Review of the concert by Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent
at The Stables Theatre, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, Bucks – March 28th 2001

On Wednesday, March 28th 2001, Chris and I had the pleasure of joining a sell-out audience to see Colin and Rod return to The Stables, Wavendon, featuring the same great musical line-up as in 2000.

Jim Rodford (signing autographs, right) was ace on bass and backing vocals.

Jim's son, Steve, (far left in the green sweatshirt) banged the drums magnificently and Mark Johns (left) sparkled on lead guitar.

Appropriately for Radio London fans, the set began with Colin's 1973 solo single, Wonderful! It was followed by Andorra, the second of two songs penned by ex-Zombie, Chris White, then came Tell Her No, which reached #6 in the US charts in Jan '65, but inexplicably, only hit #42 in the UK.

With the imminent launch of their new CD Out of the Shadows, the band delighted the audience with several World Premiere live performances of selected tracks. The Stables was an appropriate venue for this, as it was here, at a benefit concert, that Colin and Rod had performed together again for the first time in years. Rod, performing in aid of the Dankworths' rebuilding project, had 'gently persuaded' Colin to leave the audience and join the band to sing She's Not There. This proved so successful that our two 'men in black' decided to get together again on a more permanent basis.

Who's that weird-looking woman lurking behind Rod? Oh no! It's the Mad Stalker of Stoke Mandeville

Old favourites from Odessey and Oracle had been pruned from the set to make room for songs from the new album, but Colin still produced a magnificent bunch of roses. First, A Rose For Emily, which as far as Rod and Colin can recall, they never played live while the Zombies were still together. Then there was Tim Hardin's Misty Roses, from Colin's 1971 LP One Year, produced by Rod Argent and Chris White. The song is Rod's favourite recording of Colin's.

Helpless, which is the third track on Out of the Shadows, contains the line 'My hands are shaking and my knees are weak', which pretty much sums up the effect that Misty Roses has on me! Colin remarked that he'd recorded very few cover versions of songs, Jimmy Ruffin's What Becomes of the Brokenhearted being an obvious exception. Here's a suggestion from a knee-stricken fan: Colin, why don't you record Hardin's Hang On To A Dream? It's so perfect for your voice, that it could have been written for you!

One disappointing aspect of the new Stables theatre is the lack of space for standing up to dance without annoying other people by obscuring their view. However, I didn't need much inciting from Colin to 'wriggle about in my seat' to Indication, a Zombies single issued in 1966. Like so many other unfortunates, Indication failed to make the national charts. This was despite it appearing on Radio London as Tony Blackburn's climber on June 12th, entering the Big L Fab Forty on the 19th and remaining there for three weeks.
During the evening the eager crowd was treated to World Premiere performances of Home, Sanctuary, A Girl Like That (surprisingly, the first-ever song collaboration between Rod Argent and Russ Ballard) and Baby Don't You Cry No More, from the new CD.

Baby Don't You Cry No More had previously been recorded by ex-ABBA member, Frida, on her 1982 solo album, Something's Going On and by John Williams and Cleo Laine on their John Dankworth and Rod Argent-produced album, Let The Music Take You, in 1983.

Out of the Shadows was selling extremely well in the foyer and it was good to hear Rod say that tracks from it are being aired on BBC Radio Two. Having listened to this excellent CD several times, it's hard to choose a favourite track, but I think I would probably plump for Sanctuary, which was issued as a CD single. Let's hope it proves immensely successful and raises the profile of these highly-talented musicians, who despite the efforts of the likes of Kenny Everett, deserved, but failed to receive much higher recognition in the Sixties.

Track list:

A Girl Like That
Living in the Real World
Only the Rain
Baby Don't You Cry No More
Danger Zone
Love Can heal the Pain

Websites for Colin and Rod, which list the current tour dates, are at
www.colinblunstone.co.uk and www.rodargent.com

Thanks to Alan Field for Big L Fab Forty chart information

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