ONE YEAR (50th Anniversary Edition)
Two Fifty Year Old Albums By a Fabulously Distinctive Voice Don’t Sound Like They’ve Aged a Day.
How old am I when albums that I owned in my teens are now being dusted down, polished up and re-released half a century later???
I did own this album first time around; buying it in a schoolyard transaction for (probably 75 new pence) from either Alistair McEwan or Graham Swan ….. I forget; but it was a long time ago!
I actually remember next to nothing about it; apart from having to re-sell it some years later to a Second Hand shop as part of my collection, when times got tough.
There’s a lot of ‘bang for your buck’ with this collection by the way; with the original album being here of course; but with the addition of a second LP, That Same Year, featuring Colin singing his own compositions, mostly acoustic, giving a deeper introspective look into that time in his life.
I presume that I was expecting some kind of post-Zombies sound; but the original Album is actually as far away from that kind of Pop Music as it got in 1971, although it was probably marketed towards the ‘Prog crowd’ to me, it errs on the melodious Rockier end of the spectrum and very much as cool as a lot of Indie gets these days.
My own sensibilities have moved on leaps and bound in the interim; and straight from the tragically beautiful and swoonsome, She Loves The Way I Love Her I now ‘get it’ ….. in 2021.
It’s been difficult to hear these songs and remember what I thought as a 15 year old ……. Smokey Day is almost Classical in tone with Blunstone multi-tracked to sound like Simon and Garfunkel ….. something we take for granted now; but back then was quite revolutionary …. but has certainly stood the test of time well.
Obviously there’s far too many songs here to discuss each and every one in detail; but on the original album the full string-backed version of Denny Laine’s Say You Don’t Mind, which became a huge chart hit is here in all its beautiful glory; but there are other gems like Her Song, the intimate Last Night Too Much Too Soon and exquisite I’ve Always Had You should not be missed at any cost.
Obviously in 1974 (when I bought this) I was far too young too understand the complexities in I Won’t Let You Down; but today ….. phew ….. it does; and is strangely my Favourite Song on Album #1.
As much as anything it’s impossible not to become engrossed with Blunstone’s distinctive world weary voice across both albums; especially if you shamefacedly play this as ‘background/chill out’ music; but please, please, please …… take the time, at least once to listen in solitude to Album #2; and you will be really and truly by his spellbinding songwriting and storytelling too.
This is very much ‘bedsit Singer-Songwriter’ territory; as we called it back then; but if any hipster kids are reading this review …. this is actually Lo-Fi Deluxe …. erring very much on the Deluxe too.
A couple of songs make a reappearance but now in a much starker and intimate fashion; which especially brings a whole new aura to Caroline Goodbye and Let Me Come Closer To You too; with both cutting deep into your heart.
As I said earlier the original album has aged gracefully and sounds almost perfect in 2021; but personally I’m absolutely smitten with the sparser creations on the second album; especially Are You Ready and You Really Where a Surprise which bookend some delightfully dark and articulate love songs, with I Won’t Let You Down and Sing Your Own Song (about Blunstone’s obituary appearing in Rolling Stone!) being well worthy of a mention in dispatches.
Yet; there’s a song here that has lain dormant for 50 years that has truly knocked me sideways. Regular readers know how much of a sucker I am for a love song, so I Really Do Love You is not just my Favourite Song on the second album; but across both and that includes the Hit Single Say You Don’t Mind.
For two albums recorded half a bloomin’ century ago, and possibly because of Colin Blunstone’s fabulously distinctive voice they don’t sound like they’ve aged a day.
Released November 5th 2021