass: Many of the songs are built on variations of this, giving the music a distinctly baroque feel. For example, on "Care of Cell 44" the verses alternate between a standard diatonic progression (I, V6, vi, V, IV, I6, ii, V) and a subversion (I, V6, ♭III4, ii7, V, V7). The chorus also uses a descending pattern played under the vi and V chords.
  • I Meant to Do That: The title for the album. On the album cover, "Odyssey" was accidentally misspelled "Odessey" by the cover artist. When they found out about it, the band chose to say that's the actual album title to avoid embarrassment.
  • Inherited Illiteracy Title: Originally the band said it was a pun combining the words "ode" and "odyssey". Later on they claimed the designer of the cover art made the misspelling and they just went with it.
  • In the Style of...: "Beechwood Park" (similar to Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale"), and "Hung Up on a Dream" (similar to The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" from Smiley Smile). In addition, "Time of the Season" is built on a bass riff similar to Ben E. King's "Stand by Me". "A Rose for Emily" is thematically similar to the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby".
  • List Song: "Friends of Mine", in which the band members name several people they claim to be their friends.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Care of Cell 44", an upbeat song whose lyrics are a love letter to a female ex-con.
  • Mood Whiplash: The ominous, doomy anti-war ballad "Butcher's Tale" stands out all the more because it comes directly after "This Will Be Our Year", one of the album's most optimistic songs, and before the joyous Eleven O'Clock Number "Friends of Mine".
  • New Sound Album: Unsurprisingly, as the previous album - Begin Here came out in 1965, during The British Invasion.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Care of Cell 44", "Changes", "Butcher's Tale (Western Front, 1914)".
  • Noodle Incident: What exactly did the love interest in "Care of Cell 44" do to end up in prison?
  • Nostalgia Filter: "Hung Up on a Dream" is nostalgic for the Summer of Love, which had occurred mere months before.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The harmonium on "Butcher's Tale" is meant to emulate this.
  • One-Word Title: "Changes".
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Time of the Season"
    And let me try with pleasured hands
    To take you in the sun to promised lands
    To show you every one
    It's the time of the season for loving
  • The Power of Love: "Time of the Season" declares it's the "time of the season for loving".
  • Rouge Angles of Satin/Tyop on the Cover: The spelling mistake in the title of this album. The band did at the time try to claim it was an intentional play on the word “odes”, but no: the guy who designed the cover just didn't know how to spell.note 
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Chris White sings lead vocals on "Butcher's Tale (Western Front, 1914)", as well as co-lead vocals on "Brief Candles". Rod Argent sings lead vocals on "I Want Her, She Wants Me", as well as co-lead vocals on "Brief Candles". The whole band joins in on "Changes".
  • Vocal Tag Team: On "Changes" and "Brief Candles".
  • War Is Hell/World War I: "Butcher's Tale (Western Front, 1914)", set during World War I.
    And the flies come down in Gommecourt,
    Thiepval, Mametz Wood, and French Verdun
    If the preacher, he could see those flies
    Wouldn't preach for the sound of guns