Tuesday, December 8, 2015

10 Zombies Covers

After seeing the Zombies perform  "Odessey And Oracle"   awhile back I got to thinking about 60's covers of Zombies tracks which eventually became a challenge to compile. Never one to shirk a musical challenge I set about picking ten from around the world. I could have easily just done ten U.S. 60's garage covers of Zombies songs (where it seems the Zombies rated behind The Stones and Yardbirds for "most covered British Invasion tracks") but to keep it diverse I went with bands from all over the world. Enjoy!

1. THE MINDBENDERS-"I Want Her She Wants Me" U.K. Fontana TF 780 1966
Beating The Zombies version on "Odyessey & Oracle" to a release by nearly two years The Mindbenders version differs because it's more sparse then the Zombies with lead singer Eric Stewart's voice pushed to the front of the mix and far less keyboards than the later version.


2. ROBBIE PETERS-"She Does Everything For Me" Australia Festival FK-2156 1968
Released almost a year to date of the Zombies original (released Downunder as Decca Y7355 as the flip to their final Decca era 45 "Goin' Out Of My Head") this Australian cover is a pounding, frantic freakbeat treatment ramped up 100 mph that doesn't let up.


3. THE LIVE FIVE-"I Must Move" U.S. Piccadilly 236 1967
This obscure U.S. cover by a band from Salem, Oregon starts off sounding like something entirely different, indeed the middle and the organ solo bear little resemblance to the original so it's quite unique. The band sing "I must go" by accident once instead of "I must move" in one part leading me to wonder if they'd heard Phoenix, Arizona's Phil & The Frantics re-write "I Must Go" (Rabbit 1219 1966)?  High marks for originality in NOT doing a note for note version.


4. LOS CHIJUAS-"Te Quiero (I Love You)" Mexico LP track untitled LP Musart 1389 1968
Mexico's Los Chijuas are responsible for an untitled rare as hell LP that is so obscure collectors debate whether it's from 1968 or 1969 because no one seems to know.  Among the slew of Spanish language versions of contemporary covers on the album is a cover of "I Love You".  Presumably learned from the San Jose, California band People who scored a top 20 hit with a version in the States in '68 with a Santana-esque treatment as this version owes quite a bit to their version.


5. THE MASCOTS-"Woman" Sweden Decca F 44512 1966
Along with The Who The Zombies were huge in Scandinavia, Sweden in particular where a rare as hell untitled Decca LP was issued (Decca LK 4843) in 1966 where this track first saw it's Swedish release. The Mascots version actually surpasses the original in my book because it melds the original numbers beat punchiness with some great r&b style rave ups.


6. THE WEST FIVE-"If It Don't Work Out" U.K. HMV POP 1513 1966
Rod Argent wrote "But If It Don't Work Out" with Dusty Springfield in mind and she gladly accepted cutting a version which appeared on her second British long player "Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty" released in October 1965 (Phillips RBL 1002). In March '66 the beat group The West Five issued their version on a 45 which bears closer relation to the Zombies version thanks to it's strong drums and piano accents. In fact I daresay I prefer this to the original thanks to it's stronger feeling.


7. MARTY RHONE & THE SOUL AGENTS-"What More Can I Do" Australia Spin EK-1383 1966
Next to the United States Australia held the record for largest amount of Zombies 60's covers (oddly there were just three in the U.K., two versions of "But If It Don't Work Out" and an instrumental called "Shadows" issued by The Second City Sound). This version of "What More Can I Do" sounds much like an American garage 45 thanks to it's tough guitar, lo-fi production and combo organ.  The vocals are polished and clash with the gritty but wonderful racket the band kick up.


8. THE BUCKINGHAMS-"You Make Me Feel So Good" U.S. USA 860 1966
Covered in the States by at least half a dozen other bands (The Sonics, The Gentrys, Kenny & the Kasuals to name but a few) this version was the flip of The Buckingham's November 1966 #1 U.S. hit "Kind Of A Drag".  It sticks fairly close to The Zombies original but succeeds because the musical backing, like most U.S. Zombies covers is much more raw (and I like the guitar solo much more than the original).


9. OLA & THE JANGLERS-"She's Not There" Sweden Gazel C-159 1965
Sweden's Ola & The Janglers were the first Swedish 60's band to cover the Zombies.  I'm a big fan of Ola & The Janglers but I'll have to admit this version is pretty awful.  The backing is pretty spot on but the vocals sound so incredibly twee that it makes me wonder if they were doing a piss take ala Ian Whitman's "You Turn Me On"? Worth it only for the Door-sy organ solo.


10. THE SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN-"I Want You Back Again" Australia Columbia DO-4714 1966
The flip side of "A Wondrous Place" by Australia's Southern Gentlemen benefits from some fuzz vibrato effect which thoroughly negates the normally jazzy feel that this track (which oddly was never issued in the U.K. by The Zombies but saw a 45 issue in the USA, Canada, Australia etc) but it still swings.  Sadly there's no clip on YouTube at the moment.

***The author wishes to thank Alec Palao for his excellent "Zombiemania: pictures and stories of the fabulous ZOMBIES!" 1998 publication for it's discography assistance*****************************

1 comment:

Monkey said...

What a great post. Top marks sir.