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Baz Post subject: Butterfly
Bass Guitar


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Joined: 14 Aug 2005
Posts: 53
Location: Liverpool

From various interviews I have read over the years, its clear to me that some members of The Hollies are not too fond of this album. I can see their point in some ways for this was when Graham Nash "took over" and they went all psychedelic which they were clearly uncomfortable with as a unit. When one sees photos from this time, Tony, Bernie and Bobby look most ill at ease in their colourful garb and in the eyes of the public at the time, it was an ill fated move.

Abbey Road must have been an exciting place to be in in 1967. "Revolver" and "Sgt Pepper" had put the studio staff through their paces in exploring and coming up with new technology and sounds and it resulted in some classic albums such as "Pepper", Pink Floyds' "Piper", The Pretty Things "SF Sorrow" and The Zombies "Odessey and Oracle". All of these are now widely regarded as essential classics, but "Butterfly" rarely gets a look in. Yet, its up there with the best and features various ingredients that help make those albums so compelling.

It was the climax and pinnacle of the Clarke/Hicks/Nash writing partnership which had blossomed in full with wonderful results on "For Certain Because". Whilst the rest were in the pub, Graham Nash was getting up to various activities that weren't legal and it clearly shaped his writing and approach to the band at this time. "Evolution" I feel was a slight step backwards from "For Certain Because" being a more poppy album, but "Butterfly" sees our heroes plunging head first into the dizzy world of psychedelia with fascinating results.These three albums for me, form a trilogy and the first two certainly point the way and build us up nicely to "Butterfly".

The only track I'm not keen on here is "Pegasus". I don't dislike the song, but Tonys' vocal is very hesitant and ill at ease with the songs subject and the overall result is unconvincing and is one of the rare occasions where The Hollies got it totally wrong. Some may say the same about the more controversial tracks...

"Maker" sees Graham Nash go all Indian complete with Sitars, singing strange lyrics. Its totally free of harmonies, but listen to the orchestral arrangement how it weaves in and out creating a gorgeous lush atmosphere. Another harmony free track is the title track. This is absolutely gorgeous and a stunning close to the album. You can shut your eyes and literally see what Nash is singing about. The arrangement is brilliant and its a tour de force vocal too... spine chilling in its beauty.

"Try It" and "Elevated Observation?" are the two most trippiest tracks here interestingly with heavy involvement from Allan. "Try It" creates a bizarre mood with its backward tapes and weird noises and "Elevated" really goes for it with the notorious "ego is dead" section... thats actually one of my favourite moments, where the song steps up a gear and Graham does that rather manic vocal leading up to the refrain. Its all rather dreamy and hazy, yet convincing too.

The rest of the album is rich in wondrous moments and stunning harmony work and arrangements. At times its very elaborate but then again, it was 1967, yet throughout the quality of the Hollies work really shines. The songs go off into interesting places and use dynamics beautifully. Its a genuinely cohesive whole.

I have the EMI digipack CD featuring both mono and stereo mixes and comparing the two is quite interesting for there are quite a few noticeable differences - "Try It" for instance has more strange noises, different reverb effects are used (notably on the final verse of "Butterfly") yet interestingly I prefer the stereo mix. On this CD in mono, there are 3 to 4 second gaps between each track but on the stereo, each track immediately goes into the next like "Pepper" did.

This brings up an interesting point. Bobby has said that it wasn't till 1967 that stereo mixing became more convincing. "For Cetrtain" has a nice balanced stereo mix but "Evolution" is a horrible step back to the earlier binaural sound. Its well known that most bands at this time regarded mono as THE format and would work on the mono mixes and leave the stereo to the Abbey Road engineers. I could be wrong but judging by the way the stereo is edited and mixed, I've a feeling that the Hollies or maybe Graham Nash played a part in the stereo process. It is all widescreen and rather creative which certainly enhances the album as a whole.

"King Midas In Reverse" would not have been out of place on the album - indeed it was recorded during the sessions - yet in the UK, no singles were taken from it and this was the period when artistes began looking at the album as an artistic format all of its own. I think Graham Nash and possibly Allan Clarke, who I believe due to their childhood links was the most supportive and sympathetic member to Nash's whims viewed "Butterfly" as an album in its own right. There was no way at the time much of it could have been performed on stage and so its for that reason I view this as their own "Sgt Pepper". Like "Pepper", its very much a product of its time and stands up to being listened to as a whole, as opposed to being a patchwork of possible singles, covers and experiments like their earlier albums were.

I do think its a shame the album they began in 1968 was abandoned for the tracks we have from those sessions are magnificent songs and would have followed up "Butterfly" and progressed from it nicely. Instead they returned to out and out pop with "Jennifer Eccles" and began planning the ill-fated Dylan album and Graham Nash left. The Hollies continued to write and record much fabulous music afterwards, but never again did they create such an adventurous album like this one. Even if you dislike some of the material, one cannot deny that in terms of vocalising and musical arrangements and sheer spirit of adventure, "Butterfly" is a true underrated gem and should be in everyones record collection.
PostPosted:Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:46 am
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DistantLight Post subject:
Rythym Guitar


Rythym Guitar
Joined: 10 Apr 2004
Posts: 371
Location: Germany

I agree with most points you've made about this album.
They could have put more e-guitar on the album and one or two more rocking tunes to give the album a harder edge, like "Leave Me" or "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" from Evolution.

Almost all the songs are great and a lot of them feature surprising and extremely tuneful middle eights. Very good psychedelic album by the Hollies.
Also a nice album cover - the one with the brown butterfly, not the one with the group photo.


Best Songs: Try It, Postcard, Elevated Observations?

Worst Song: Pegasus (but I don't really mind that one)

Rating: a weak 10 out of 10
PostPosted:Thu Aug 25, 2005 17:32 pm

Last edited by DistantLight on Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Hope2005 Post subject:
Bass Guitar


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Joined: 24 Oct 2005
Posts: 98
Location: Rugby

Iv'e heard some of the tracks and feel that it wasn't really their style. But I suppose it felt that it was the right thing to do by doing their own 'Sgt Pepper' and it made sense for the others to go back to a more traditional arrangement.

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PostPosted:Mon Jan 09, 2006 18:51 pm
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James Towill Post subject:
Lead Guitar


Lead Guitar
Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 928
Location: Dunfermline, Fife

Yes, I suspect they were trying to do the stylish thing and emulate the Beatles, for example compare the Hollies Tomorrow When It Comes with the Beatles Tommorrow Never Knows...

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PostPosted:Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:57 am
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peterchecksfield Post subject:
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Joined: 20 Nov 2005
Posts: 153
Location: Margate, Kent (U.K.)

James Towill wrote:
Yes, I suspect they were trying to do the stylish thing and emulate the Beatles, for example compare the Hollies Tomorrow When It Comes with the Beatles Tommorrow Never Knows...


'Tomorrow When It Comes' isn't on 'Butterfly', & wasn't even released until 1988.

But I believe The Hollies were as convincing at Psychedelia as everyone else were. Some of Graham's songs were perhaps a little too whimsical, but songs like 'Try It' are incredible.

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PostPosted:Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:10 am
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James Towill Post subject:
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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Location: Dunfermline, Fife

peterchecksfield wrote:
'Tomorrow When It Comes' isn't on 'Butterfly', & wasn't even released until 1988.


Yes, I know it wasn't on Butterfly, but it was recorded around about 1967/68 and languished in the vaults until the release of the Rarities album.

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PostPosted:Tue Jan 10, 2006 16:24 pm
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peterchecksfield Post subject:
Acoustic Guitar


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Joined: 20 Nov 2005
Posts: 153
Location: Margate, Kent (U.K.)

James Towill wrote:
peterchecksfield wrote:
'Tomorrow When It Comes' isn't on 'Butterfly', & wasn't even released until 1988.


Yes, I know it wasn't on Butterfly, but it was recorded around about 1967/68 and languished in the vaults until the release of the Rarities album.


It was recorded in 1968 (after 'Butterfly' was released), so was presumably intended for the follow-up album. I wonder if this would've sounded as eclectic / directionless as The Beatles' white album? Many acts seemed a bit 'lost' in 1968 (though this seems to be the year The Rolling Stones finally found themselves).

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PostPosted:Tue Jan 10, 2006 16:38 pm
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James Towill Post subject:
Lead Guitar


Lead Guitar
Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 928
Location: Dunfermline, Fife

peterchecksfield wrote:
I wonder if this would've sounded as eclectic / directionless as The Beatles' white album?


There's that frequent comment that every double album would produce a truly excellent single album rather than being padded out with filler material.

Regarding the Butterfly album, I'd say that Postcard and the sublime Would You Believe are my favourite tracks, many of the others, especially Pegasus, and Charlie and Fred for two, being rather banale.[/i]

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PostPosted:Tue Jan 10, 2006 19:00 pm
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peterchecksfield Post subject:
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Joined: 20 Nov 2005
Posts: 153
Location: Margate, Kent (U.K.)

There's that frequent comment that every double album would produce a truly excellent single album rather than being padded out with filler material.

That's certainly the case with the white album. It undoubtedly contains some of their weakest material, as well as some of their best.

Regarding the Butterfly album, I'd say that [i]Postcard and the sublime Would You Believe are my favourite tracks, many of the others, especially Pegasus, and Charlie and Fred for two, being rather banale.[/i]

I've always really liked 'Charlie & Fred', but I do think 'Butterfly' wasn't as consistently strong as 'For Certain Because' & 'Evolution'.

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PostPosted:Tue Jan 10, 2006 19:05 pm
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Susie Hewett Post subject:
Lead Guitar


Lead Guitar
Joined: 17 Jan 2004
Posts: 652
Location: Australia

Hi All Exclamation

Butterfly isn't the best album the Hollies ever recorded but I like it anyway.

Best Songs - Pegusus, Would You Believe, Elevated Observations.

Worst Songs - Butterfly, Charlie And Fred, Maker.

Rating - 6 out of 10

Best Wishes

Susie

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PostPosted:Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:43 am
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SpartyScott Post subject:
Lead Guitar


Lead Guitar
Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 661
Location: Gahanna, Ohio USA

This is really a fun album, IMO.

Would You Believe is a Hollies classic, with a fantastic lead vocal and with the then-the-rage studio tricks, too (to say nothing of outstanding harmonies from Graham). It's hard to believe that Allan could produce such a weak cover of this song on his solo album. I guess that goes to show that the other Hollies had some contributions to this song, too.

Postcard is a pretty cool song. I like hearing it, and yes, I do like the songs with Graham as lead singer.

For the same reasons, I like Away Away Away, and it's always interesting to hear Allan singing background vocals.

I happen to think that the vocal performance by the group on Charlie & Fred is outstanding. I like this song a lot.

I'd say that this is in my top 5 of frequently played Hollies albums. I'm pretty sure, if I recall my magazine articles that I've read, that Allan loves the album and Bobby does not.
PostPosted:Thu Apr 27, 2006 17:28 pm
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benny-b-goode Post subject:
Rythym Guitar


Rythym Guitar
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 293

"Butterfly" is my favourite Hollies album. It still is the perfect album for a sunny summer's day.
I really love the album's mood and it is more a flower power album to me than The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" because it sounds so peaceful and 'away from civilization, back to nature' like.
Of course, there are great melodies on it. I especially like "Try It" with its cool bass line and psychedelic melody and mood. No question that the title track is extremely moving. Still, there is one question left. In the late 60s no singles were on the albums but why is "Dear Eloise" on "Butterfly" then ? Or did it become a single after the album's release ?

My favourite songs on "Butterfly" are: Dear Eloise, Maker (better Sitar song than "Within You, Without You" by The Beatles, I think), Would You Believe (also very moving with its harmonies), Postcard, Try it, Step Inside, Butterfly

I can't find any weak song on "Butterfly".
PostPosted:Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:25 am
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Dennis Post subject:
Lead Guitar


Lead Guitar
Joined: 17 Feb 2004
Posts: 773
Location: Los Angeles

benny-b-goode wrote:
"Butterfly" is my favourite Hollies album. It still is the perfect album for a sunny summer's day.
I really love the album's mood and it is more a flower power album to me than The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" because it sounds so peaceful and 'away from civilization, back to nature' like.
Of course, there are great melodies on it. I especially like "Try It" with its cool bass line and psychedelic melody and mood. No question that the title track is extremely moving. Still, there is one question left. In the late 60s no singles were on the albums but why is "Dear Eloise" on "Butterfly" then ? Or did it become a single after the album's release ?

My favourite songs on "Butterfly" are: Dear Eloise, Maker (better Sitar song than "Within You, Without You" by The Beatles, I think), Would You Believe (also very moving with its harmonies), Postcard, Try it, Step Inside, Butterfly

I can't find any weak song on "Butterfly".


"Dear Eloise" was released as a single in the US, Canada, Holland, and Germany, but not the UK.
PostPosted:Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:30 pm
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speedwaybloke Post subject:
Banjo


Banjo
Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 32
Location: Point Clare, NSW, Australia

This is my least favourite of the Clarke/Hicks/Nash albums. It seems a collection of mis-matched songs, a number of which have bizarre and/or banal lyrics. The album is interesting to listen to in the context of the band's complete output but on its own it just doesn't appeal.

I like Dear Eloise. I am sure that it was released as a single in New Zealand as I recall hearing it played by the local radio station. I have three copies of the song, two on greatest hit collectiuon plus Butterfly. I played them all recently to see if they all had the count in after Nash's opening verse. I am sure I have heard it without but all mine have it. The other songs I like are Would You Believe and Step Inside.

Baz made a reference to Nash doing his own thing while the rest of the group were at the pub. I heard a similar thing in a radio interview some time after Nash had left plus also remember seeing it in print about 20 years ago. One of the Hollies (I don't remember who) inferred that they would rather have a few pints then pull a bird or get into a fight than partake of the substances Nash was taking. Those alleged substances changed or affected what he wrote. This could have been a turning point in the Hollies style had Nash stayed. Is this indicated by what was recored but unreleased? I don't have any of it. Is there anyone out there who has heard enough of it to form an opinion?

For me this album is not as good as For Certain Because and Evolution.
PostPosted:Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:10 am
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