Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Hollies - 60' complete (1963 - 1964) Part 1

The new series from JANCY
One of the best and most commercially successful pop/rock acts of the British Invasion, when the Hollies began recording in 1963, they relied heavily upon the R&B/early rock & roll covers that provided the staple diet for countless British bands of the time. They quickly developed a more distinctive style of three-part harmonies (heavily influenced by the Everly Brothers), ringing guitars, and hook-happy material, penned by both outside writers (especially Graham Gouldman) and themselves, eventually composing most of their repertoire on their own. The best early Hollies records evoke an infectious, melodic cheer similar to that of the early Beatles, although the Hollies were neither in their class (not an insult: nobody else was) nor demonstrated a ... Read More...
The Hollies - 60' complete part 1 1963 - 1964

Lp Stay With The Hollies
Their quickly recorded debut LP is uncannily close to Please Please Me: elementary but endlessly rehearsed instrumental backing, primitive production, Hicks' brief and basic guitar solos, incidental harmonica parts ("Candy Man"), clever harmonies, and Clarke's ear-shattering, from-the-gut lead vocals. But at this point Clarke and Nash were far behind Lennon and McCartney in the songwriting department, contributing just one original tune ("Little Lover," a pretty sharp Beatles-style rock song that makes everything else here sound outdated). So the disc is totally dominated by covers from the Beatles' repertoire: Chuck Berry ("I'm Talking Bout You"; "Memphis"); Little Richard ("Lucille"); twist music (the Contours' enthusiastic "Do You Love Me," written by Berry Gordy); rockabilly (Conway Twitty's Everly Brothers-like 12/8 ballad "It's Only Make Believe"; "Candy Man," a hit for Roy Orbison); R & B (Ray Charles' soaring 3/4 testimonial "What Kind Of Girl Are You"); and assorted rock 'n' roll standards ("Rockin' Robin") - they even manage to breathe some life into "Mr. Moonlight," an embarassment for the Fab Four a year later. The group's first two singles are omitted ("(Ain't That) Just Like Me"; "Searchin'"), so there's only one A-side (Maurice Williams' screechy "Stay," later a hit for both the Four Seasons and Jackson Browne). If none of this sounds too inviting, at least there aren't any treacly show tunes, and the vocals are so outrageously over-the-top that the record demands your attention. Produced by Ron Richards.
01 - I'm Talking About You
02 - Mr. Moonlight
03 - You Better Move On
04 - Lucille
05 - Baby Don't Cry
06 - Memphis
07 - Stay
08 - Rockin' Robin
09 - Watcha Gonna Do About It
10 - Do You Love Me
11 - It's Only Make Belive
12 - What Kind Of Girl Are You
13 - Little Lover
14 - Candy Man
LP In The Hollies Style
By now the group was a major commercial factor in England - they had three Top 10 hits in 1964 ("Just One Look"; "Here I Go Again"; "We're Through"), none of which are on this album. And just like the Beatles, their songwriting was rapidly improving: here the Ransford = Clarke-Hicks-Nash team wrote seven of thirteen songs. But the disc is uneven, and Richards' production is still very basic - there's some occasional percussion like cowbells and handclaps, but otherwise it's guitar-bass-drums-harmonica all the way. The major high points are their dreamy, mid-tempo "Time For Love," complete with metronomic, Motown-style rhythm guitar; "You'll Be Mine," with an elaborately descending melody that shows off Clarke's range; and Nash's first recorded solo vocal on "To You My Love," which sounds like one of Paul McCartney's contemporary, Mediterranean-flavored ballads. The rest of the originals are routine two-minute Beatles imitations ("Don't You Know," where they even cop Ringo's drumming style; "Come On Home"; "Set Me Free"), often nicely done and both melodically and harmonically sophisticated ("Please Don't Feel Too Bad"), but hardly memorable. The covers mostly work too, including the sweet, Everly Brothers-ish "I Thought Of You Last Night"; the tension-building R & B tune "What Kind Of Boy"; and the supercharged medley of "Nitty Gritty" and Etta James' 1962 hit "Something's Got A Hold On Me." But the primitive Merseybeat arrangement of Betty Everett's contemporary pop song "It's In Her [= His] Kiss" makes it sound instantly dated, and the energy level is slipping: although their cover of Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business" is as frantic as they get, it's not even as exciting as the Yardbirds' contemporary live version.
15 - Nitty Gritty / Something's Got A Hold On Me
16 - Don't You Know
17 - To You My Love
18 - It's In Her Kiss
19 - Time For Love
20 - What Kind Of Boy
21 - Too Much Monkey Business
22 - I Tought Of My Last Night
23 - Please Don't Feel So Bad
24 - Come On Home
25 - You'll Be Mine
26 - Set Me Free

27 - Aint That Just Like Me
28 - He What's Wrong With Me
29 - Searchin'
30 - Whole World Over

unreleased / version
31 - Now's The Time
32 - I Understand
33 - Poison Ivy (short)
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