Pop focus: The Zombies

I had a chance to see Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone with the current Zombies lineup recently and, like many who have seen the group's tours in recent years, was knocked out.

The band opened with the urgent-sounding "I Love You," featuring a jaw-dropping vocal break that demonstrated that Blunstone hasn't lost a thing in all these years: That breathy, mysterious voice sounds pretty much like it did back in the mid 1960s on hits like "She's Not There" and "Tell Her No."

Argent's jazz and classical-informed keyboard chops are still very much intact, too. Here's a band that, apart from a few big British Invasion hits, was very much underrated in the 1960s showing just how great they were, and still are. Don't miss a chance to see them.

Along with their great singles, the Zombies are recognized now for one of the 1960s best LPs, the fabulous, overlooked, misspelled Odessey and Oracle. If you love Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's and Forever Changes, you need this one, too. I recall a review that described its sound as "The Beach Boys in Westminster Abbey." That just about nails it.

The best way to collect the group's 1960s recordings, including Odessey, incidentally, is the 4-disk set Zombie Heaven box set, which includes everything - rarities, demos, unreleased tunes and BBC Radio performances -- along with all the singles and album tracks. There's also a nice single disk of Odessey, sold separately, that includes both the mono and stereo mixes of the album.

And, it should be noted, the current incarnation of the group released a well-regarded new studio LP in 2011 along with a live album last year.

Here's a look at the Zombies then and now.