The Hollies

No Buddies Of Mine
*special introductory paragraph!
*Stay With The Hollies
*In The Hollies Style
*Hollies
*Would You Believe?
*For Certain Because
*Evolution
*Butterfly
*Hollies Sing Dylan
*Hollies Sing Hollies
*Confessions Of The Mind
*Distant Light
*Greatest Hits
*Romany
*Out On The Road
*Hollies
*Another Night
*Write On
*Russian Roulette
*A Crazy Steal
*Five Three One Double Seven O Four
*Buddy Holly
*What Goes Around...
*Staying Power
*Then, Now, Always

The Hollies is a five-piece combo from Manchester, England that began its recorded career in 1964 with a line-up featuring lead vocalist Allan Clarke, guitarists Graham Nash and Tony Hicks, bassist Eric Haydock, and drummer Bobby Elliott. And, why, Hicks and Elliott remain in the band to this very day! Treating today's youth to the hot new sounds of the aged!

The band is probably best-known for two things: (a) crafting angelic three-part vocal harmonies, such as those of the jubilant singles "Stop! Stop! Stop!" and "Carrie Anne," and (b) contributing one-third of Crosby, Stills & Nash. In the words of Morrissey, "Manchester, You Have A Lot To Answer For, You Asshole!"

Like their fellow British Invading Beatles and Rolling Stones, The Hollies found their early UK releases mauled, repackaged and retitled by US labels eager to capitalize on non-LP hit singles. So if you're looking for opinions on such American releases as Here I Go Again, Hear! Here!, and Stop! Stop! Stop!, you may want to research their relationship to the UK releases, as it are those I'm reviewing here.


Stay With The Hollies - Parlophone 1964
Rating = 5

You know that old saying, "If you can remember Woodstock, you weren't there!"? Well, I thought to myself, "I wonder what it would be like if somebody hilarious were to take that saying and apply it to other famous concerts of yesterday and today." I don't know for sure, but I think it would look something like this:

"If you can remember Altamont, you weren't killed!"
"If you can remember the HORDE Tour, you weren't asleep!"
"If you can remember the Vans Warped Tour, you weren't listening to any good music that day!"

And then I thought to myself, "I wonder what it would be like if a guy tried to review an album while playing ping-pong?" I don't have any concrete proof, but I'm willing to bet that it would go something like this:

Player One: "Okay, this album i-" (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player Two: "Huh?" (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player One: "This album -" (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player Two: "Is what?" (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player One: "One sec" (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player Two: (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player One: "It's -" (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player Two: (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player One: (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player Two: (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player One: (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player Two: (*hits ping-pong ball*)
Player One: (*hits ping-pong ball*)

Then I thought it would be simply uproarious to begin a review with this statement:

Hi, I'm Bob Screw. You can find me in the phonebook under 'S', for "Bob Screw."

Finally I just wrote a review.

The Hollies' debut album is what I think those in the know might call a 'generic Merseybeat album,' Merseybeat being that harsh early Beatles sound with skrankly guitars, two-part vocal harmonies, a rockin' rhythm section, rudimentary musicianship and cover tunes galore-ious. Some naysayers complain that the Hollies shouldn't be called 'Merseybeat' because they're not from Liverpool, but the River Mersey flows through Manchester as well so UP YOUR ASS.

These so-called "Hollies" herein present amateurish Beatles-sounding renditions of such regularly covered hits as Chuck Berry's "Talkin' 'Bout You" and "Memphis," Little Richard's "Lucille," Berry Gordy, Jr.'s "Do You Love Me" and Fred Neil's "Candy Man," as well as putting their weedy-voiced stamp on "Rockin' Robin," "Stay (Just A Little Bit Longer)," "You Better Move On" and "Mr. Moonlight" (before The Beatles, I'm told!), and stickin' it to songs I've never heard by Doris Troy, Conway Twitty and Glen Campbell. They also do Tony Hiller's "Baby Don't Cry" and one stinky original.

The Hollies really weren't very good when they recorded these songs. The vocals sound young and non-descript, and the two-part harmonies are both tediously repetitive and often out of key. The guitar solos are likewise messy and inept. The only saving grace is that most of these songs were already good, so all they had to do was not ruin them. They mostly succeeded (aside from the boring Beatlesque take on "Talkin' 'Bout You" and wretched vocal harmonies of "Memphis"), but their versions don't add a dadblastedgummed thing to the pre-existing compositions. In fact, the only personality traits on display are 'young,' 'of questionable ability' and 'so white, they're almost clear.'

However, if you want to hear a couple of guys heavily influenced by the Everly Brothers, check out "Lucille" and "It's Only Make Believe." And if you want to hear the chord sequence of every third Ramones song, check out "What'cha Gonna Do About it." And if you want to hear a clueless British whiteman trying to sound like a gravelly soul negro, check out the hilarious, so-bad-it's-wonderful "Do You Love Me." And if you want to hear your horoscope, check out "counters at grocery stores sometimes have them."

Hello, I'm Walter Cronkite and this is the way that it is.

Reader Comments

anton68@voliacable.com
Itís Only Make Believe Ė they could play it all 20-30 minutes and it would sound just greater.

Rockiní Robin is awful, only because of its intro and coda. And Talkiní Bout You was written by Ray Charles, not Berry. In some of the Russian books, look for that.

bjryan3@bigpond.com
I think there may be two different songs with this title, one by Charles and one by Berry. The song on here is Berry's song.

Add your thoughts?


In The Hollies Style - Parlophone 1964
Rating = 7

Yeah, more like In The BEATLES Style, if you ask me!!!!

In The Hollandaise Sauce offers another heaping harpful of Merseybeat, but surprisingly most of the songs were written by the band! Then Robbie Robertson ran out of ideas and stuck his finger up Levo

Surprisingly, the Hollies wrote 7 of these 12 songs all by their lonesome! And yes, it still mostly sounds like the early Beatles (particularly the "All My Loving" 'homage' "Don't You Know"), but most of the vocal melodies are honestly pretty clever and hooky. In addition, Allan's lead vocals sound much more confident and tuneful than before, the guitar solos are miles less embarrassing, and the production has begun to incorporate acoustic guitar, finger-cymbals and such like that. Most importantly, they've already figured out that three-part harmony is much more beautiful than silly, useless two-part harmony.

Not that I'm knocking farcical, worthless two-part harmony. I mean, yes a third Everly sibling would have multiplied their appeal five-hundred-million-fold, and certainly 'Simon, Garfunkel and Johnson' would have sounded less like a piece of shit sitting on a pair of stools than what we got, but to suggest that I'm knocking asinine, shouldn't-exist two-part harmony is to misinterpret my intentions entirely. I love 'outsider' music.

Actually the two-part harmonies sound better too, because Graham Nash has started singing his parts in a really high register for a much prettier mixture than the 'two dull low-singing guys' harmonies from the past record. So forget all that anti-two-part-harmony nonsense you've been hearing around town from con men!!!

In the covers department, The Hollies herein re-gender Betty Everett's "It's In His Kiss," re-race Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business," and re-tard Etta James' "Something's Got A Hold On Me." For my dollar, however, it's the originals that deserve the attention. Astonishing three-part harmonies elevate "Time For Love" and "Come On Home" to the status of 'Fookin Lovely,' "Set Me Free" kicks speedy-tempoed ass with its rollicking bass descension, "You'll Be Mine" rises above its tired "Mickey's Monkey" rhythm with a wonderful singalong vocal hook, and the minor-key "To You My Love" features an intriguing shakey-shake guitar sound that differentiates it from the Merseybeat anonymity of most of the album's guitarwork.

To conclude: unlike its pisspoor predecessor, In The Hollies Style proves that the Hollies have the songsmithship and harmonic genius to make a go out of this music career thing.

Say, this would be a good place to admit that I don't know anything about the Hollies and have barely heard any of these albums at all. So if you're a Hollies historian and fanatic, feel free to send me important facts and corrections. My goal is just to describe what the records sound like and give my opinion on their overall quality, so people who haven't heard them will get an idea whether or not they're worth hearing. Because facts are like assholes: there's always a bunch of them at the library.

If you're all excited and want to see photos of my wife breaking boards in a Tae Kwon Do tournament, take a gander at these two pages:
HERE'S ONE
HERE'S ANOTHER ONE

I don't know how long those photos will be up, so if you try the link and there's nothing there, please let me know. Thanks!

Reader Comments

mikingmihrab@gmail.com
These records are great to relax to because absolutely nothing unexpected will happen (on the record). As far as the sameness of their sound, it's a better behaviour to emulate your peers by singing the same covers than to set homeless people on fire or mercy-less-beat-ing them with 12 string guitars while they are sleeping. in England 1964. That is a disgusting trend. Lets give all the fascist murderers 12 string Richenbachers and bowl cuts! so they can rap Ferdeline style in 3 part harmonies!?

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Hollies - Parlophone 1965
Rating = 7

Like TV's Peter Gabriel, The Hollies released more than one self-titled album back in the drug-fueled '60s, '70s or '80s. Like history's Cheap Trick and the underground's Killing Joke, they evidently felt that it wouldn't be as confusing as a monkey in a pillowcase for them to have two albums on the market with the exact same title. However, like poor musical taste's Weezer and the developmentally disabled's Rancid, The Hollies inadvertantly forced their fans to dream up such irritating faux-monikers as The '60s One and The One Where The One Guy's Smiling; No, The Guy In The Middle. But the album I speak of today is none of these. Instead, it's the one from the 1960's.

All tired out from writing so many songs for In The Hollies Style, Clarke, Hicks & Nash contributed only four originals to this one. However, the record as a whole is much less old-timey-sounding than its predecessors. There are still a few remaining vestiges of Merseybeat, but acoustic guitar folk-rock is working its way into their sound, and the lead guitar is actually beginning to play melodies instead of just bad solos. Delightful vocal harmonies persist, as they'd better.

Fellow artists covered on this go-round include Peter Paul & Mary, The Impressions, Roy Orbison, Louis Armstrong, Lloyd Price, The Miracles and Benny Spellman. Songs you may know as covered by other artists include "Mickey's Monkey" (Martha & The Vandellas), "You Must Believe Me" (Count Five), "Fortune Teller" (Rolling Stones) and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" (Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Larry Williams, Joe Cocker, Fats Domino, Ronnie Hawkins, Johnny Rivers, Conway Twitty, Mickey Gilley, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Paul McCartney, Travis Tritt, Rod Bernard, James Booker, Bobby Brown, The Buckinghams, Eric Burdon, Sonny Burgess, Joe's Grease Band, Johnny Devlin, Fats Domino, Emil Ford, The Four Lovers, Nato Gandhi, Bill Haley, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, The Head Cat, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Bugs Henderson, Jimi Hendrix, Kane Glaze, Lemmy, Jackie Lynton, Ronnie McDowell, Roy Orbison, Carl Parkins, Poison Idea, Professor John, Noel Redding, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Teen Kings, Johnny Tucker, Tommy Tucker, Link Wray, Steve Young, The Hollies, Lloyd Price). Good old "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." "You make me lawdy miss clawdy - the way you rock and roll" indeed!

Of the four originals, my fave raves (favorite ravorites) are "I've Been Wrong" (which could be a Ramones song with that great chord sequence!) and "So Lonely," a ballad with a noteworthy guitar riff and mesmerizing chimey/reverbed/tremeloed guitar tone. "Put Yourself In My Place" is a fan favorite due to its unforgettable Beatle-harmony chorus, but the rest of the song is generic Merseybeat. One of the strongest tracks on the album is excitingly neither a cover nor an original, but (according to All-Music Guide) a song written for the band by the Animals' Alan Price; "Too Many People" could have been just another protest folk-rock tune, but those amazing Hollie three-part harmonies elevate it to a Picnic For The Ears! Complete with fire ants laying eggs behind your cochlia!

Listeners familiar with the Rolling Stones' seething, dark version of "Fortune Teller" will likely be surprised by the happy jauntiness with which the Hollies approach the track, but that's the nature of music! Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down! This is also why it's sad when somebody plays "Taps" at a funeral, but hilarious when they play it at the bedside of a dying man. Then they put a buzzard on his head and bury him under six feet of soil. These are all great pranks to play at the bedside of a dying man.

The Hollies weren't that great a band.

Reader Comments

spotocin@adelphia.net (Steve Potocin)
First things first...The Hollies DID write 'Too Many People' under the moniker L Ransford which they used on many of their early self penned songs[They were told their last names would not all fit on athe record lable!] Also abit miffed you did not mention the GREAT 'When I Come Home To You'. Along with 'I've Been Wrong' they are two of the best examples of the early non-Beatles mersey pop sound to be found.'You Must believe was a hit for the writer of the tune The Impressions led by Curtis Mayfield. Thanks.

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Would You Believe? - Parlophone 1966
Rating = 7

Eager to cash in on the popular Get Smart television series, The Hollies rushed this album to the market even though they only had like one new song. Within the next six months, they also released Heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Hollies!, We Are Five Wild And Crazy Guys, We Pity The Poor Fool and We're The Man Now Dog Unfortunately, these four are all out of print now and impossible to find information about, even from the band members themselves, who forgot about them.

Completely exhausted from writing 4 songs for their last album, The Hollies could barely lift a pen to throw together 4 fingers of originals for this, their 4th album. Instead, we get more Merseybeat r'n'b'n'r covers (Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly), a pair of folk covers (Simon & Garfunkel, Joan Baez), and a couple written for the band by outside songwriters. There are lots of acoustic guitars on this one, and Simon & Garfunkel seem to have replaced The Everly Brothers as the key 'harmony duo' influence - particularly as one of the singers (Graham Nash maybe?) has begun sounding a hell of a lot like Paul Simon, with that soft harmless little singing voice. All in all, another great effort for the Hollies!

Getting back to the point, The Hollies' songwriting (what little of it there is) remains strong with such excellent entries as melancholy folk-rocker "Hard Hard Year," sorrowful Spanish guitar ballad "Fifi The Flea" and two-chord jugga-jugga-jugga singalong "I've Got A Way Of My Own." You know, I hate to sound like a broken record but KA-THUNK KHIHHHSHSHHSHHGHSHHG

That was hilarious. You know, I hate to sound like a broken record but The Hollies' mouths emitted some of the most amazing and haunting vocal harmonies I've ever heard in my life, and you really must hear them if you haven't already. For example, "Stewball" really isn't much of a song, but sweet good god almighty dog do they make it sound gorgeous and important with their multi-part harmonies. The same goes for the choruses of "That's How Strong My Love Is" and "I've Got A Way Of My Own." But if you REALLY want to be blown away, you absolutely must hear "I Can't Let Go," a song written for them by Chip Taylor of "Wild Thing" fame. See, they're doing all these intertwining vocal lines in the verse and then they get through the chorus and there's this really insane bright EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! noise at the end of it. And I'm all like, "Whoa! What instrument is that? An organ? A horn? A guitar through some weird effect?" So I look online as I'm wont to do, and it's apparently GRAHAM NASH'S FUCKING VOICE!!!! Astonishing. How does somebody DO that with their mere voice?!? Have you heard mine? It sounds like my nose is stuffed with chewing tobacco and rats! Oh well. At least I didn't write "Marrakesh Express," I suppose.

A few other observations:

-- Why does Allan sing the chorus of "That's How Strong My Love Is" as "That's how strong love is"? The song isn't about love in general! It's about HIS love! Why do you think the word "My" is in the title, you big galoot!?

-- There is an insane and completely unexpected drum breakdown in the middle of "Sweet Little Sixteen." Hear it when it comes around! Also, The Beach Boys should have totally sued The Hollies for this song because it sounds just like "Surfin' USA."

-- Don't send in a comment about that.

-- I appear to be the only person in the world who likes "Fifi The Flea." What's up with everybody hating sorrowful ballads about heartbroken parasites? I don't remember anyone complaining when Billy Joel did "She's Always A Tapeworm To Me." And don't even get me started about Elton John's "Candle In The Chinese Liver Fluke!" "(Princess Diana Version!)!"!

That's it for observations. My only other observations involve Bob Seger's beard. Also, somebody at Tae Kwon Do has a hearty male chest physique and was told, "You're rockin' a V there!" My hilarious reply, "Hey, I'm rockin' a lower-case b."

(I have a tummy)

Here's a little joke for all you humor fans out there.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
An encyclopedia salesman
An encyclopedia salesman who?
An encyclopedia salesmandarin orange!!!
That's stupid.
An encyclopedia salesmandarin orange you glad I didn't say "banana"?

See, the problem with jokes is that everybody expects them to be funny. Can't we all just appreciate them for the creative process itself? Here, here's another one:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Ira
Ira who?
Ira Member the first time I saw your beautiful face, and knew that I would love you forever and ever.

See? That was a romantic joke, for all the women out there in the peanut audience. Now how about a bawdy SEX joke for all you hor-nee guyZZZ out there?

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Harry P. Niss
Harry P. Niss who?
Harry P. Nisstletoe. Merry Christmas!

Drat, my knee-slapper box spit out the wrong rib-tickler.

Reader Comments

spotocin@adelphia.net (Steve Potocin)
Okay.....How could you not mention 'Don't You Even Care'...2nd best song on the danged ol' record??? Written by Clint Ballard who wrote their British #1 'I'm Alive' it's a slice of 60s pop perfection! I like 'Fifi The Flea' musicwise But those are some godawful lyrics.Let's not forget 'Oriental Sadness'...one of their best and overlooked early album tracks! Good day sir.

Add your thoughts?


For Certain Because - Parlophone 1966
Rating = 6

Oh look. Isn't it cute, the British Monkees are trying to be taken seriously. (*rolls eyes skyward condescendingly*) Aren't they adorable writing all their own material, with such "sophisticated" depressing mope-folk and "playful" bad novelty music. (*pushes invisible man's phallus in and out of mouth*) Aren't they "mature" bringing in such "serious" instruments as brass, woodwinds, strings and --- electric banjo!? (*coughs violently, ripping sac and releasing left ball to drop down pant leg and roll across floor into lawnmower*)

Yes, this is a strange one. It's bookended by four of the bounciest, hookiest, most melodic, fun and wonderful songs that the Hollies ever wrote, but between them lies an 8-song EP entitled Trying Too Hard. Like Simon & Garfunkel's similarly over-sober Bookends LP, For Certain Because finds this young carefree group of guys all of a sudden discovering that there is PAIN in the world, and that life is short and must be taken DEAD SERIOUSLY. As illustration -- by itself, "Clown" stands as a very accomplished and aurally intriguing Simon & Garfunkel-esque serious song, but it's almost hard to note its melodic and tonal qualities because it's lodged in the middle of a bunch of soggy melodramatic ballads and minor-key bachelor pad songs. ("Suspicious Look In Your Eyes," "Tell Me To My Face," "Crusader," and "Peculiar Situation," if anybody asks.)

And dear god the two novelty songs! "High Classed" is Davy Jones singing to a group of old ladies in 1925 and "What Went Wrong" is Tom Jones swinging his chest hair at a bunch of 45-year-old men; I've no clue how either wound up on a Hollies album.

So that leaves ONE SINGLE SONG in the middle-eight that represents the Hollies doing what they do best: cheerful harmony-vocal-driven pop-rock. And it's "It's You," yes it's "It's You," oh it's "It's You." (Heh. Little "It's You" humor for all the "It's You" fans out there.)

But dear sweet God those four bookends are the bestest! The banjo lopey-dopey countrified harmonized pop of "What's Wrong With The Way I Live," the "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love"-derived r'n'b-pop of "Don't Ever Think About Changing" and the astonishing, brutalizingly Hollieriffic hits "Pay You Back With Interest" and "Stop Stop Stop," which are so good I can't discuss them without starting a new paragraph.

"Pay You Back With Interest" - The vibrating effected piano!; the wavering-all-goddamned-over-the-scale verse vocal line! (listen to how many notes and tween-notes he sings in each line! "So ma-any pe-e-e-e-eop-l-e ne-e-e-eee-edd me-e....!"); the waltz beat!; the way the worried verse resolves into an optimistic fifteen-thousand-part vocal harmony chorus!; the intertwining vocal lines in the middle-eight!; the BELL solo!; the swing-drum outro!; and best of all, the way it sounds like they're singing "I'll pay you back with entrails!" as if The Hollies were the founders of grindcore! What a song! Somebody should write it AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!

"Stop Stop Stop" - Here's a little story. When I was a wee lad before the Internet came out (1986, let's say), I recorded a Monkees song off of the radio that blew my mind out my ass and into a trajectory that forced it back over my head, under my chin, and upwards into my mouth and back into my skull. It featured this great catchy wiggly echoey banjo line, a bouncy 1-2 oompah beat, and some of the greatest Monkees vocals I'd ever heard, with Peter, Davey and Mickey collaborating on this heavenly melody with godlike three-part harmonies about watching a seXXXy dancer in a nightclub. I immediately fell in love with this excellent Monkees song and couldn't wait to own it in my very own record collection. So the next time I had $10 to my name, I axed my father to drive me to the local Turtle's Records so I could find out what Monkees album it was on and buy it. I flipped through 'em all and finally found a matching title -- "Oklahoma Backroom Dancer" on the album Present. I paid the money, took the record home, put the needle down on "Oklahoma Backroom Dancer," and vomited my entire digestive tract out onto the turntable. Dejected that I'd wasted 10 valuable dollars on not only the wrong album, but in fact the worst album the Monkees had ever released (this was before Pool It), I wept with sadness tears to my Pappy in woe about the song I'd REALLY wanted. To illustrate, I put in my original cassette dub, began playing the song for my Dad, and within four seconds he said, "Oh, that's the Hollies."

So you see, if you ever have a question about music, always go to your father first. Fathers are like encyclopedias of music. For example, last week I said "Hay Dad what GG Allin album has 'I Sent A Thank You Card To The Guy Who Raped You' on it?" and he was all like, "No, that's Anal Cunt. It's on It Just Gets Worse, and is track 12, right between 'You Rollerblading Faggot' and 'I Lit Your Baby On Fire.' The album was released by Earache on September 7th, 1999." So I returned the Monkees album, purchased the "Stop Stop Stop"/"On A Carousel" single, and didn't masturbate for the first time until I was 19 years old because I thought everyone who did grew up to be a sex criminal. Goodnight children! Good night! Don't let the bedbugs bite!

Actually, while bedbugs have been known to harbor pathogens in their bodies, including plague and hepatitis B, they have not been linked to the transmission of any disease and are not regarded as a medical threat. Some individuals, however, can get skin infections and scars from scratching bites. Furthermore, while bedbugs are not regarded as a vector of transmissible diseases, they may be a significant source of alarm or distress. With some individuals, it may result in cases of delusional parasitosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.

For more infomation on the health risks of bedbugs, please visit http://www.ushealthservices.gov/nipslips/milfs.htm/~bedbugs

Reader Comments

spotocin@adelphia.net (Steve Potocin)
Well Mr Prindle..a few thought on the Hollies finest record. Yes it starts and ends with a bang...and..in between there is nothing but mids 60s pop goodness. No I don't think the Hollies need horns and Mike Vickers leading woodwind sections BUT the songs are still great. Yes 'What Went Wrong' does remind one of a Tom Jones song...the best Tom Jones song ever! 'Crusader' will implant itself in your brain after one listen. 'High Class'...Well the Beatles did 'When I'm 64' which was in the same vein...only not as catchy. You are forgiven for not giving this record the 9 or 10 it deserved...because one day you will..oh yes Mark Prindle ,one day you will..Hahahahahahahahahaha!

alex@alexarrowsmith.com
Oh man Mark, you really know how to dig deep into a fellow human's soul. When I was little and I'd hear "Pay You Back With Interest" on the oldies station or my home stereo and I totally thought he was saying "I'll pay you back with entrails"! The funny thing is, I didn't know what entrails WERE until years later, and when I learned, I was totally disturbed by that Hollies song. Until I figured out the NAME of the song, and that they're probably saying the title in the chorus. So that misheard line has special nostalgic value for me, and you just cut deep man. TO MY BEING. I never knew anyone else heard it that way, so I'm hilariousized. I made a new word. Use it.

Add your thoughts?


Evolution - Parlophone 1967
Rating = 8

See, in my opinion (if you want to have an opinion), I figure if you're gonna make a good album, you'd might as well make a good Hollies album. And somebody in the '60s must have felt the same way, because Evolution is the best Hollies album in the book. I wouldn't call it a perfect album (nor would anybody else who has ever heard the song "Lullaby To Tim"), but it is definitely the most colorful, diverse, strongly-arranged, beautifully harmonized, stringy, brassy, guitary, full to bustin' IMPRESSIVE album they ever released.

New bassist Bernie Calvert joined the band with this release, and immediately the basswork became 150 times fuller, more thoughtful, and more important to the Hollies' sound. Furthermore, unlike the previous record, they're not desperately trying to be sound 'mature' -- they simply are mature. They know their pop strengths, they present them through some of the most incredible vocal harmonies in history, and they allow every song to slowly build (through the gradual addition of multiple voices and instrumental textures) into a three-minute opera symphony of giganticness!!!

Check out this multi-dimensional playground of musical teeter-totters:

(4) "Then The Heartaches Begin" - 3-chord Stonesy rocker with dirty bottleneck guitar and maraca shakies!
(2) "Stop Right There" - Dark Paul Simony acoustic with strings and violin solo
(Bonus Track At The End Of The Reissue) "Water On The Brain" - Speedy tabla beat/electric arpeggios alternate with lopey-dope Monkees-pop - with tuba!
(9) "Lullaby To Tim" - Nursery rhyme with strings, sung through a ridiculous over-tremeloed effect that makes the singer sound like a cartoon leprechaun. A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE SONG.
(10) "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" - Beatles mid-60s rock with distorted acid guitar
(6) "You Need Love" - Optimistic strummy pop with a trumpet break!
(3) "Rain On The Window" - Depressing S&G folk-rock that would have fit perfectly on the last record. Strengthened by some forboding brasswork and great lyrics about taking sexual advantage of a female friend (and the aftermath!). Not strengthened by the guy dramatically chanting "pit-ter! pat-ter!" in falsetto 4,000 times during the tuba solo.
(7) "Heading For A Fall" - Banjo, bass harmonica, bouncy piano whose name I can't remember (harpsichord? harmonium? FUCK!). The melody fits the self-insecure lyrics perfectly, the beat is waltz-tastic and the vocal harmonies are amazing - not that that's anything new for this album (or band).
(5) "Ye Olde Toffee Shop" - Okay, let's call it a harpsichord. Another fairy tale nursery rhyme, but with a recorder solo! Or lute, perhaps. And someone plays a fish at the end, like Santana would!
(Bonus Track At The End Of The Reissue) "When Your Lights Turned On" - 12-string ringing lead guitar, happy vocal melody, delightful '60s pop about FUCKING some other guy's WHORE of a wife.
(Not On The Album At All, Not Even As A Bonus Track On The Reissue) "Leave Me" - Moody, great, bass-driven pissed-off garage rock with Hammond organ
(8) "Games We Play" - Strummy acoustic, haromnies, trumpets, good beat -- another great piece of Hollie-pop! I give it a 30!

It's simply a very good, very consistent pop-rock record by cheerful musical melodians (melody custodians). Once again they wrote all their own material, but this time their talent for crafting hummable, unforgettable hooks was at a career high. Between the strong songwriting, angelic group vocals and successful integration of non-rock instruments, Evolution stands as yet another must-own release from the Giant Psychedelic Year of 1967. Think of it as the Hollies' Revolver, with that same mixture of classic pop melody and welcome experimentation. Yay, The Hollies' Revolver!

Unfortunately, The Hollies' Sgt. Pepper kinda sucks a lot of dink.

Reader Comments

jcjh20@hotmail.com
Best Hollies album, maybe? I'm no expert on the Hollies, as I still have yet to hear much of their discography (even their putrid later material) but this is really good, top notch stuff. I think I'm the only one who really likes "Lullaby To Tim". If you go past that ridiculously out-of-place tremelo effect on the vocals that is obviously a ploy to make the song more "psychadelic pop" than it should be, you should realize what a nice and cute little melody it has. Mickey Dolenz even does a cover version of it on one of his solo albums, and he does an even better job of it. "You Need Love", "Stop Right There", and "Games We Play" are also good, as is much of this album.

spotocin@adelphia.net
Oh yes..this is a great record..the most underrated in the Hollies catalog. 'Lullaby' IS a nice melody BUT is completely ruined by the vocal effects...I always skip it. 'When Your Lights Turned On' is the Best song Graham Nash ever wrote and is one of the Hollies best tunes period. Good day Sir!

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Butterfly - Parlophone 1967
Rating = 5

That reminds me of a little song:

"Butterflies!
Butterflies!
Butterflies!
About as well as Icarus!"

Yes, a humorous man often thinks up terrific novelty songs in his youth, but now it's 33 years old time to grow up and put away those childish playthings like Hot Wheels cars and Mad Magazines and baseball cards and board games and pick-up sticks and army men and adventure people and Legos and bicycles and airplanes and hula-hoops and baseball bats and video games and record albums and movies and television and friends and pets and family and a bed and shelter and sustenance and stuffed animals. No time for anything now but the stock market and a tie.

At the same time, what kind of asshat (ASCAP) decides to write a song in the form of a letter to a girl, and then phrases it like this(?):

"Dear Eloise,

I am writing to say a number of funny things I heard today. I heard that he's left you and run off to sea.

Could be the best thing that's happened to me!!!!!

Best,
Al 'Be In Your Panties Post-Haste' Clarke"

And while we're on the subject of lyrics, see if you can guess what year it was when The Hollies wrote each of these passages (all from different songs, mind you):

"Days of yellow saffron/Nights with purple skies/Melting in the sunbeams/From my maker's eyes."

"And if you're free, follow me/Throw a pebble in my sea/The sun will wrap you up/In a pool of gold, and lights in the night/In the night reaching neon waves of sight."

"You don't need an invitation, step inside/We'll have tea and crumpets toasted by the fireside." "Ride on my back and hold onto my wings/I'll take you by night to a time-leaping dream/Time has no value where we're going to/People are happy; there, they're never blue/I'm Pegasus, the flying horse."

"Picking, picking up the daisies/I'm making a chain/If anybody breaks it, we'll start it again."

"Travel by the silver line/To a place that has no time/Why don't you try it now?"

"And i'm so high up i touch the sky/And i'm so high up i touch the sky/Climb up here, jump up here/Skip up, or run up/Get up here somehow 'cos you'll find your head/Finally finding the level you're after/Ego is dead. ego is dead."

If you guessed '1742,' man you're WAY off! The correct answer is 1967. You can tell by all the fake drug references.

Unfortunately, the atrocious lyricism is only one of the ways in which Butterfly usurps the absolute worst excesses of the Flower Power Love Generation. Their songwriting has shifted from bright harmonic pop-rock to overblown orchestral pop, fey children's music and hippy psych nonsense, and the dynamic arrangements of Evolution have been supplanted by the simple drenching of every single moment in horns, strings, woodwinds and dumb Roger Waters-level sound effects. The bass still sounds great though!

It's not ALL terrible. The bulk of "Dear Eloise" retains the joyful bubblegum guitar sound of their best work, both "Would You Believe" and "Elevated Observations?" are very pretty excursions into the symphonic pop subgenre pioneered by the Flaming Lips a few years earlier in reverse history, and even the whimsy fairy tales "Pegasus The Flying Horse" and "Step Inside" feature catchy Beatlesy melodies (the arrangement of the latter sounds suspiciously like "Good Morning, Good Morning", in fact). But the worst tracks are not only the worst songs on the record; they rank among the worst songs ever recorded. And by "worst," I of course mean "scientifically worst, as proven in laboratory tests with science and facts."

Check this out, I totally came up with new titles for all the songs I hate on here. Check this out:
-- "Away Away Away" = "A Waste A Waste A Waste (Of My Vomit, Which Comes Purging Out Of My Mouth Every Time I Am Subjected To This Fruity Fey Pop Little Kid's Happy Organ Tweeting Cheerful Horn Shit Music)"
-- "Maker" = "Fakir Faker (With His Pathetic Eastern George Harrison Hokey Sitar Tabla Ripoff Godawful Strings Overserious Diarrhea)"
-- "Wishyouawish" = "Fishyouafish (From The 59th Street Bridge, Whose Simon & Garfunkel Song Is Completely Ripped Off In This Sissy Acoustic Strumming Urine Up A Nose, La-De-Da Horns, And Whispery Fag Singing And Fag Music For Fags)"
-- "Postcard" = "Nice Seagull Noises, Asshole"
-- "Try It" = "Fuck You!"

Yes, it's always a laughter when Mark Prindle, Novelty Performer, is around! Nevertheless, my wish is a sincere one: don't belittle the Summer Of Love by buying this humiliating parody of it. Stick with Evolution and let your Fleak Frag Fry!

Also stick with Surrealistic Pillow, Sgt. Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Are You Experienced?, The Doors, Between The Buttons, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Absolutely Free, Axis: Bold As Love, Bee Gees 1st, I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night, Younger Than Yesterday, Wild Honey, The Who Sell Out, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, Strange Days, Safe As Milk, Smiley Smile, Something Else, Blowin' Your Mind!, Buffalo Springfield Again, Days Of Future Passed, Disraeli Gears, Flowers, Forever Changes, Goodbye And Hello, Pisces Aquarius Capricorn & Jones Ltd., Magical Mystery Tour, Little Games, Kites Are Fun, Songs Of Leonard Cohen, John Wesley Harding, Happy Together, Headquarters and Gorilla.

1967 - WORST YEAR EVER for music. Why not just DUMP a load of COW MANURE into a PAPER BAG and pour it all over your NEWBORN BABY???!

I love constructing sentences as if I'm doing a Mad Libs.

Reader Comments

jcjh20@hotmail.com
I personally like this one quite a bit. "Dear Eloise" and "King Midas" are probably a few of their best songs, "Butterfly" shows the band getting all sophisticated with elaborate orchestration, "Maker" is a fine Indian influenced psych song (cliche or not, I'm a sucker for psych songs with sitar and Indian influences), and think "Away Away Away" is a harmless little catchy song. You're getting cynical, Mark! I'd give this one either a high 7 or moderate 8. Not exactly one of the best of 1967, but it is a fine album.

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Hollies Sing Dylan - Parlophone 1969
Rating = 5

You wouldn't think there would be a market for 40 minutes of The Hollies singing the word "Dylan" over and over again, but somehow th

"Sing" is an interesting word in this context. I mean, they do sing Dylan's songs -- 12 of them, in fact. But perhaps a more accurate word for the album title would be, I don't know, "Ruin"? Or "Sabotage," something like that? "Pollute"? "Desecrate"? "Rape"! That's a nice one. How about "Abuse"? "Murder"? "Defecate All Over"? "Toss Into A Box Of Urine And Shake Around"? My point is this: The Hollies should be taken out back and beaten with a gigantic belt for what they did to Bob Dylan's fine catalog on this ill-guided, mis-conceived, and poorly-advised blot on the history of American Pop Art.

First of all, Graham Nash hated the idea so much that he left the band, changed his name to "Graham Crackers" and prevented children from masturbating. Then he joined fellow aesthetes David "The Byrds" Crosby and Stephen "Buffalo Springfield" Stills in a power-trio called Crosby, Stills & Nash, who went on to great success with major hits like "Southern Cross" before Neil Young joined and gave them huge hits like "Woodstock" and then left, along with Stephen Stills, leaving Crosby & Nash to perform such huge hits as "Penguin In A Palm Tree" and "Broken Bird" before Graham finally went his own way for a hugely profitable solo career built upon '70s anthems like "Wounded Bird," "Woodstock The Bird," "Palm Penguin In A Bird Tree" and "Broken, Wounded Bird In A Penguin Tree."

So The Hollies went "Shit, he wrote all our good songs and had that really high voice" and replaced him with Terry Sylvester in a spiteful decision intended to frighten Graham into thinking it was Sylvester The Cat and he was going to eat him for writing all those bird songs. Then they went on to record their own truly horrible arrangements of 12 Bob Dylan songs that had already been covered by previous artists, such as:

"When The Ship Comes In" - Peter Paul & Mary
"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" - Emmylou Harris, Flatt & Scruggs
"I Want You" - Gary Burton
"This Wheel's On Fire" - The Band, Ian & Sylvia
"I Shall Be Released" - Joan Baez, The Band, Peter Paul & Mary
"Blowin' In The Wind" - The Silkie, Chad Mitchell Trio, Bobby Darin, Stan Getz, Duke Ellington, The Kingston Trio, Glen Campbell, Living Guitars, Peter Paul & Mary, Sam Cooke, The Four Seasons, Marianne Faithfull, Johnny Rivers, Pete Seeger, Chet Atkins, Dick Dale & The Del-Tones, Cliff Richard, The New Christy Minstrels, Flatt & Scruggs, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Cher
"Quit Your Low Down Ways" - Peter Paul & Mary
"Just Like A Woman" - Richie Havens
"The Times They Are A-Changin'" - Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Peter Paul & Mary, Beach Boys, The Silkie, Cher
"All I Really Want To Do" - Byrds, Four Seasons, Glen Campbell, Cher
"My Back Pages" - Byrds, Keith Jarrett
"Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)" - Manfred Mann, 1910 Fruitgum Company

Second of all (after Graham leaving), I don't care how good you think your vocal harmonies are; you've got to be OUT OF YOUR MIND to think that you can do a better Bob Dylan cover than the (early) Byrds. They had chiming 12-string guitars, the angelic lead vocals of Roger McGuinn, and group harmonies bright enough to warm the heart of a nation on a cold winter's eve. So how fucken stupid do you have to be to do three separate songs that the Byrds had already captured as their own? If this was Alan Clarke's attempt to compete with Graham Nash's bird-based discography, he bungled the lay-up and boom goes the dynamite.

Third of all, I understand the desire to take the songs in a new direction, what with them all having been plunged clean by previous interpreters, but corny strings and horns are no way to 'improve' anything. Fourth of all, too many of the Graham-less vocal harmonies sound like a multi-tracked Alan singing along with himself, and his lead vocals are just too quivery, loose and muscle-less to rise above the self-defeating bone-headed arrangements. On the other hand, the drums are crisp and they use a nice bass tone.

THE GOOD:
- "When The Ship Comes In" played with a fast beat and banjo hoedown!
- "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" with beautiful 4-part vocal harmonies
- "This Wheel's On Fire" with dark electric guitar arpeggios and strange stereo separation of the drums
- "Just Like A Woman" with church organ, gentle strings and very pretty harmony vocals

THE BAD:
- "I Want You" with a terrible pussy-ass keyboard tone, awkward and pointless modulation, and a guitar line that's completely buried under the drums
- "I Shall Be Released" with talking drums, swamp rock guitar and trumpet. Picture it in your head.... Sounds like shit, doesn't it?
- "Blowin' In The Wind" as Vegas Revue, with overblown strings, horns and cocky "Blow-whoa-whoa-whoa-owin' in the wind!" vocal mannerisms. "Thank you for the respect you have shown for my music," Bob Dylan might have responded, had he been illiterate and suffering from Cauliflower Ear
- "Quit Your Low Down Ways." This is just a lousy song. Probably not much they could have done to improve it. But if there was, they certainly didn't!
- "All I Really Want To Do" in a straight but lackluster rendition that doesn't improve when the steel drum solo shows up.

THE UGLY:
- Sarah Jessica Parker

So if you've been trying to get into Dylan but are stymied by his refusal to pile five billion woodwinds and trumpets onto "My Back Pages" until it sounds like a Gay Remix of "Peter & The Wolf," you're in luck because The Hollies just got hit by a car in front of your house! Drag them into your apartment, break all their legs with a bat, and you'll be a Dylan fan in NO time!

Reader Comments

spotocin@adelphia.net (Steve Potocin)
The arrangments kill this record. You have a guitar player like Tony Hicks and he's nowhere to be found?? The Hollies should have done this like they did S&Gs 'I Am A Rock'...then this would have been great. The Hollies Should Have been able to make a great Dylan album...Alas....

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Hollies Sing Hollies - Parlophone 1969
Rating = 4

Okay, maybe they should have kept singing Dylan.

The Hollies' first collection of Graeme Gnash-free originals attempts to be all things to all listeners, but it just doesn't have the tunes to be any of those things any good. They try gospel, swamp rock, overwrought singer-songwriter bluster, power pop, bachelor pad lounge, boogie-rock, wispy child pop, art rock and even a classical-tinged instrumental, but the most praise I can give to most of these stylistic forays is that they're 'harmless.' Or 'fun.' They're certainly not very memorable or creative!

More important, though, are the sociopolitical implications of this Hollies album. What lesson were these British observers trying to teach us as they merged the African-American blues tradition with that of the undereducated country 'hillbilly' during such a crucial and turbulent period as the late 1960's, a time of profound social and political upheaval that found the entire female gender and African-American race under threat of economic and cultural genocide at the hands of the Capitalist system itself? And what kind of moral were they trying to express in the nomenclaturally if not textually interrelated series of command songs "Don't Give Up Easily," "Look At Life," "Please Sign Your Letters" and "Please Let Me Please"? Is their message that one, rather than giving up easily, should instead look at life, sign his/her letters, and - if the latter proves too heavy a burden to bear - allow another to sign those letters? Furthermore, what synergistic forces of temporal denial could sufficiently affect the spirit and intellect of man (or 'Man') to inspire the near-contradictory penultimate/ultimate dichotomy of "Reflections Of A Long Time Past" and "Goodbye Tomorrow"? Finally, how to reconcile the universal feminine right/duty to self-actualization free of the traditional patriarchal system with both the male gaze expressed on the album cover and such needling lyrical enquiries as "Do You Believe In Love?" and its structural follow-up "Why Didn't You Believe?"? Yes, The Hollies raise many psychosexual issues on Hollies Sing Hollies, but the most important question of all is: How does this work benefit the ecosystem?

On a related note, there are a lot of acoustic strummy guitars on here, along with good crisp drumming and some (yucky) rednecky lead guitar picking. End the annoying obesity now! High-quality medications here! She wants a better sex? All you need's here! Software at low pr1ce! Need medicine? All here! She will love you more than any other guy! Cialis letter for your need! Lotto tickets from 50 countries around the world! We cure any desease! Get out of the obese crowd! Corel Draw! Our store is your cureall! Three steps to the software you need at the prices you want! Guaranteed and permanent penis gains! Saving hundred dollars, deep discount medicines/pills, ship via UPS/DHL/FedEx latter carefully!

I apologize for that. The recent Great Depression has forced me to begin selling advertising on MarkPrindle.com, and the only companies I trust are email spammers. Email Spammers -- They Never Let You Down!(TM)

Hey look, I never claimed to write record reviews that don't take forever to read and actually say anything about the album. The problem is that too few of these songs demonstrate that semi-reliable Hollies melodic flair of old. "Soldier's Dilemma" is a very pretty and mournful acoustic strummer that actually sounds like the Hollies, and "Goodbye Tomorrow," despite its distracting swamp guitar licks, is an odd and clever mood-shifting piece built on chords that rip your heart-mood from happy/content to skewed/upset without even apologizing or sending a penis. And personally I enjoy "Why Didn't You Believe?" but that may just be because the recurring up-down-up riff sounds so much like my old band's "Truckin' Down The Avenue." So I would recommend that song only to people who are already huge fans of "Truckin' Down The Avenue" from Tamara's Little Sex Secret Cleverly Disguised As The Third Low-Maintenance Perennials Album, also featuring the Top 10 singles "Let's Call John Lydon 'Sid Vicious'," "Rectal Thermometer Sandwich," "Lost Because Of Fritos" and "Lincoln Was Smart, But He's Dead Now," along with 'Bubbling Under' Alternative Buzz Singles "Turtle Of Days Gone By," "I Wanna Rent An Apartment On Nell Carter's Buttocks," "Slowly But Surely, I Removed Linda Evans' Foreskin" and "Nothing's Taken For Granted As Is A Skillet," as well as the brave political protest anthems "Draft Beer Not People," "Politics Suck," "Flag Up My Butt," "Great Balls Of Ralph Nader" and "Germans Can Blow It Out Their Ass." And those who aren't.

This album also serves as a reminder that one shouldn't read other record reviews before writing one's own. I foolishly read George Starostin's review beforehand and then listened to it and was all like, "Hey, he's RIGHT! 'My Life Is Over With You' DOES sound just like Neil Diamond!" and "Hey, he's RIGHT! 'Please Let Me Please' DOES sound just like Big Star!" and "Hey, he gave this piece of crap an 8!"

So really it's up to what you want. Do you want classic Hollies pop-rock? Then buy Evolution. Do you want a depressing collection of hokey gospel choir vocals, wiggly "weeooo" keyboard noises, e-z listening background air, novelty hick music, pop balladry sung too loudly to be credible, lazy power pop, jive singing breaks, dull string-laden melodrama, wimpy-folk-hippy-peace-pipe-sugary-laidback-gross children's music, Paul Mauriat-style soundtrack orchestration, and Kentucky Fried Pickin'? Then buy Evolution and GET BETTER GODDAMN MUSICAL TASTE, ASSHOLE!

Huh? No no, I was speaking to your anus.

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Confessions Of The Mind - Parlophone 1970
Rating = 6

Hi, I'm The Hollies and this is a little album I like to call Bone-Headed Arrangement Decisions. You say you're moved by the mournful melody and lyrics of "Little Girl"? Then you'll LOVE the really loud harmonica I threw on top of the second half! Enjoying the gorgeous Led Zeppelin-y mandolins of "Separated"? Then you'll ADORE the stupid 'Native American' shouts of "How-ohhhh!" and "Yip! Yip!" I throw into the background for no reason! And did somebody say "No music at all during the verses"? Mister, "I Wanna Shout" is your Magical Talisman come to life! And when all is sat and settled, be sure not to miss the seemingly non-arranged title track as it staggers drunkenly through an obstacle course of completely unrelated musical segments. Lovely acoustic arpeggios? Shitty horse-gallop chorus? Orchestral waltz? Triumphant rock guitar lick? Uptempo rock and roll? Melodramatic string section? Slow sad Spanish guitar passage? Dull Bee Gees sluggish generic pop? Why, this is ALL ONE SONG I'm talking about!

Luckily, I must "Confess" (heh heh) that the "Ions" (ha!) "Of (My) Mind" (HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!) hear a fairly solid collection of early '70s pop-rock strewn throughout this long-playing vinyl disc of musical. Some of the melodies are a bit too traditional to excite those who've heard more than 10 records in their lives, but the band mostly avoids foul stylistic experimentation to concentrate on different angles of early '70s pop-rock.

The instrumentation varies from song to song, with strong CSN-style vocal harmonies, acoustic and electric guitars, horns, woodwinds, Mellotrons, tabla, mandolin, strings, organs, pianos, bass, harmonica and drums on hand to differentiate (but also at times MAR HIDEOUSLY) a selection of songs that harken back to the band's strong '60s pop sense much more accurately than the Trying-Too-Hard albums surrounding it.

Styles touched upon include: energetic, hooky rock (VU-soundalike "Survival of the Fittest," bass-driven C&W-inflected "Lady Please"); 'message'-driven melodrama (anxious "Man Without A Heart," divorce-suffering "Little Girl," soap operatic "Too Young To Be Married"), bland balladry (slow "Isn't He Nice," fast "Frightened Lady"), electric blooze (terrible "Perfect Lady Housewife"), raga-rock ("Separated"), hippy anthem ("I Wanna Shout") and whatever in God's name the title track is supposed to be ("The Title Track").

There is some very real Hollies-Pop quality to be found on here. The vocal harmonies are seriously as good as almost anything they did during the Graham Nash era, the multi-layered guitars (particularly the acoustic ones) are very warm and blanketing, and the songwriting at its best is both confident and focused. Unfortunately, a handful of absolute stench-ridden stinkers covered in slushy, smutty slop, sludgy, slimy sleaze, scuzzy, sewagey shit, smelly, soiled stains and smudgey, sordid secretions drag down the grade so low that you'd have to be an ant to read it, and ants hate math.

And they REALLY need to get rid of the fairy-footed "Peter And The Wolf" flutey-toots they've been throwing in here and there for the past few albums. Seriously, you're like bopping your head to a really good tune and then all of a sudden the entire band starts taking a romantic cruise up the Alimentary Canal.

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Distant Light - Parlophone 1971
Rating = 5

My neck is absolutely KILLING me. Can't somebody invent a little booth you walk into every morning that runs a little test on all your body parts and fixes everything? Come on, Korea. Enough razors, give us something we can USE!

Dude, check out the boner The Hollies pulled in naming this album. They totally-ass left the door wide open for me to write, "Distant Light? More like PISSED-IN SHITE, if you ask me!!!!!" I wouldn't do that because it's an okay record, but still. Come on people - use your brain when you name your album.

This album's largest error is its attempt to prove that The Hollies, one of the most pop-based and least African-American groups in rock and roll history, has "soul" and "roots." Luckily, they cram four of their five awkward attempts to emulate black music (gospel, blue-eyed soul) and "authentic" American music (country-blues-rock, twangy swamp rock) right at the beginning, so you can just start the album at track 5 and enjoy yourself a nice hooky EP of rock'n'roll, pop-rock, folk-rock, art-rock, nostalgia-rock and ballad-nonrock. AND ONE OF THEM IS "LONG COOL WOMAN IN A BLACK DRESS"!!!!

Perhaps you haven't heard "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress." Or perhaps you're one of the many who have mistaken it for Creedence Clearwater Revival even though it doesn't sound a bit like Creedence Clearwater Revival. But I must tell you -- I love "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress." In fact, it might be my favorite Hollies song after "Stop Stop Stop." And this in spite of its beyond-generic chord choogling and the fact that they waste their darkest, coolest guitar line ever as a 15-second intro that never shows up again! It's just a simple, short, straightforward rock and roll song, with a terrific Southern-tinged shout-sing vocal delivery, tight bouncy playing, a gritty guitar tone, and a fun little story about an FBI sting of some sort. I suppose at some point I should memorize the actual lyrics so I'll stop walking down the street going, "Zubba zibby zubb-ah V.A. MAN!" But then, familiarity with the chorus hasn't stopped me from singing it as "That long cool woman had nice ball-all-alls!" so who's to say.

At any rate, "L.C.W.I.A.B.D." is by far the most exciting piece of music on the album, although the emotional Byrdsy "To Do With Love" would have made a great second single. (Much better than the bland "Long Dark Road" at any rate, though the chorus of that one gets pretty complicated as it goes).

In summation, about half of this album is (my dixie) wrecked by The Hollies' misguided attempt to be The Band (or '69-'71 Stones). But the other half gives you what you came for - vocal harmonies, memorable melodies and instrument-packed arrangements.

Seriously though, why on Earth would anybody want to sound like The Band? Their sloppy redneck gospel-soul always makes me feel like I'm standing in a Civil War-era fort built from unfinished wood, all covered in nauseating black tar and splinters.

Which got me to thinking, "What if ALL our favorite rock groups made me feel like I was standing in some sort of structure?" I think it would go something like this....

"Tool makes me feel like I'm standing in a bottom-heavy ivory tower with no foundation!"

"Linkin Park makes me feel like I'm standing in a nursery school filled with screaming, soiled babies!"

"Pink makes me feel like I'm standing inside a three-bedroom, two-bathroom vagina!"

"The Red Hot Chili Peppers make me feel like I'm standing in a frat house full of gay, coupling men!"

Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say "All our favorite rock groups"? I of course meant "Celebrities Who Can't Write."

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Greatest Hits - Capitol 1973
Rating = 8

Under normal circumstances, I'd tell a Greatest Hits album to take a hike, but in the Hollies' case, only 5 of these 12 hits were included on the U.K. albums I just reviewed! Yeps, aside from 2 For Certain Becauses, 2 Distant Lights and 1 Butterfly, all of these songs were originally released only as singles. Furthermore, this album includes every single Hollies song I personally have ever heard on the radio (aside from the 1983 cover of "Stop! In The Name Of Love," which is hardly a 'must own'), so if you're looking for a quick jolt of Allan Clarke goodness, you'd have to be up the khyber (jukebox) to pass this up!

Hits include the album tracks "Stop Stop Stop" and "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress," along with singles "Bus Stop" ("Bus stop wet day, she's there I say 'Please share my umbrella'"), "Carrie Anne" ("Hey Carrie-Ah-anne, what's your game now? Can anybody play?"), "Look Through Any Window" ("Look through any window yeah - what do you see-ee?"), "On A Carousel" ("Ridin' along on a carou-se-e-e-el, tryin' to catch up to you") and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" ("He ain't heavy, he's m never mind). Now let's look objectively at each of these non-LP hits, with a critical eye toward determining exactly wherein their aesthetic appeal lies.

"Bus Stop" - FUCKIN' RULES!!!
"Carrie Anne" - HOLY FUCKIN' SHIT! THIS SONG FUCKIN' RULES!!!!
"On A Carousel" - HAVE YOU HEARD THIS FUCKIN' SONG???
"Look Through Any Window" - seems okay
"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" - sucks

Now for a few personal observations about these and other included songs from throughout the history of England's The Hollies:

"Bus Stop" - This melody is far too tense and anxious for a song about falling in love, but then the protagonist is planning to get his dick lopped off so that might be part of the problem.

What do you mean? How else could one interpret the line, "Some day her name and mine are going to be the same"? They'll both be named 'Stephanie'!

"Carrie-Anne" - This adorable childlike P. Diddy (pop ditty) proves that a song can be as sugary-sweet as a fruitberry rainbow without having to sound like a cartoon for 18th century retarded children. Thank God they didn't wait another year to record it or it would be covered in flutes.

"Look Through Any Window" - Another song by "Bus Stop" author Graham Gouldman of The Ramones' Pleasant Dreams fame, this one doesn't appear to express any emotions at all. The guitar arpeggios are lovely (and who can deny the 'highways/biways' part?), but the mood of the vocal melody is so blandly neutral that it's never been one of my personal favorites. Plus the lyrics say NOTHING AT ALL about ANYTHING AT ALL! Basically, the point of the song is that people do things. WOW!!!

"On A Carousel" - This light pop ballad took me a while to enjoy - on first listen, its straining up-and-down vocal line is a bit much to take. I've grown to love it though, especially once the group vocals come in.

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" - If The Grass Roots had been capable of writing even worse songs than they wrote in the early '70s, they might have come up with this abysmal, 0.1-mile-an-hour, hookless glop of adult contemporary muzak. I have tried to enjoy this song so many times, in so many different moods, but it's no use. Aside from the title line, I still don't even have a clue how any of the song goes! It's completely non-descript!

And you're talking to a person who loves "Wichita Lineman"! So it's not like I'm Bob Gimmeahook or something!

The other two non-LP tracks are worthless Merseybeat joint "Just One Look" and excellent mature ballad "King Midas In Reverse" (aside from the fruity middle part with the flutes. Come on now, with the flutes).

So here is the full success rate of these successful singles on the US charts, according to some guy online who might be lying for all I give a shit:

"Bus Stop" - #5
"Carrie-Anne" - #9
"Stop, Stop, Stop" - #5
"Look Through Any Window" - #32
"Dear Eloise" - #50
"Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" - #2
"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" - #7
"Just One Look" - #98 (!? Wow! What a SMASH!)
"King Midas In Reverse" - #51
"Pay You Back With Interest" - #28
"Long Dark Road" - #26
"On A Carousel" - #11

Where is #40 hit "Jennifer Eccles"? Perhaps we'll never know.

Where is #93 hit "Do The Best You Can"? Perhaps we'll never know.

Where is #6 hit "The Air I Breathe"? They hadn't recorded it yet.

Where is #56 hit "Sorry Suzanne"? I don't know; you'd really have to ask the number 56.

Where is #82 hit "I Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top"? Perhaps we'll never know.

Where is UK #1 hit "I'm Alive"? Perhaps ljsadkgh

Where is 1964 UK #4 hit "Here I Go Again"? On the self-titled Whitesnake LP.

Where is 1964 UK #7 hit "We're Through"? Perhaps we'll never be made aware.

Where is 1963 UK #8 hit "Stay"? Gone.

Where is 1965 UK #9 hit "Yes I Will"? Perhaps we'll never no (I won't).

So you see, The Hollies' Greatest Hits is a complete collection of every hit you could possibly ever desire from Bismarck, North Dakota's legendary Hollies, named after '50s rock and roll star Buddy Ebsen.

Reader Comments

DRosenberg@gcigroup.com
I agree with your description of Carrie Anne. It gets a 10 from me. A perfect song. If anyone asks what 60ís British Invasion pop was all about, this is the song to play.

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Romany - Polydor 1972
Rating = 4

What the...!? This isn't "Ramony" at all! Where are the buzzsaw guitars and speedy 4/4 beat? Where are the lyrics about sniffing glue and the everybody dying of cancer? Come on now, think about your album title before you name it.

It was around this time that Allan Clarke thought to himself, "Hay, Nash is making a stash of cash with Crosby and Stills. I want to do that, as well." With two of the few remaining former Byrds sharing his surname, he knew that a rival trio would just confuse everybody (eg "Clark, Furay and Clarke"/"Clarke, Messina and Clarke"), so he opted for a completely solo career -- one that would ultimately result in such gigantic power hits as " ." (UPDATE AS NECESSARY)

The Leftover Hollies, knowing full well that the last thing anybody ever turned to The Hollies for was the singer or the guy who wrote all the good songs, replaced Allan with foreign-made car Mikael Rikfors, whose voice I might describe as 'a cross between Allan Clarke and Jim Rutledge of Bloodrock fame' or 'a calmer Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad fame.' In other words, his voice was slightly lower and cooooooooooler than Allan's, but not really all that low or coooooooool compared to everybody else in the world. Also, he's not coooooooooooooool; there's a piece of cruller icing stuck under my o key.

Mikael Rikfors (anagram for "I'm A Loser -- FIKK!") does a perfectly fine job, but he's handicapped by inarguably sub-par material. First of all, The Hollies penned a mere two of these twelve songs -- and of these two, the only one that's any good at all is "Touch," which the new singer brought with him! The other ten consist of three covers (David Ackles, Judee Sill and Jubal) and seven songs written expressly for the band by former Greatest Show On Earth vocalist Colin Horton Jennings and his little friends. And that kinda spells 'failure' right there -- not because of Jennings, but because it blatantly tells the world, "Hey! Without Allan and Graham, we can't write dick!"

And last of all, the performances have absolutely NO ENERGY. And yes, it's interesting to hear a band generate nitric oxide energy through the mere playing of inst

And last of all, the performances have absolutely no energy. With their focus on adult pop piano, laidback acoustic strumming, relaxed vocal harmonies and slow-to-midtempo beats, the songs sound more like Elton John and Crosby, Stills & Nash than anybody ever should, for any reason (including threat of physical violence to a loved one). Even the supposed 'rockers' are just hookless faux-glam bores plodding along at sub-zero speeds. How can they say this crap is "Ramony"? That's a great joke, thought I'd reprise it for you there.

Four of the songs work for me, which is more than I can say for my white slaves. Come on, clean the toilet or it's back to Manila you go, lady!

Somebody else review this for a while; I'm too hilarious.

Why, hello there. I'm Franklin Delano Roosevelt and I thought I'd drop in from the grave to say a few words about The Hollies' Romany LP while Mark Prindle is out somewhere being hilarious. Speaking for myself, I enjoy four of these songs tremendously. The first has already been named by my predecessor -- Rickfors' "Touch" is a splendidly somber dark ballad that could've passed for Bloodrock had it been less acoustic guitar-oriented. Jennings' "Delaware Taggett And The Outlaw Boys" is another fine track, an at least semi-energetic honky tonk rocker in 6/4 time. Number three song of choice is Jennings' title track, a bit-too-long but otherwise lovely acoustic ballad. And final of note is Jubal cover "Courage Of Your Convictions," which pairs the "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" bass line with great stereo guitar interplay and an enjoyably circular chord sequence. I guess it's true what they say about Ju's (Jews) and their bals (balls)!

I apologize for that. It seems I caught a dose of the hilariousness that has so plagued the Internet's Mark Prindle on this day. Now if you'll excuse me, I should really finish penning my "New Deal In Hell" legislation. Also there's a bunch of Slants down there due for a relocation firehole.

Hi, this is Elton John. When I'm not sharing love with a beautiful woman, I like to listen to albums that sound like a cross between me and Crosby, Stills & Nash. That's why I listen to The Hollies' Romany on a near-daily basis.

Reader Comments

tad033@hotmail.com
Clearly this album was a template 4 the later Alan Parsons Project. Parsons produced it, & this album sounds like much of his stuff, beautifully produced but lacking in rock&roll punch, kinda mechanical in places.
BUT, I think Art Rock fans would probly like ROMANY a lot. There's at least 1/2adozen great songs on it: "Magic Woman Touch," "Slow Down" (which almost sounds like the "old" Hollies & is the closest thing to rock&roll here), "Blue in the Morning," and of course the "moody" stuff -- "Words Don't Come Easy," "Romany" & "Touch." I thot "Delaware Taggett," "Jesus was a Crossmaker" & "Courage of Your Convictions" were all kinda cheesy & stupid.
& I read that Mikael Rikfors could barely speak English, which Xplains his thick Svedish accent on some of this.

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Out On The Road - Hansa 1973
Rating = 4

THE ROOF
A Mark Prindle film
Written by Mark Prindle
Starring Mark Prindle
Directed by Mark Prindle
Produced by Mark Prindle

SCENE ONE

(*Johnny walks through doorway onto roof, holding plastic bottle of water*)

Johnny: "I did not hate it! It's not true! It's bullshit! I did not hate it! I DID NOOOOOOT!!!! Oh, hi Mark."

Mark Prindle: "Oh hey Johnny, what's up?"

Johnny: "I have a problem with The Hollies' German-released 1973 LP Out On The Road; it says that I hate it."

Mark Prindle: "What!? Well, do you?"

Johnny: "No, it's not true! Don't even ask! What's new with you?"

Mark Prindle: "Oh, I'm just sittin' up here thinkin', you know? I got a question for you."

Johnny: "Yeah?"

Mark Prindle: "Do you think '70s Hollies albums like to stink like their newest albums do?"

Johnny: "What makes you say that?"

Mark Prindle: "I don't know. I don't know; I'm just thinkin'."

Johnny: "I don't have to worry about that because Out On The Road is a fantastic record."

Mark Prindle: "Yeah man, you never know. Hollies albums are very strange these days. I used to know a Hollies album; it had eleven songs running the gamut from '70s CS&N-style folk-rock, blue-eyed soul and swamp rock to reggae, piano balladry and good old rock'n'roll. Unfortunately, several of the songs were corny and embarrassing, and even the best tunes were ruined by overuse of a disgusting wah-wah pedal. When one buyer found out about it, he beat up the album so bad it ended up in a garbage can on Guerrero Street."

Johnny: "Ha ha ha! What a story, Mark!"

Mark Prindle: "Yeah, you can say that again!"

Johnny: "I'm so happy I have you as my best friend! And I love The Hollies' Out On The Road LP so much."

Mark Prindle: "Yeah, man. Yeah, you are very lucky."

Johnny: "Well, maybe you should have a Hollies album, Mark."

Mark Prindle: "Yeah. Yeah, maybe you're right. Maybe I have one already. I don't know yet."

Johnny: "Well, what happened? Remember Buddy Holly, that's its name?"

Mark Prindle: "Buddy Holly!?"

Johnny: "Yeah."

Mark Prindle: "Yeah, I don't listen to it anymore. You know, it wasn't any good in bed; it was beautiful, but it had too many cover tunes."

Johnny: "That's too bad; my Out On The Road's great when I can get it."

Mark Prindle: "Oh man, I just can't figure Hollies albums out. Sometimes they're tuneful... Sometimes they're flat-out stupid... Other times they conjure up cool gravelly Box Tops vocals, lovely acoustic tones, high rockin' energy and expert three-part harmonies, and then completely waste them on cheesy chord changes and atrocious lyrics like 'We gotta teach people to live/We gotta teach children to sing' and 'Somehow this rock'n'roll music sure got a hold on me.'"

Johnny: "It seems to me like you're the expert, Mark!"

Mark Prindle: "No, definitely not an expert, Johnny."

Johnny: "What's bothering you, Mark?"

Mark Prindle: "Nothin', man."

Johnny: "Do you? Do you have some secrets?"

Mark Prindle: "Forget it!"

Johnny: "Why don't you talk? Come on!"

Mark Prindle: "Forget it, dude!"

Johnny: "Is it some secret?"

Mark Prindle: "No, forget it! I'll talk to you later!"

Johnny: "Well, whatever."

SCENE TWO

Mark Prindle: "'Mr. Heartbreaker' is a gorgeous piece of Terry Sylvester melancholia, and 'Slow Down, Go Down' is the most upbeat and harmonious banjo rocker the world's heard since 'Stop, Stop, Stop,' but otherwise this album kinda blows."

Johnny: "YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, PRINDLE!"

(*Johnny sprinkles rose petals on The Hollies' Out On The Road and rubs his dick against it*)

Reader Comments

Eric Myford, author of The Encyclopedia of Horror & Suspense Movies Volume I (sent, strangely, from the email account of Mark Prindle's girlfriend)
In this one Mark Prindle reviews a Hollies album. I thought it was going to pick up where the last one left off, but it didn't, it went in a new diection. It was mostly great, at times it was slow, but then it picks up again and is fast, overall I'd say there was really good direction. The writting was really good. The acting was not good, but that's mostly beacause this was written-I guess you can forgive that. It was really good at times. There was one scene that was a little violent but it could've used more blood and guts. There was some breif nudity, but it was dick, which is okay, if you like that sort of thing. Overall, it was one of the best reviews by Mark Prindle- except I would have liked to see some more gore and tits.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All-Music Guide (sent, bizarrely, from the email account of Jim Laakso)
Although it hardly deserved it, his review of "Romany" -- Mark Pr!ndle's sequel to his earlier artistic and commercial breakthrough, his review of "Greatest Hits" -- turned out to be something of a flop, generating considerably less pageviews than its predecessor and generating no true hit trackbacks. Perhaps this downturn in views was due to the harder cock-based direction he pursued on "Romany", perhaps the words he co-wrote with Heaven's Franklin Delano Roosevelt weren't quite prescient even if they were presidential, perhaps it was just a matter of timing, but the review just didn't click with a larger audience, through no fault of the criticism, which was the equal to that of "Hits". When faced with such a disappointment, some reviewers would crawl back to what made them a star, but not Mark Pr!ndle. Although he does pump up the scatology on 2011's review of "Out On the Road", it's way too simple to call the review a return to "Greatest Hits" -- Pr!ndle is far too complex to do something so straightforward. No, Mark is complicated, often seemingly contradictory: he tears down an album that "kinda blows" like Paris Hilton just as easily as he flaunts his bling in his review of Paul Simon's "Songs From the Capeman"; he celebrates that "You can say that again"; he'll swagger and snarl and swear like a sailor, then turn around and write sweet reviews of support for a teenager like a young Paul McCartney, or a knowingly melancholy reflection like "Building the Wall"; he'll collaborate with Amarillo Records hitmaker Gregg Turkington on one page, then turn around and bring in Seb Hunter for support on a stripped-down Hanoi Rocks page. He'll try anything, and he does on "Out On the Road. It Ping-Pongs between dense critical anthems and fuzzy power zings, stripped-down folk-crit and anthemic power opinions, hard rock subjectivism powered by electro-thoughts and danceable musings written with the zeal of a rocker. It's not just that Pr!ndle tries a lot of different styles, it's that he seizes the freedom to hurl insults at both Buddy Holly and a sleazoid who tried to pick him up on Guerrero Street, or to end a paragraph with a cry of "YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, PRINDLE!" Far from sounding cow-towed by the reaction to "Romany", he sounds liberated, writing reviews that are far riskier and stranger than anything else in mainstream criticism in 2011. And it's a testament to his power as both a writer and a persona that for this review, even though he's working with producer/director/actor Tommy Wiseau, Tommy Wiseau, and Tommy Wiseau's cohort, Tommy Wiseau -- his most mainstream collaborators since Scott Prindle and geocities.com helmed his 1996 debut, markprindle.com -- he sounds the strangest he ever has, and that's a positively thrilling thing to read. That's because he not only sounds strange, he sounds stronger as a writer and grammarian, as convincing when he's penning the bluesy "Hollies albums are very strange these days" as when he's taunting and teasing on "Do you think '70s Hollies albums like to stink like their newest albums do?" or "It had too many cover tunes" or when he's typing a propulsive piece of pure poop like "Johnny ... rubs his dick on it." In other words, he sounds complex: smart, funny, sexy, catchy, and best of all, surprising and unpredictable. This is the third review in a row where he's thrown a curve ball, confounding expectations by delivering a critique that's wilder, stronger, and better than the last. And while that's no guarantee that "Out On the Road" will be a bigger hit than "Romany", at least it's proof positive that there are few pop critics more exciting in the 2000s than Mark Pr!ndle.

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Hollies - Polydor 1974
Rating = 3

It's really cool when albums are terrible, and even especiallier cool when an ex-member of the band returns specifically to record said terrible album. This was the fate of Allan Clarke on returning (1977-1979) to the wire of The Hollies in the Spring of '74. Here's my impression of the recording sessions:

"Hay, this is a greta bunch of ballads, bad rock and rednecky guitar licks we've got here."
"Greta"?
"I mean 'great' That was a typo."
"I love this first song that apparently is supposed to be reggae, based on the echoey effect we put on the drums."
"Reggae? Why does it have a harmonica? Also, it's terrible."
"I know! It's very slow and awful! Hay look at this countrified bubblegum novelty song I wrote for track two."
"You know what would be great for that? A jokey gravelly vocal delivery, stupid high-pitched back-up singing, a sax solo and handclaps."
"That's a grate idea. I'll call the escort service."
"Hay, do you like this heartfelt, mournful acoustic ballad I wrote?"
"Yes, it's very pretty. But it could use some corny strings to make it sound really fake and cynical."
"Dude, that's a grate idea. Now how about his one with the glam chords and no melody?"
"I know! It's terrific! I also think we've got a real hit with this light-hearted hick-country boisterous piece with the triangle."
"I know, I loved playing the triangle. I want to thank you again for allowing me to play the triangle on that track."
"Hay it's no problem. I had envisioned a wood block actually, but you really made that triangle shine."
"I have a question about one of the songs though."
"Shoot."
"Well, I was wonde-"
"No, I mean 'Shoot me.' I can't remember how to write a decent song. Remember the '60s? Those were magical times. I never would have written a bad funk rock song with everything mixed through a phaser/flanger effect in the '60s. I especially wouldn't have added a synclavier to make it sound 'tough.'"
"Hay come on now, this is great material for our comeback album entitled Hollies. For example, have you heard this laidback feel-good electric guitar rocker for relaxing at the end of a week? Just let those warm CSN harmonies bask all over your sun-caked drenchbody."
"But why are there bongos and harmonica in there? How does that help?"
"It helps it suck more!"
"Good point! Hay listen - while you were saying those last five words, I wrote a dull 50's piano ballad!"
"That's fantastic! And look at this -- I'm playing 'Long Cool Woman With A Black Dress' but with different lyrics!"
"That's fantastic! We're really back on top now!"
"Check this out; a gorgeous melancholy ballad that sounds like mid-70s Pink Floyd!"
"I LOVE it! How about I add some horrible noise that sounds like a rednecky sitar?"
"What?"
"Don't worry! I'll take care of it!"
"Wait a minute -- what's this good song doing in here?"
"Oh no! Did a good one sneak by?"
"Yeah, it's a touching, romantic ballad that sounds like something the Everly Brothers or Roy Orbison might have done."
"Oh, 'The Air That I Breathe'? Don't worry about that - it's a cover tune; nobody'll listen to it anyway."
"Awesome! Then we have achieved Maximum Suckery!"
"Who's got the marijuana bottle?"
"Hay, I thought we had a French singer."
"No no, we ate him after the plane crash."
"Oh yeah! That was hilarious. Hilarious and tasty."
"What the? Hey, these aren't brown smelly pants at all!"
"Oh, I did that when you were passed out on the head."
"Killer!"

I don't like to do impressions, but I thought that'd be the best way to avoid spending even one extra second of time reviewing this hideous pile of middle-aged people with no melodic ideas gAORbage. "Lucy you're a floozy - you ain't choosy." Yeah, good one. If you can find "The Air That I Breathe" and "Pick Up The Pieces Again" somewhere on the Illegaldownloadternet, download 'em post-haste. Then go thank that guy in the Strokes for his dad having written "The Air That I Breathe"

Then tell him the last Strokes album was a piece of shit and his father's very disappointed in him and wants him to give all his money to Mark Prindle, as punishment.

Oh, one more thing. One of the songs features the following lyrics:

"Crying Curly Billy Silly with his colt he calls filly
Let me in I gotta hide
Well everybody was crying, sighing Sam McGee's dying
No one to protect our town
Curly Billy Silly with his colt he calls filly,
He's gonna shoot your sheriff down"

I guess it's true what they say - "Rock 'n' Roll Dreams'll Come Through!"

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Another Night - Polydor 1975
Rating = 4

After that last whopper of a stinker, it was great to see the Hollies make a total comeback. This album has three good songs on it.

You see, there comes a time in most every band's life when they must realize that they're too old to perform any more viable rock music. For The Hollies, this time came in 1967, when they were all about 23.

For some reason, this just popped into my head and I actually chuckled out loud at it. This hardly bodes well for the future of my sense of humor:

"You're all worthless and weak! Now drop and give me one."

I don't know. The idea of a drill sergeant forcing his men to give him one push-up just struck me as whimsical for a moment. Perhaps it's moments like these that result in albums like Another Night. THE GIST: Lots of basic but pretty ballads, and some awful "rock and roll." Acoustic guitars, string sections, very pretty vocal harmonies. Too many standard chord changes you've heard a bagazijillion times. Five of ten songs are ballads; remainder include dark groovy sex-rock, slow mood pop, one-chord '50s r'n'r, bad '80s ELO r'n'r and 'tough' blues-influenced rock. Most pleasing tracks include nighttime intrigue jazzy guitar funk-synth title track ("Another night, Saturday night - and I'm losing!"), melancholy but beautiful strummy ballad "Lonely Hobo Lullaby," and harmony showcase ballad (and single) "I'm Down," an interesting lyric from the point of view of a man who has just learned that he was adopted as a child. Any true story angle to this? Anyone know? Least pleasing tracks include corny old-time rocker "Look Out Johnny (There's A Monkey On Your Back)" and almost non-existent ballad "Lucy." Other tracks include the other five songs on the album.

Listen closely for some dissonant circus organ, harmonica, brass, slide guitar, pedal steel and sitar, almost none of which sound appropriate within the context of their songs. Example: a sitar solo lodged buffoonically in the middle of a macho blues-rock song. As if to say, "Hey, we may be tough guys, but we also like to take a magical fairy ride every once in a while."

One of the songs is a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "4th of July, Asbury Park"; the others are originals, as evidenced by the song title "Time Machine Jive." Normally one doesn't name a song "Time Machine Jive," but The Hollies have thrown all convention out the window to bring you the latest in state-of-the-art terrible song titles.

Here are some lyrics from Another Night, along with assholish commentary from some asshole:

"Look out girl You're gonna get caught ooh/Getting caught means I'm gonna lose you"

That was a great example of a way to write a couplet when you can't think of anything that rhymes with "you".

"Come silver surfin', you'll know you had a ride/My Star Trek music's gonna take me high"

Star Trek references were awesome in 1976.

"Look out Johnny there's a monkey on your back/You better beware there Johnny 'cause the monkey's packin' a gat"

This would be one of those 'mixed metaphors' you may have read about. Also, The Hollies = Gangsta Rap 4eva.

"I couldn't love another woman/Lucy please stay/Baby baby/Baby Lucy please oh won't you stay/I need you I need you/Please don't go please don't go/Lucy please please won't you stay/I want you to know that I love you/I love you/I'm gonna miss your sweet love/Lucy won't you stay/I need you, I need you/Please don't go, please don't go/Lucy, please, please, won't you stay/I want you to know that I love you/I love you/I'm gonna miss your sweet love/Lucy, won't you stay"

Granted, she's dying, so I do hope it's not based on a true story. Still, the song is awful. LOOK AT IT!

Now let's hear it for an abrupt ending.

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Write On - Polydor 1976
Rating = 3

This is another one of those mid-70s albums that DEMANDED the creation of punk rock. Unless you like the idea of your Dad and some guys at his work trying to "rock out" and be "dancey" and play "ballads," I recommend avoiding this selection of poor, bland songwriting, mostly expressed through the instrumental media of piano, acoustic guitar and dumb synth tones.

With all the gutlessness of a band playing at the poolside bar of a beach, The Hollies' mellow adult contemporary ballads are interspersed with such exciting diversions as overcheery reggae/Cajun-flavored pop, Latin beat pseudo-funk, rollicking tuneless piano choogle, and slow intrigue-ridden synclavier 'rock.' "Love Is The Thing" is a brilliant track - sad, eerie, drenched in bell tones, echoey piano and a synth that sounds like a puppy passing gas - but nothing else even comes close. The title track features lovely vocal harmonies and interestingly seems to confront the band's recent commercial failures head-on ("Even though there's no one listening to your song - write on!"), but otherwise it's just negligible old person pop. "There's Always Goodbye" is likewise a very touching ballad, but is ruined by a lousy, unoriginal chorus. Then again, they didn't even write that one. 'Write On,' indeed!

I demand to know what happened to the band who wrote "Stop Stop Stop" and "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress." Why are they now telling me to "Sing your rock and roll with a touch of soul/Ballads with feeling, send your audience reeling"? I don't want to make anybody reel. And what do they mean by "Give 'em your licks, getting off on their kicks/Swayin' in motion to a rhythmic potion?" That I'm supposed to perform cunnilingus and then ejaculate when she kicks me in the face? But then who's going to clean all my rhythmic potion off the floor?

Furthermore, "So tough mixing it rough down in Harlem/There's no honky boys for miles around" doesn't promote unity in our community. And without unity, community is just 'comm.' And who's going to clean all my 'comm' off the floor?

So it's settled. Write On is a perfect album for wiping semen off the floor. Just curl the sides up slightly, sweep forward to scoop up the offending sperm, and deposit the whole mess into the album jacket.

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Russian Roulette - Polydor 1976
Rating = 4

"TANGLED UP IN SPEW" by Bob Dylan

Early this mornin' when the sun was shinin'
I was layin' in bed
Listenin' to Larry Hagman's ballsac
Bouncin' up and down on my head"

And the rest writes itself!

On a more Russian Roulette-related note: Get out your Disco Hat, everybody! It's Disco Time! So get our your Disco Pants! And your Disco Vest! And your Disco Bolo Tie! Don't forget your Disco Flip-Flops! Has anyone seen my Disco Sports Bra? And don't forget your Disco Prosthetic Limb! 'Cus it's Disco Time! So put on your Disco Leg Warmers! And don't forget your Disco Athletic Supporter! And your Disco Mittens! It's Disco Time! Where are your Disco Stirrups? And have you misplaced your Disco Retainer? Come on! It's Disco Time! Put in your Disco Diaphragm and get ready to Disco! I'll be the guy in the Disco Bubble!

Okay, now that you've got your Disco Adult Diapers and you're wearing your Disco Bicycle Shorts, let's talk about Russian Roulette, The Hollies' 'typically expert' voray into the Disco Dance Genre. A full 60% of these 10 songs (or .60) are sex-ay part-ay music: disco funk, disco dance, disco rock and disco ballads. They try to sound tough and erotic, but -- I mean, Christ it's the HOLLIES! How sensuous a sound are you going to get from the guys that did "Carrie Anne"?

Hint: the first song on the record is called "Wiggle That Wotsit."

Three positive things, though: I actually like a whole THREE of the songs! Check this out: (a) One of the disco-rockers sounds like The Electric Six! It's this dancey brooding bombastic catchy simmering hard rock song called "48 Hour Parole" that even includes the line "Gonna set this town on FI-YAH!" Obviously Allan Clarke isn't going to sing all macho goofy like the Electric Six guy, but otherwise the comparison is hilarious. Download it if you can find it anywhere! It's a great, fun, stupid song! (b) "My Love," one of the few non-disco songs, is a perfectly lovely soft rock '70s pop song with warm harmony vocals. It's even better than the balls-to-the-wall cock rocker of the same name by Paul McCartney! And (c) "Louise," one of the other few non-disco songs, sounds almost like early AC/DC with its goodtime Chuck Berry r'n'r guitaring and distorted stereo guitars! Then that saxophone comes in and ruins the illusion (not that the wimpy harmony vocals exactly scream "Bon Scott," you understand).

The other two non-disco scorchers have their moments (Todd Rundgreny "Lady Of The Night," and the beautiful, strangely harmonized wordless chorus of "Be With You"), but the entire other half of the record is buried under hilarious "wicka-wucka-wicka-wucka" wah-wah pedal noise, synclavier funkin', trumpets, four-on-the-floor beats, macho guitar licks, hairy chests under half-unbuttoned shirts, gold chains, cocaine, mustaches, mirror sunglasses, bell-bottomed white pants, and hot tubs filled with naked women. Not all disco is bad, by any means. But most disco by The Hollies certainly is just that and more!

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A Crazy Steal - Polydor 1978
Rating = 1

Exhausted from all that hard work discoing on the last album, The Hollies decided to take it easy this time around and just write a bunch of piano-focused ballads and adult contemporary pop. Whether you hate Eaglesy country ballads, Santana-esque Latin lounge jazz, uptempo Billy Joel pop'n'roll, Vegas nightclub balladry, sax-enhanced lite-funk, inspirational religious ballads, '50s doowop ballads or Disney-tinged adult contemporary, you're sure to find plenty to loathe 'round A Crazy Steal. And it's not just the styles they choose; it's the melodies they don't bother writing. There is nothing here but stylistic decisions. "Let's do a piano ballad with strings," somebody says. "Okay, press 'record,'" says somebody else. And voila (pronounced "v-oil-ayyyyyy").

Almost miraculously, one of the songs is good. Even more confusingly, it's a POWER ballad! I call it 'track two'; you can probably find the real title somewhere online.

I'd have to be insane to waste any more time writing about this gigantic worthless bore, just as you would have to be insane to buy it, or even put forth the effort to steal it.

Hence the name, I suppose.

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Five Three One Double Seven O Four - Polydor 1979
Rating = 3

Completely exhausted from writing one good song for their last album, The Hollies decided to outsource the job this time out. And mister, when you've got the combined songwriting power of Murray "One Night In Bangkok" Head, Pete "Sunshine Of Your Love" Brown, Gary "Don't Throw It All Away" Benson, Gary "Procol Harum" Brooker and Tony "The Lonely Bears" Hymas, you have every right to deserve a much, much better album than Five-Three-One-Double-Seven-Oh-Four. Instead, it's essentially a rerun of the last record -- more slow ballads and adult contemporary pop. With FOUR keyboardists!!! What are they - Kraftwerk?! Who do they think I am - The Human League?! Where are we now - The Screamers!? Who's in the yard - Throbbing Gristle!? What's the weather look like - Cabaret Voltaire!? I'll tell ya what -- HORSESHIT!!!

On the other hand, if you're a DJ at an orthodontist's office, this might be just what you're looking for. No jarring "energy" or unnerving "interesting things." The album title is great too, displayed on the album cover as a calculator reading "5317704". Except the '4' looks more like an upside-down 'h.' Do you get it???? Turn your monitor upside down and read it!

See that!?

It says "BOOBLESS"!!

Okay, it doesn't really say "BOOBLESS."

I've taken the puberty of summing up each of these 10 songs in just a few words. I've done this for you, the reader, to learn from, in reference to not buying this album. Here, it follows:

- "Say It Ain't So, Joe" - Slow adult contemporary pop with lovely chorus. Not terrible.
- "Maybe It's Dawn" - Slow piano ballad with old '50sy beat. Could be Elton John. Chorus isn't horrible. Rest stinks.
- "Song Of The Sun" - Funky electric piano line grounded by dull midtempo drum pattern. Slow, watery pop.
- "Harlequin" - Great song! Guitar arpeggio-haunted ballad written by Gary "Procol Harum" Brooker and sung by Terry "Stallone" Sylvester.
- "When I'm Yours" - Ballad with chorus reminiscent of "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Worst song I've ever heard in my life.
- "Something To Live For" - Inspirational adult contemporary pop with corny keyboard tone. I will never in my life hear a song that sucks as bad as this terrible song sucks.
- "Stormy Waters" - Super-slow Eagles-style countryish ballad. If you dipped my head in a bucket of nitric acid, the sizzling of my ears being eaten away would be preferable to this ghoulishly rank, literally stench-ridden pile of festering shit on a turd.
- "Boys In The Band" - Generic adult contemporary pop with skittery-woobly synth effects. I would sooner stab a pitchfork prong into each of my ears and cram them through the sides of my skull until they connect in the center of my brain than even look at the spot on the vinyl where this song resides again.
- "Satellite Three" - Co-written by an actual member of The Hollies! A church organ plays eerie, dark sci-fi notes in the album's single most creative moment. Unfortunately, the rest of the song is dull normal pop (with a slow disco part behind the guitar solo).
- "It's In Everyone Of Us" - Allan sings by himself above a very quiet keyboard in this David Pomeranz cover. Styx's Dennis DeYoung also covered this hookless ballad during his solo 'career' 16 years later, which should give you some indication of its quality. If you so much as THINK about mentioning this song title in my presence, my anus will eject billions of razor-sharp AIDS worms aimed right at your bloodstream.

Otherwise great fucken ablum.

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Buddy Holly - Polydor 1980
Rating = 3

Deck the halls with bowels of Holly, Fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-lart (fart). After 16 years of denying that they named themselves after Buddy Holly, The Hollies decided that they did indeed name themselves after Buddy Holly and released this 15-song album of cover tunes.

Oh wait, make that '16-song'. I forgot "Reprise."

Let me stress right off the baseball bat here that I'm not much of a Buddy Holly fan. I like a few of his songs (particularly "Everyday" for some reason), but in general, this type of old-time rock and roll just isn't the kind of music that soothes my soul. I'm too young to reminisce about those days of old, so I don't like that old-time rock and roll.

Don't take those old records off the shelf. Or you'll be listening to them by yourself. Today's music smokes much less pole. I hate that old time rock and roll. Feel free to take me to a disco. You might even get me out on the floor. But in ten minutes I'll be late for the door, if they play old time rock and roll.

Still hate that old time rock and roll. That kind of music has a pud in its hole. I'd rather quit the docks and go on the dole than hear that old time rock and roll.

I'd go to hear them play a tango. Don't even mind the blues or funky old soul. There's only one sure way to get me to go (home). Start playing old time rock and roll. Call me an asshole, call me what you'll say. But I don't squirt to "That'll Be The Day." Today's music actually isn't very good either. But it's better than old time rock and roll.

Still hate that old time rock and roll. That kind of music doesn't make me LOL. Granted, it's 10,000 times better than Billy Joel. But I still hate that old time rock and roll.

Having said that (in a 1979 hit single), I should add that the person who posted Buddy Holly online for me actually is a Buddy Holly fan -- and he only gives this album a 2! So surely there's some disconnect going on here. In my opinion, (a) Buddy Holly wrote a handful of good songs and a bunch of others that have aged like a shitty boring wine, (b) The Hollies are capable of creating some absolutely gorgeous vocal harmonies, but only do so about four times on this record, and (c) even if Buddy Holly had written 15 good songs and the Hollies sang beautifully in all of them, the record would still boast what might be the corniest early '80s production to have ever stunk up these good Christian ears. (They converted!)

Seriously, who thought it would be a good idea to bury the "Peggy Sue" guitar line under synthesized 'BWOOP!'s and a vomitously-toned 'Eastern-flavored' keyboard break? Which rocket surgeon chose to improve "I'm Gonna Love You Too" by playing it at half-speed on a 'byeeoop-byeeoop' sci-fi synth and then tossing a fiddle on top? On what Ivy League college campus might I find the brilliant mind that deduced, "Hay, 'Peggy Sue Got Married' would totally be better as a reggae song'"? How many MENSA meetings must I attend before finding the visionary who turned "Everyday" into silky sax-driven smooth jazz? And most importantly, "Reprise" is three minutes of song fade-outs. Reprised. In other words, "Reprise" represents - at long last - tangible proof of the existence of God.

One thing for which I will give Allan Clarke and his cohorts credit is that they at least altered the instrumentation throughout the songs, so they don't all sound the same. Some are presented in full band performances, others are totally synthesized. Some are piano-focused, others are buried in synths. Some highlight the singers' stunning harmonies, others are just a bunch of synthesizers. But they all have one thing in common: they're all reprised in "Reprise."

Actually I don't even know if that's true. Some of them are though, and that alone makes "Reprise" a reprise worth reprising.

Trainspotters should enjoy hearing Allan sneak in a few lines of "Words Of Love" at the end of "Everyday," particularly as "Words of Love" is one of Buddy Holly's few great songs and they didn't bother covering it on here. Ditto for "Not Fade Away," a classic shuffling rocker that somehow didn't make The Hollies' Top 15. Too busy answering all those requests for "Tell Me How," I guess.

Yeah, "Tell Me How TO SUCK!!!!"

Actually, wouldn't it be awful if you actually did need somebody to tell you how to suck? How would babies get their milk!? Babies can't read!!! They'd all DIE!!!!!

I wouldn't miss them though. Pricks. Fuck you, babies!!!! (*holds up middle finger at babies*)

Reader Comments

bpony@mts.net
As far as this album goes, I seriously can't remember when Buddy Holly did adult fucking contemporary music. Thank god The Hollies have reminded us that Buddy Holly wasn't into rock and roll, but was actually trying to follow in the footsteps of Pat Fucking Boone. There's only two songs I really enjoyed on this album. "Heartbeat" sounds wonderful, mainly because the synthesizers were mixed low enough to just be "filler" noise instead of screaming "HI and welcome to the EIGHTIES! We're going to wreck the fuck out of this great Buddy Holly song, distract you from the lovely harmonies of The Hollies, and make you wish this piece of shit never got remastered onto CD!"

The other song I like is the only decent up-tempo song on here called "Midnight Shift", again for it's lack of synthesizers.

This album sounds mushy and is almost as bad as "Staying Power". The only thing going for it is Allan Clarke sings on it.

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What Goes Around... - Atlantic 1983
Rating = 2

I thought I'd be nice and wash down the Rutgers gym as a favor to the women's basketball team, but I couldn't find my "nappy-headed hose."

Then I thought it'd be a nice gesture to send a humorous congratulatory card to the Duke lacrosse team, but I couldn't seem to access my "rapier"-sharp wit.

There, now that I've tackled all of today's racially-charged college sports headlines, let's talk What Goes Around....

Completely exhausted from spending over a decade in a terrible band, Terry Sylvester and Bernie Calvert said "Peace, and I'm outta here," leaving Clarke, Hicks and Elliott to cry into their bowls of soup. But then in an exciting news announcement that shook the world over, the band announced a reunion with its original high-pitched harmony vocalist songwriter god Graham Nash of Emerson, Lake and Nash fame! Fans patted each other on the back, pundits lauded praise upon high, and the band responded by releasing an album of corny '80s synths and awful songs written by other people. Kudos, guys! Thanks for the respect you've shown your fans!

The main awful songwriter is keyboardist Paul Bliss, who later joined the Moody Blues' traveling band when they realized that Patrick Moraz was an irreplaceable genius. And Ignorance is Bliss indeed (HA! HA! HE'S NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE!!!!) as this dated '80s synth pop includes nothing close to a decent hook. It all sounds like music that a teenaged girl should be singing (in 1983) -- pulsating fake beats, hilarious synth tones, predictable (and BAD) chord changes, and an overall sense that you're dealing with somebody who is simply not a good songwriter. The energy level is high, and quite frankly I'd find the dopey synthesizers kinda charming if there were catchy hooks to match (and seriously, how hard is it to come up with a decent riff on a synthesizer?), but these songs - be they dark, light, melancholy, angry, happy - never display any understanding of melodic construction at all. It's fucking AWFUL!

Two exceptions -- their hit cover of the Supremes' "Stop In The Name Of Love," though marred by almost off-key wiggly keyboards, adds a couple of new chord changes to the song that actually improve upon the original (unless they stole them from some earlier cover - if so, let me know!), and Mike Batt's "If The Lights Go Out" is a genuinely pretty Pointer Sisters-type synth-pop song with warm vocal harmonies and even a bit of guitar (a rarity on this record). It would have kicked even more ass had the word 'Womble' been in the title somewhere, but why trade skates for shoes?

That's a new proverb I just made up - "Why trade skates for shoes"? I know that most of my readers are elementary school teachers, so it'd be great if you could all insert that into your reading curriculum. Ex: "See Dick run. See Jane say 'Why trade skates for shoes?' See Dick enjoy Jane's proverb, as crafted by esteemed online music historian Mark Prindle." It works great in geography lessons as well, or health.

Most disappointingly of all, What Goes Around...-wise, is that aside from one or two very brief exceptions (bits of "Say You'll Be Mine," for example), the vocal harmonies could be by anybody. Graham Nash might as well have been outside polishing somebody's shoe for all the exciting high-pitched verve he brings to the proceedings. Thanks for nothing, Hollies. Thanks for nothing, Alan Tarney, former member of The Tarney/Spencer Band of Run For Your Life fame. Thanks for nothing, four different keyboardists and three different bassists. Thanks for everything, Wong Foo.

Best,
Julie Newmar

P.S. FUCK YOU, JIM BELUSHI!!!

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Staying Power - Polydor 2006
Rating = 1

THE GREATEST HOLLIES ALBUM IN 23 YEARS!!!!

Okay, now let me tell you about my dream and wishes. My dream and wishes is to one day wake up and find all five Yahoo! News headlines occupied by people apologizing for remarks. Oh sure, there have been some fantastic apology-for-remarks Yahoo! News headlines spread out over the past few weeks - "Ind. Exec Apologizes for Slavery Remark," "Bryan Ferry Apologizes for Nazi Remarks," "New Orleans Recovery Czar Apologizes for Remarks," "Imus apologizes for Rutgers Remark" -- but I think today's top celebrities could be doing a lot more apologizing, and it would be great if they could coordinate their apologies so that Yahoo! News would be forced to run them all at the same time, creating a veritable Wonderwall of Apologizing for Remarks (W.A.R.)!

Here are a few examples that today's top celebrities might consider:

"President Bush Apologizes for Virginia Tech Sympathy Remarks"
"Mayor Of Nagasaki Apologizes for Dying Remarks"
"Tom Cruise Apologizes for February-November 2005 Remarks"
"Mel Gibson Apologizes for Future Anti-Semitic Remarks"

See, that's almost a whole page of Yahoo! News headlines right there. Come on, today's top celebrities. Don't you realize that somebody somewhere is offended by something you're saying RIGHT NOW!?!? The next advertising boycott could be against YOU!!!! It's not worth the risk - APOLOGIZE! (after finding four other celebrities to apologize in 20-minute intervals on the same day until Yahoo! News' headlines are full. Thanks!).

Speaking of apologies, somebody sure-ass hella owes me a dick of one for making me sit through the silver ring of unnecessariness called Staying Power. More like GRAYING HOUR, if you ask how old they all are! Also, more like GAYING FLOWER, if you ask a homosexuality-related term used as a synonym for 'lightweight' or 'passive.' In addition, more like JERRY CLOWER, if you enjoy Southern-fried comedy antics.

Staying Power is The Hollies' attempt to dethrone Lewis Grizzard as the Clown Prince of Southern-fried humo

Staying Power is a slick, boring, hookless adult contemporary album recorded by Hollies guitarist Tony Hicks, Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott, and four no-talent Graham Nash wannabe's. Keyboardist Ian Parker? Who? Guitarist Steve Lauri? What? Singer Peter Howarth? Where? Bassist Ray Stiles? When? He was in a '70s band called Mud? Why? With these five simple pieces of information, I can write the lead paragraph of a news article. Then I'll make up a bunch of quotes, steal some crap from somebody else's article and VOILA! I'm in the New York Times.

There is absolutely no reason for this CD to exist. Two Hollies and four guys nobody's ever heard of do not equal a Hollies reunion. Nor did anybody even request a Hollies reunion, especially after the bungled attempt of 1983. Furthermore, out of six different band members, none of them even CO-wrote a single one of these 12 shitty, useless songs.

Additionally, without Allan Clarke's vocals, there is nothing about this release that sounds the tiniest bit like that old band you may have heard called "The Hollies." If anything, it sounds like a Survivor reunion album. Or one of those later Foreigner releases after they stopped playing rock music. Or a Peter Cetera album recorded while Peter Cetera was out of town. In short, it sounds like music from a soap opera. Slick, obvious, predictable, clean, completely lacking in melodic, musical or narrative substance. Soft adult pop to play in the background as a woman in her late 50's drives to work in the morning. The funniest thing is -- does this band actually TOUR as "The Hollies"? I would KILL EVERY BABY IN AMERICA for the chance to hear these empty old fuddy-duddies trying to recreate '60s pop magic like "Stop Stop Stop" and "Carrie Anne"!

Instrumentationally, there's a lot of clean electric guitar strumming with the occasional faux-rockin' (but turned way down, for the elderly) distorted lick. This layer of clean strum is then topped by a layer of smooth sparkly keyboard washes and smooth jazz Don Henley/Bruce Hornsby-style piano. The drums are often programmed beats, and the singer has a dull mid-range voice without a hint of personality. There are also no interesting vocal harmonies worth noting.

"Touch Me" is not a Doors cover. "Prove You Wrong" is not a Prong cover. "Suspended Animation" utilizes that despicable auto-tune vocal gimmick, a mere seven years after everybody else in the world ran it into the ground. My wife the apologist calls the album "r'n'b" and raves, "Well, at least it's not annoying." I call it "worthless and depressing" and rave, "Please somebody buy this from me on ebay."

Please note -- in grading this release, I rounded up from 0. I hate every single song on here. And guess who wrote 2/3rds of the album? That's right! Another guy from "Mud"! Why they didn't just change the band name from Hollies to Mud is beyond me, particularly since that's basically been their name since 1973. ZINg.

Sorry, I lost interest in that "ZING!" about halfway through.

Reader Comments

tad.baierlein@gmail.com
Mark, I think you're going a little too easy on the Hollies. You're the only person I've ever heard have a fondness for Pegasus the flying horse, and aside from the singles and Nash they really didn't have much to offer. I never thought you would get to the Hollies before the solo Beatles though. I mean, that John and Yoko Wedding Album is absolutely picturesque. It's like those two heroin junkies are fucking in my headphones! Electronic Sound! George always was the modest one. Try Spectacular Sound of Greatness! Seriously, please, it's been eleven years. I mean, you got to Shooby the human trombone before the solo-Beatles?

By the way, when I was 15 I compiled a list of my 100 favorite songs of all time. Want to know my top 5 (I bet you do!)
5. Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues
4. He Ain't Heavy - He's My Brother - The Hollies
3. Desperado - The Eagles
2. Yesterday - The Beatles
1. Something - The Beatles

I've been trying to justify that top 5 to myself lo these past 11 years

spotocin@adelphia.net
I am so fucking glad I have not heard this record.Jesus..get a young guy who sounds something like a young Clarke and play that back catalog from the 60s on the oldies circuit.Clarke had the pride not to muck up the bands name anymore...shame on Hicks and Elliott.

dcpurcell@aol.com
Why do you do these incredibly stupid and ignorant reviews? Just to amuse yourselves? You pick an incredibly easy target and then slam it pointlessly. Does your tiny minds and swollen egos feel better afterwards?

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Then, Now, Always - EMI 2010
Rating = 1

It's almost Christmas, so take these carols and shove them up your ass.

DECK THE HALLS
Deck the halls with lousy Hollies
Fa la la la la, la la la la
This album sucks.
Fa la la la la, la la la la
It sounds just like the last one but with more guitars
Fa
It's totally slicked-up adult pop like you might hear at an orthodontist's office in 1987.
Fa la, Fa lee

JINGLE BELLS
Jingle bells
Jingle bells
Jingle All The Way
Talk about a hilarious Arnold Schwarzenegger movie
Jingle All The Way

SILENT NIGHT
I'd rather have a silent night
Than one filled with this album
It's a bunch of obvious generic ballads
Like Disney or a soap opera, Gal Mum
I call my mother "Gal Mum"
That wasn't just a cheap rhyme for album
Dammit, I ended the second line with "album" again
Please don't call me "Cal Dumb"

WE THREE KINGS
We three kings of Wenceslas
Down the ships of ballant
All these songs were written by
Band friends with no talent

UNCLE PITUITARY GLAND
Hey there! Uncle Pituitary Gland
You're about the size of a pea
You're also known as Hypophysis
And you weigh 0.5 g
You're a protrusion off the bottom of the hypothalamus
At the base of the brain
You rest inside a small, bony cavity
Like my Dick rests inside Jane
Master gland!
Ampersand!
Master gland!
Mastergland & Mastergland, LLC

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT BE
The album inside is frightful
And the songs are bleedin' shiteful
Oops, I lapsed into British slang
Suck my wang! Suck my wang! Suck my wang!
The first song's a 'story of the band' riff
Even though there's only two guys left
Why are the songs so slow?
Christ, they blow! Christ, they blow! Christ, they blow!

WINTER WONDERVILLE
They still have the old drummer
Which makes the synth drums seem even dumber
A beautiful sound
Nowhere to be found
Walking in a winter wonderville
Mix Survivor with new Santana
Fleetwood Mac and a bandana
The Monkees' Justus
All smothered in pus
Walking in a winter wonderville

HANGOVERS
I'm always hung over
I'm hung like a horse!
Hangin' over your lip
What do you mean, "a divorce"?

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very lousy album
And if you ever heard it
You would hear a bunch of pabulum
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh at Tony Hicks
They never let poor Rudolph
Suck on all their reindeer pricks
Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say,
"Rudolph, with your lousy album
Go get me some coffee from 'Gal Mum.'"
'Cuz Santa calls his mother "Gal Mum'
He and I are alike that way
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Your nose is red because it's bleeding

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A new album by the Hollies
On the second day of Christmas, I pushed her out of a speeding car

ONE SONG IS KINDA NEW WAVEY, AND ANOTHER HAS A DISTORTED GUITAR DURING ONE PART
They're still awful though

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Buy buy buy all the Hollies - give them time to breathe. Buy buy buy all the Hollies - or they'll have to leave! (Save money by clicking on the album covers, which reveals previously hidden USED CD prices)

Or deck your halls with bowels of Hollies at www.markprindle.com!