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DistantLight Post subject: Hollies Sing Hollies
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Joined: 10 Apr 2004
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Location: Germany

I've got mixed feelings about this album! On the one hand there are lots of songs that I like and which are very good but on the other hand it's slightly weak and dated (even for 1969) in comparison to other albums that came out the same year or even their own singles like He Ain't Heavy... . Just compare it to Abbey Road from the Beatles or Tommy from The Who or Arthur from the Kinks, or from Elvis in Memphis I could name a few others but I think you get my drift. On this one they sound just like they were one or two steps behind their competitors. The sound is slightly better than on the Hollies Sing Dylan album from the same year but lightyears away from the sound that for example the Beatles had, and they both recorded in the same studio!
But to the good sides: one major complaint I have against Hollies Sing Dylan is that there is too less (e-)guitar. Here Mr. Hicks addet a lot more which really makes the songs sound stronger and bigger. For example on the opening Sylvester/Clarke tune Why Didn't You Believe he plays some loud destorted guitar chords which really suit the song and give it a lot more power. Other rocking moments are Please Let Me Please and Do You Believe In Love which are both good songs.
They try their hands at country two times: one very good tune written by Tony Hicks, Don't Give Up Easily with very strong drumming by Bobby Elliot and one failed attempt, the lame Please Sign Your Letters. Apart from the opener the other two major highlights are the two Clarke penned ballads Goodybye Tommorow with fantastic lead guitar lines by Tony and My Life Is Over With You, which is interpreted by a lot of people as a song about his (broken) friendship with Graham Nash.
From the songwriting this album is very Clarke dominated. He gets in 4 solo numbers, 4 together with Terry Sylvester, two with Hicks and Sylvester and one with Hicks. Bernie Calvert gets his first writing credit with his piano based gentle instrumental (that rhymes!!!) Reflections Of A Long Time Past (on my CD it's called ...Long Time... and not ...Time Long...).
Terry Sylvester sings the slow ballad Look At Life. Then we have the first of some anti war songs which followed on the next few albums, the folksy Soldiers Dilemma. The medley Marigold/Gloria Swansong is also good, especially the 2nd part with a really gracefull melody.
OK... and now to the song that I've waited to describe until now: You Love 'Cos You Like It! Man is this one horrible!!! The song itself is as bad as it gets but they've chosen a man named Alan Tew to write a flute (? or what is this terrible sounding instrument) arrangement that makes this horrible piece of music even more ugly than it already was, which is a very hard task but this guy succeds! In another thread I said that this song makes me want to jump out of the window and smash a TV set! And yes! Everytime I hear it it's really hard to calm down just relax and take it easy! I always hope that nobody enters my room when I listen to that one because I'm afraid that I could shout at him or do even more...
A good idea would be skipping that song when I listen to this album but I think that it's so bad that it deserves playing. And it works to just remind me how good the other songs of the Hollies are! I'm glad that they didn't record another one that sounds so bad!
(aah... now I'm feeling better! I just had to write this)

Best songs: Why Didn't You Believe, My Life Is Over With You, Goodbye Tommorow

Worst song: Please Sign Your Letters (it's really bad), You Love 'Cos You Like It (...)

Rating: For a 6 there are too many good songs on it but I can't give it more than a 7 out of 10.

(Just because of You Love 'Cos You Like It it would have deserved a 1 but I'm nice today!)
PostPosted:Fri Oct 01, 2004 14:17 pm
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James Towill Post subject:
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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You Love 'Cos You Like It and Do You Believe in Love, together with Cos You Like To Love Me are a hattrick of own goals and three of the worst tracks I have ever heard from a band of the calibre of The Hollies. Dreadful. I can just picture a promotional film in 1969 with a starry eyed, shin-length skirted pony-tailed girl looking into the eyes of a 6ft army officer and this pap playing in the background. Guff.

Then they did Heavy and Bottom From The Top and the world was a better place again.

Incidentally, I really like HSH, apart from the cover Shocked and the two tracks from it mentioned above. When the songs were good, boy were they good. When they were poor....
PostPosted:Sun Oct 03, 2004 18:08 pm
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Anthony Post subject:
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Hi James,
I don't mind the Album cover. There are far worse ones out there, Confessions and Buddy Holly, to name a few.

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PostPosted:Mon Oct 04, 2004 21:57 pm
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James Towill Post subject:
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
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I don't actually mind the Buddy Holly cover. The Moving Finger cover is *far* superior to the COTM one - the fon't on the latter just looks so tacky.
PostPosted:Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:52 pm
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speedwaybloke Post subject: HSH Album Review
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Joined: 12 Dec 2005
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Location: Point Clare, NSW, Australia

Hollies Sing Hollies
After stalling with Sing Dylan the Hollies kick started the Sylvester era with a generally good album. With changes in personnel there were also changes in their sound and the style of the songs.

“Why Didn’t You Believe” is a good sounding song with a gospel/rock feeling about it. I wonder what the motivation behind its creation was. I particularly like the quickening tempo at the end. The next song “Don’t Give Up Easily” has a great beat and vocals. “Look At Life” is the blandest song on the album and should, in my opinion, have been dropped.

I feel the Hollies should have cut some songs (not only from this album but others too) and perhaps lengthened others to show off their talents in vocals and instruments. I will repeat this comment in future reviews with examples.

Strong lead vocals (Alan Clarke had one of the best voices in pop/rock), great guitar and a quirky banjo make “Please Sign Your Letters” a great number. This is followed by “My Life Is Over With You” again with strong vocals, great guitar and lyrics.

The perfect end to side one is the great RNR sounding “Please Let Me Please You”. This is only one of several songs to show off Tony Hicks imaginative and versatile guitar work.

With rare exceptions most of the Hollies’ albums are well structured. The right song starts the side to get the feeling going and the last one keeps you enthused as you turn the vinyl over. “Do You Believe In Love” is a great start to side 2 with its bluesy feel.

For years I had the American version of this album which had “He Ain’t Heavy” in place of the next two tracks. When I finally got my hands on this record I was pleasantly surprised by “Soldiers Dilemma”. It is a good protest song with an interesting beat.

Joining two songs, “Marigold” and “Gloria Swansong”, just doesn’t work for me. It is interesting but done much better in their next album. “You Love Cos You Like It” is a bright and breezy song spoiled by those &@$#@%!! piccolos. They ruined a number of songs on previous albums and regrettably they have turned up here too. A contender for being dropped.

As far as I know the next tune is Bernie Calvert’s only composition in his time with the Hollies. I like it but to me the tempo seems a little fast. It could be slowed a little.

The final song “Goodbye Tomorrow” is as near to perfection as the Hollies can be. Lyrics, vocals and instruments all combine to make the perfect ending to this album. There is a tremendously exciting and rich sound with Hicks’ dynamic guitar and Elliot’s solid drumming.

This album does not show a significant development for the Hollies, unlike some other bands at that time. They could have used the opportunity (post Nash) to change radically with deep and meaningful songs. I’m glad they didn’t. There were changes but they were also still the Hollies I knew and loved.
PostPosted:Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:39 am
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Dennis Post subject:
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OK, given the choices above, the bottom line for me is: which would I rather listen to; "Abbey Road", "Tommy", Elvis '69, The Kinks' "Arthur" or "Hollies Sing Hollies". For me, it's The Hollies. So comparing it to those or other albums from 1969 is rather pointless. It all depends on what you feel like listening to. I'm frankly sick of "Abbey Road". I never could get into that overblown drivel called "Tommy". "Arthur" is OK (but I'd rather hear their earlier stuff) and I always thought Elvis was a '50s has-been. So The Hollies win after all. Smile
PostPosted:Tue Mar 07, 2006 17:14 pm

Last edited by Dennis on Tue Mar 07, 2006 21:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DistantLight Post subject:
Rythym Guitar


Rythym Guitar
Joined: 10 Apr 2004
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Location: Germany

Quote:
So comparing it to those or other albums from 1969 is rather pointless.


I don't think that it's pointless to compare some albums from the same year to see how they have aged and what they are like in retroperspective. In that comparison I was mainly referring to the sound and since all these albums were recorded in the same year and the Hollies album has in my opinion a worse sound that the other ones I've mentioned it is worth mentioning!
PostPosted:Tue Mar 07, 2006 21:23 pm
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Dennis Post subject:
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DistantLight wrote:
Quote:
So comparing it to those or other albums from 1969 is rather pointless.


I don't think that it's pointless to compare some albums from the same year to see how they have aged and what they are like in retroperspective. In that comparison I was mainly referring to the sound and since all these albums were recorded in the same year and the Hollies album has in my opinion a worse sound that the other ones I've mentioned it is worth mentioning!

A worse sound? Than what? The Hollies' records have almost always had an immaculate sound. I don't give a hoot what the general consensus is regarding "Abbey Road" (one of The Beatles' least inspired LPs) or any other album versus The Hollies Sing Hollies album. If I had a dozen top albums in front of me from 1969, I would pick The Hollies, without question. They are my favorite band. The Hollies have provided me with many hours of listening pleasure, and continue to do so.
PostPosted:Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:17 am
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MichealC Post subject:
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Joined: 12 May 2004
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Location: Ireland

I think DistantLight is referring to the production of the record and I agree with him that '60s (and even later) Hollies LPs often sound badly produced. For some reason the Hollies never seemed to create a particularly good sonic environment on their records. I often wonder if this held them back to a certain extent in terms of becoming an album band.

A lot of the time it seems like Ron Richards was just there to capture what the boys were doing.

Michael C.
PostPosted:Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:48 pm
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DistantLight Post subject:
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Exactly Michael! I was referring to the production which I find below the standart of some other records of that time. Maybe you're right - it could be that the sound quality at least up to Distant Light, which has a good sound and Romany whose sound I like even more held them back. Ron Richards in my opinion wasn't as great as for example George Martin who really knew how to let a band sound good!

If you, Dennis, like the music of this Hollies album better than the other records I have mentioned you are free to do so - the Hollies are also one of my absolute favorite bands but I still prefer the other albums I've mentioned over the "Hollies Sing Hollies" album.
And calling Abbey Road "one of The Beatles' least inspired LPs" is absolute rubbish. You can say that you don't like it but it's certainly not uninspired!
PostPosted:Wed Mar 08, 2006 14:18 pm
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Dennis Post subject:
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DistantLight wrote:
Exactly Michael! I was referring to the production which I find below the standart of some other records of that time. Maybe you're right - it could be that the sound quality at least up to Distant Light, which has a good sound and Romany whose sound I like even more held them back. Ron Richards in my opinion wasn't as great as for example George Martin who really knew how to let a band sound good!

If you, Dennis, like the music of this Hollies album better than the other records I have mentioned you are free to do so - the Hollies are also one of my absolute favorite bands but I still prefer the other albums I've mentioned over the "Hollies Sing Hollies" album.
And calling Abbey Road "one of The Beatles' least inspired LPs" is absolute rubbish. You can say that you don't like it but it's certainly not uninspired!


"Abbey Road" wouldn't even have been recorded if it hadn't been for the disaster of the "Let It Be" fiasco. The Beatles felt obliged to make a final album. I stand by what I said; it is not one of my favorites by them. "Come Together" is a total rip-off of Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me". "Octopus's Garden" is dire. "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is tedious, and lyrically insipid. But it's "THE BEATLES" so they could get away with such things. The best tunes are the George Harrison songs. I just find listening to it a slightly sad experience, knowing that it was THE END. There is no way it is on a par with their most creative and joyous work, such as "Revolver", "Rubber Soul", or their early records from '63-5.
I thought we were here to discuss The Hollies? Why compare them with other bands?
Of course they didn't have the songwriting brilliance that The Beatles or The Stones had (or George Martin producing them), but that fact does not detract from my liking them MORE. The Hollies' best music makes me extremely happy and gets me to sing at the top of my lungs. It's like what Allan Clarke once said about the group's music; it's all about "well-being". As for production on their records, yes, Ron Richards sweetened their sound sometimes a bit too much. (One of the reasons why hearing them live in 1972 was such an incredible experience). "Distant Light" was a big leap forward for the group, in terms of material and overall sound. They suddenly became a rock band as opposed to a pop band. And "Romany" is such a fine album, partly because it was produced by the band, without Richards' interference.
I have to say I find it odd that I'm defending The Hollies on their own website! I thought we were all more or less on the same page here. Confused
And, yes, I'd still prefer to listen to "Hollies Sing Hollies" right now over "Abbey Road". Wink
PostPosted:Wed Mar 08, 2006 16:43 pm
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DistantLight Post subject:
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I totally disagree with you about Abbey Road and I love "Octopus's Garden"... but it doesn't matter doesn't it?

I still don't think, though that comparing the Hollies to other bands is useless. To judge a record you have to take in consideration what else was around at the time. So why shouldn't we compare the Hollies music to other artist's music?

I can understand why you like the Hollies better than the Beatles or the Stones although I prefer the Beatles, myself because they were the band that got me into music and I still think they are the best band that has ever existed. But there is of course also something very special about the Hollies and I love their music very much! I would defend them against anybody who said they were crap but I still think I can also voice critisism against the Hollies.
So you don't have to defend them in any way against me but you can have a different opinion on certain songs/albums etc. As I said somewhere else being a fan doesn't mean that you like everything that a band does.
PostPosted:Wed Mar 08, 2006 17:58 pm
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MichealC Post subject:
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Location: Ireland

Just from a production perspective I think most Hollies LPs simply don't sound very good. The sound often sounds thin, amateurish and the mixes are frequently muddy. I think Distant Light (the album) often sounds terrible though it's still a fine record.

Michael
PostPosted:Wed Mar 08, 2006 18:36 pm
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Dennis Post subject:
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DistantLight wrote:
I totally disagree with you about Abbey Road and I love "Octopus's Garden"... but it doesn't matter doesn't it?

I still don't think, though that comparing the Hollies to other bands is useless. To judge a record you have to take in consideration what else was around at the time. So why shouldn't we compare the Hollies music to other artist's music?

I can understand why you like the Hollies better than the Beatles or the Stones although I prefer the Beatles, myself because they were the band that got me into music and I still think they are the best band that has ever existed. But there is of course also something very special about the Hollies and I love their music very much! I would defend them against anybody who said they were crap but I still think I can also voice critisism against the Hollies.
So you don't have to defend them in any way against me but you can have a different opinion on certain songs/albums etc. As I said somewhere else being a fan doesn't mean that you like everything that a band does.


The problem I have with The Beatles is every band gets compared to them, and every band inevitably falls short. It's like saying Picasso is the greatest artist, and everyone else falls behind him. I just think recording artists should be judged on what they do, the music they make, their uniqueness, and their art, and not compared with somebody else.
The Beatles, especially in their last couple of years and after the breakup, proved that they were mere mortals who made mistakes just like the rest of us.
PostPosted:Fri Mar 10, 2006 17:51 pm
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holliesfan Post subject:
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Dennis wrote: "The Beatles, especially in their last couple of years and after the breakup, proved that they were mere mortals who made mistakes just like the rest of us."

I've heard it said more than once that the Beatles were not that strong vocally/musically during their live performances. Hey, I'm just the messenger Very Happy Yes, whether or not one likes to accept the fact, they did make their share of mistakes along the journey.
PostPosted:Fri Mar 10, 2006 18:44 pm
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