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Dreaming Is Free: An imaginary Argent anthology

Here is one writer's anthology of a band that helped soundtrack the first half of the 1970s with a string of albums and hit singles that remain classics today.

By Dave Thompson

Fresh from the demise of The Zombies, Argent and current Zombies bassist Jim Rodford (who is also Rod’s cousin) formed a new band, Argent. Made firmly in the prog-rock mold, the band helped soundtrack the first half of the 1970s with a string of albums and hit singles that remain classics today … “Hold Your Head Up,” “God Gave Rock ’n’ Roll To You” and “It’s Only Money” included.


Argent, too, has reformed, as its eponymous leader recalls. “Last summer, we were asked to perform live on a festival, which we did. We got an hour set together, and it went very well. That was at High Voltage (a souvenir live album was released), and, on the back of that, they asked us to do a string of half a dozen dates at the end of last year, all the original four guys, and it was a lot of fun actually.”

It was, he insists, for fun only. “I don’t think we’ll be doing anything with new stuff ... the version of The Zombies that I’m in now with Colin, the band has evolved so well, and is so good now, that we definitely are trying to find a path ahead, as a band does the first time around, and its great to be in that creative position. With Argent, what we were doing was very much getting together for fun and looking at the old catalog, including a couple of songs that we never ever played onstage before, like ‘Be Free.’ That was the first time we ever played that, because my two favorite Argent albums are the first two, before the hits.”

While The Zombies’ catalog has been beautifully curated over the years, however, Argent’s is less well-cared for, with even a box set — de rigueur, it seems, for even the most insignificant act — seemingly a distant dream. “There is a box set called “Argent Original Classics,” but it is just the five Epic albums. The Zombies’ catalog is actually owned by us, so we have control over it, to a certain extent. Whereas Argent is owned by Sony, and in their terms we’re such small fish that nothing ever happens. So getting any communication has been almost totally impossible, so we have no input or control over it.”

What follows is just one fan’s vision of something a lot of fans are waiting for, but which Argent himself is unconvinced will happen: a box set that could be called “Argent Gave Rock ’n’ Roll To You,” but is probably better titled “I Don’t Believe In Miracles,” three discs drawn from material that is already in circulation (and perhaps a fourth of archive materials even Argent has forgotten).

Tracks 1-6 from the LP “Argent”:

  • “Liar”
  • “Be Free”
  • “Schoolgirl”
  • “Dance In The Smoke”
  • “Like Honey”
  • “Bring You Joy”

Tracks 7-9: BBC session September 1970:

  • “Where Are We Going Wrong”
  • “Rejoice”
  • “Aquarius”

Tracks 10, 11: BBC session January 1971:

  • “Sweet Mary”
  • “Stepping Stone”

Tracks 12, 13: BBC session June 1971:

  • “Time Of The Season”
  • “Uranus”

Tracks 14,15 from the LP “Ring of Hands:”

  • “Sweet Freedom”
  • “Celebration”

Track 16: U.K. single edit 1972:

  • “Hold Your Head Up” DISC TWO

Tracks 1, 2: BBC session September 1971:

  • Hold Your Head Up
  • Keep On Rollin’

Track 3: non LP b-side 1971:

  • Kingdom

Track 4: BBC In Concert 1971:

  • Be My Lover be My Friend

Track 5: non LP b-side 1972:

  • Closer To Heaven

Tracks 6, 7 from the LP “All Together Now:”

  • “I Am The Dance Of Ages”
  • “Tragedy”

Track 8: BBC session April 1972:

  • “Liar”

Tracks 9-14 from the LP “In Deep,” quad mix:

  • “God Gave Rock ’n’ Roll To You”
  • “Losing Hold”
  • “Rosie”
  • “Be Glad”
  • “Christmas For The Free”
  • “Candle On The River”

Track 1: BBC session March 1973:

  • “It’s Only Money” parts 1 & 2

Tracks 2, 3 from the LP “Nexus:”

  • “Thunder and Lightning”
  • “Once Around The Sun”

Tracks 4, 5: Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, July 1973:

  • “I Don’t Believe In Miracles” (live)
  • “The Fakir” (live)

Tracks 6-8 from the LP “Encore:”

  • “The Coming of Kahoutek” (live)
  • “Man For All Reasons” (live)
  • “Music From The Spheres” (live)

Track 9: BBC In Concert:

  • “Gonna Meet My Maker” (live)

Tracks 10,11 from the LP “Circus”:

  • “Highwire”
  • “Circus”

Tracks 12, 13 from the LP “Counterpoint”:

  • “Rock ’n’ Roll Show”
  • “It’s Fallen Off”

Track 14: High Voltage 2010:

  • “She’s Not There” (live)