Saturday, June 18, 2011

Michael Fremer Album Review

Lost Recordings and Beat Rarities
(new compilation)

The Hollies

Liberty/Sundazed S7004 10 7" 45rpm mono singles, boxed

Produced by: Ron Richards

Engineered by: various engineers

Mixed by: various engineers

Mastered by: Bob Irwin

Lacquers Cut by: "George" at Nashville Record Productions



Hollies Boxed Lunch From Sundazed!
by Michael Fremer
June 10, 2011

Not one Hollies hit is among the twenty songs on this ten 45rpm 7" box set and that's the best part!

Not that the hits like "Bus Stop," "Carrie Anne," "Look Through Any Window" and the others aren't great songs.

Some of the double sided singles here like "(Ain't That) Just Like Me"/ "Hey What's Wrong With Me" and "Nobody"/"Yes I Will" are genuine reissues, but most are new pairings consisting of tracks from UK EPs along with some tunes not issued when first recorded but later released on CD compilations.

The tenth single reproduces a rare Italian release written for the film "Fai in Fretta ad freddo!" ("Kill Me Quick").

As the liner notes by Domenic Priore explain, The Hollies, like label mates The Beatles, were prolific artists whose American releases failed to keep track of the group's output. American Liberty subsidiary Imperial packaged albums as it saw fit much as Capitol did with The Beatles.

For instance, this box opens with The Hollies' first single recorded April 4th 1963—a cover of The Coasters' "(Ain't That) Just Like Me" backed by "Hey What's Wrong With Me" that was never issued on vinyl in America.

The notes give you a good play-by-play of the tangled discography. Suffice it to say only the most dedicated Hollies fan will know most of the tracks but that doesn't mean casual fans shouldn't, particularly those who crave the group's resplendent harmonies.

These 45s are packed with absolutely dazzling examples of the group's harmonic splendor. When they hit the high harmonies and they wash over the ears, the effect on the listener's brain chemistry is unmistakeable.

Some tunes make clear the group's debt to The Everly Brothers, while others point strongly in the direction of their namesake. Their very different take on "She Said Yeah," better known from The Rolling Stones cover was an ear opener as was the cover of George Harrison's "If I Needed Someone." The almost solemn, anthemic "Yes I Will" (by Gerry Goffin and Russ Titelman) always pleases.

These hook-filled tunes, purposefully written to be radio singles, are mostly lightening fast and with a few exceptions come in at around two minutes each. They helped define and are a product of a rarified time in pop music history and as such listening through the set in its entirety provides a concentrated dose that's sure to leave those of a certain age filled with nostalgia and echoing Paul Simon's contention that he and his generation were "born at the right time."

All but two of these tunes were recorded at Abbey Road and so sound full and rich in a familiar Beatle-y way. The two exceptions were recorded in America at Bell Sound Studios and so compete in every way with what Abbey Road achieved.

The transfer to 45 has been expertly accomplished and the packaging is superb. Great photos, iconic '60s era artwork and look how young Graham Nash looks!

Yes, you'll be getting up and flipping sides every two minutes, but if you're like me, the harmonies will get you flipping happily as you seek the next shot of endorphin or whatever brain chemistry changes those chiming voices cause.

I happily went through the whole set twice in a row before I had my fill for the day and I was back at it the next. If you have a felt turntable mat, you're best off removing it in case you miss the touchdown, if you know what I mean.

Use it as a history lesson or just for the musical pleasure. Either way a great Sundazed reissue and easy to recommend, particularly considering the great packaging and music will set you back the very reasonable sum of $49.98

Thanks to Michael over at  for the exclusive rights to reprint this material. Stop by for more reviews and features.

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