Tuesday, August 23, 2016


In the press for more and more interesting vinyl to tempt the new record buyers, the choices are getting more and more obscure. Nobody has bought Hollies albums in years, and all I ever saw in collections were Greatest Hits; they were a singles band after all. That's despite lots of attempts to break that image; Graham Nash quit the band largely over the internal struggle to get off the Top 40 gravy train and make serious records like the more cool British bands.

I know lots and lots of record collectors and I can't think of one that owned this album, but that's because in 1967, everybody was buying Sgt. Pepper. But even The Hollies were trying to embrace the new psychedelic sounds, and this was their most serious attempt. They insisted they would only record their own compositions, and they wanted to get far out. The cover art was one of the very first psychedelic designs, and inside the songs were filled with special effects; phasing, distortion, all manner of trippy vocals.

Funny though, despite all the attempts, the best songs here have catchy pop underneath the trickery, with the joyous Hollies harmonies bursting out. They were becoming better songwriters, but not in the psychedelic scene. That was better left to the likes of The Pink Floyd; like The Rolling Stones effort of the time, Their Satanic Majesties Request, good songs were somewhat obscured, and a few dumb ideas were allowed because they were, well psychedelic, man.

There are great pop numbers here such as Have You Ever Loved Somebody and You Need Love, as fine as any of their contemporary hits. On the con side, there's the horrible Rain On The Window, with it's "pitter patter, pitter patter" vocal, and a verse pattern stolen from the earlier hit Bus Stop. Ye Old Toffee Shoppe is lame as well, with its harpsichord and "good little boys" buying sweets. I say, Terrance and Phillip.

In case you are that person who has bought this album at some time (I do not know who you are), this is the British version, not the North American. Like many British Invasion bands, they had their albums chopped down from longer lengths in Europe, and here it's 12 cuts instead of the 10 of the U.S./Canadian set. Plus, the original British album had none of their current 45's present, while here they added Carrie Anne to boost interest.

This package features the full psychedelic cover in all its glory (also edited in the North American packaging, the titles changed and cropped), and comes with both the mono and stereo LP's, so you get to decide which you like better. I find a little more depth to the stereo in this case, but both sound great, re-cut from the original master tapes, and pressed on heavyweight vinyl. As it turns out, it was an album I should have had, and it only took 50 years to find out.

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