The end of The Zombies was a strange time, the band having broken up prior to their huge hit in the states with Time of the Season in 1969. Like many Brits, Colin Blunstone took awhile to follow-up that smash hit, taking a full year to record his first solo album One Year (and that is where the album title comes from). In between The Zombies and his first solo album, Colin had worked at an insurance company as well as releasing a few single under the name Neil MacArthur. All of this did not make One Year that far removed from the late Zombies sound, in fact One Year sounds like what The Zombies may have sounded like if they had stayed together in 1971. There's a sparse, elegant sound to Colin's first album, and really it is a masterpiece of the time period, holding up extremely well. 7 of the 10 songs are included on the excellent cd compilation Some Years: It's the Time of Colin Blunstone from 1995, which goes to show just how important and great this album is in the canon of Colin's solo work. If you have that compilation, you might not need One Year in your collection, though you will be missing out on the nice cardboard cd case with the original artwork nicely recreated.
The album starts with the most rocking tune on the album in the rollicking, Beatles meets Three Dog Night inspired She Loves the Way They Love Her. This song was also in fact recorded by The Zombies and can be heard in an early version on their tremendous boxset Zombie Heaven.
Colin tries his hand at the classic Tim Hardin song Misty Roses (covered by numerous people in the late '60s and early '70s), which truly sets the tone for this album. Softly strummed acoustic guitars, with Colin's lighter than air vocals, coupled with tastefully wonderful string arrangements. Misty Roses has a lounge feel to it, but also in Colin's hands there's a gorgeous middle bit of strings which sound like modern string quartets, stretching this rendition to the 5 minute mark.
One of the absolute highlights of Colin's solo career has to be the breathtaking Caroline Goodbye. Soulful, effervescent, and austere, Colin says goodbye with strummed guitars and soaring melodies. "No use pretending, I've known for a long time your love is ending.... Caroline Goodbye.....Caroline Goodbye."
Though You Are Far Away starts out like a folk rendition of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, but soon moves much further than that song into a delicate realm of beauty, thanks to strummed harps and Colin's sleepy voiced whisper.
It's interesting to hear Colin try his hand at the blue-eyed soul tune, Mary Won't You Warm My Bed, a Mike D'Abo composition from his solo album D'Abo from 1970. Let Me Come Closer to You is an amazing Colin original and Colin rounds out his first album with his big hit, the Denny Laine song Say You Don't Mind, which is basically Colin helped out by a string quartet. If only great songs like this could be coming out nowadays, this is a real amazing gem.