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Colin Blunstone: Ennismore/Journey

Seductive vocal sorcery from one of the great British singers.

The remarkable recasting of The Zombies as a touring force in recent years has been a sword of two edges for their celestially-voiced lead singer.

Colin Blunstone’s work with the time-honoured tunesmiths has added new critical heft to his resumé, but so crammed is their datebook that his solo career has necessarily had a stop-start feel

to it. Blunstone continues to add sterling entries to that catalogue, as proved again on 2012’s On The Air Tonight. Meanwhile, this double reissue on a single CD by Floating World ensures that the admirable canon of his early solo years does not go overlooked.

Ennismore (1972), its title inspired by the flat in Ennismore Gardens, Kensington, that Blunstone shared with singer-songwriter Duncan Browne, was the follow-up to One

Year, his first album following the demise of the original Zombies . His credit was good, as that first outing had provided a Top 20 UK single, Say You Don’t Mind, and Blunstone was on the radio with the new record’s lead single, Russ Ballard’s exquisite I Don’t Believe In Miracles.

Because he and his bandmates were far too grown-up to have anything like an acrimonious split, both Ennismore and the 1974 follow-up Journey benefit enormously from the input of musical allies who understood Blunstone’s vocal subtlety. The first was produced by once and future Zombie Rod Argent and the group’s original bassist Chris White, who assumes all of those duties on the second. Argent plays keyboards on both.

With Blunstone himself co-writing all but two tracks, Ennismore contains such delicate delights as Exclusively ForMe and the string quartet-style sophistication of Every Sound I Heard. It also contains a fine second single, the minor chart entry How Could We Dare To Be Wrong, and the Hispanic flavours of Andorra, which still retains a place in Blunstone’s setlist today.

Journey, hard to find in recent years, makes a welcome return in this doublepack. It’s short of any headline singles, although the strident Wonderful _was a worthy 45 in its day and, again, endures in concert. Blunstone is not the only refined vocalist on the album, with backing from The King’s Singers. Not many frontmen from the first rock era could have pulled that off. Another high point is the deliciously romantic Let’s Keep The Curtains Closed Today, and Ballard opens his songbook again for You Who Are Lonely.

Just the other day, a young fan tweeted that Colin Blunstone’s is one of the voices that could get her pregnant. Such seductive power has survived these interim 40 years.

Paul Sexton
Paul Sexton

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.