The Hollies: The Clarke, Hicks & Nash Years track by track discussion thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by RedRoseSpeedway, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    [​IMG]

    I’m starting this thread to discuss just about every song recorded in order by The Hollies during the Clarke, Hicks & Nash years, as cataloged on the 6CD box set released in 2011.

    I know nearly 10 years ago there was an “album by album” discussion thread for their 60’s work, but it is locked now and didn’t last very long either. Many members have come and go since then, and after such a long time, I feel like their work could use some more admiration. This will be more of an exhaustive track by track thread of the songs released on the 6CD box set, barring the last 8 live tracks.

    I’ll post one song a day for us to discuss. The general rule is to stick to the song of the day, and that’s about it. I hope this thread gains some traction as it will take almost 5 months to get through!

    (We can skip the alternate versions of songs, as well as the foreign language versions, but they should be discussed along with their counterparts.)

    Let’s have some fun with The Hollies!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  2. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    Today’s song is “Whole World Over”



    “Whole World Over” is their first song on this set, from April of 1963. I think it’s pretty good! Clarke and Nash already had a strong harmony, and the harmonica is nice too. To me, it sounds like a very 50’s record, which is appropriate as this is the very early 60’s. The harmonica reminds me of some of the work on The Beatles “Please Please Me” album, particularly “Love Me Do”. It’s just standard beat music for its time. What do you think?
     
  3. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Great idea. I'm a big fan of this era Hollies.

    I found this box wonderfully packaged but the way the tracks are ordered and the mixed mastering sources are not ideal. It's annoying that several tracks have very noticeable digital 'clicks'.

    I recompiled it into the original albums with the singles, b-sides, unreleased stuff etc as bonus tracks on each one. I used the Original Album Series sets to do this too.
     
  4. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Like a lot of early Hollies material, Whole World Over is well played and sung 60s beat music. I like the innocence and unpretentiousness of music from this pre 'rock' era. It's good stuff that just sets out to be enjoyable.

    Their instantly identifiable harmony vocal blend is already in place.
     
  5. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    I just got the box for a few bucks because I had an Amazon gift card. Currently it’s all I own of The Hollies, but it’s 5 years worth of music! It’s not exactly ideal but it’s great for the money. The stuff that’s not on the standard albums, including the live show and foreign language tracks are nice to have. I’ve noticed the digital clicks too! It’s a bit annoying. I guess at some point I’ll have to repurchase this music, but I couldn’t pass it up for the price.
     
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  6. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    The Original Album Series doesn't have them. The first set is all mono, the second all stereo. If you get those it covers almost all the affected tracks. You'll only need the first set, but on the second you get the stereo Evolution mix, which is awful! It's a shame neither have the mono Butterfly, which I prefer but the stereo of that is fine too.
     
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  7. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    Good to know! Thank you
     
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  8. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    I've heard both "Whole World Over" and "So Lonely" mentioned as the first original Allan Clarke and Graham Nash wrote together. Different sources say different things. In any case, this is a lovely track with, as you say, nice two-part harmony. Tony Hicks will be adding his voice soon.

    I don't have this set (though God knows I have Hollies tracks from multiple other sources), so I won't know what's coming until it's posted. But this is a good start; if there are some early R&B covers coming up, I won't have much to say, as for me they represent the only really weak link in the Hollies' oeuvre. But they'll hit their stride soon enough.
     
  9. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    Best early album for me is “Hollies” their third album from 65, that’s when I feel like they started getting much better, although I do dig the first 2 records.
     
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  10. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    A great LP, with some of their best original songs and my favourite cover they did, but I'll wait until we reach that one...
     
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  11. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    [​IMG] Most new song entries will most likely be posted around 3-3:0-4:30 P.M. after work
     
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  12. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    Today’s song is “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me”



    This is a pretty good song, with a lot of nursery rhyme references and some tasty lead guitar playing by Tony. I believe that’s also him finally joining in on vocals, singing the “yea” responses. A nice energetic tune with some very solid drum work by Don Rathbone as well.
     
  13. It's a nice start. I think I have this one on the mono collection. The Harmonica is very nice. Ain't That Just Like Me is a cool raver. Another fun one.
     
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  14. extravaganza

    extravaganza Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA USA
    Nice idea. I’ll be following along and sporadically posting.
    “Whole World Over”: It’s nice that the set opens with an original. A competently pleasant little ditty obviously indebted to the Everly Brothers and to a lesser extent Buddy Holly.
    “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me” is another good performance, if not particularly exciting. A number of beat groups covered this song around this time (i.e. The Searchers) but the original by The Coasters is still the best.
     
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  15. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    The Hollies are right up there with The Beatles in regards to having fantastic early British Beat music. Those two groups did it best im0
     
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  16. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    I have to disagree about "(Ain't That) Just Like Me." I think this is a pretty lame performance overall, with unconvincing vocals. The Hollies make their usual mistake (shared by other British Invasion groups) of imaging that a breakneck tempo = excitement, which is not the case.

    Not to mention that they sing "Crackin' up over you" on each chorus, when that is only supposed to follow the Humpty Dumpty verse. The original has lyrics appropriate to each verse that precedes it.

    I think The Searchers' version is much better, particularly in the way the closing lines repeat and build in intensity. That's a much more focused performance.
     
  17. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    This is a good review! Thank you
     
  18. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern England
    Graham Nash has said 'Whole World Over' was the very first song he and Allan Clarke wrote circa 1961 - note only two singers feature reflecting their Everlys influence from the 'Ricky and Dane' era

    - Tony Hicks had initially joined the group purely as lead guitarist, while original drummer Don Rathbone features plus co-founder member Eric Haydock on bass guitar

    They often speeded up their covers due to the nature of the live shows in boisterous northern clubs then, many bands played songs faster live than later in the studio - some merseybeat groups actually sounded somewhat tame in the studio compared to their raw live sound

    the biggest issue early on was that with everybody doing many of the same songs in their live act the key thing was trying to make a cover of a well known normally American hit song sound DIFFERENT and just 'your' song - for example everybody sang 'Some Other Guy' !

    but each version was intentionally made different, hence The Hollies made their 'Ain't That Just Like Me' slightly different re lyrics as did The Searchers etc - The Hollies used a faster intense approach re a hit single idea (which worked as it charted for them) - Ron Richards edited Hicks guitar lines for the mono single, while say The Searchers were doing it as an album track thus did a more restrained indeed experimental approach repeating the title over and over...

    Brian Poole and The Tremeloes, Faron's Flamingos, The Dave Clark Five and The Hollies each did a version of 'Do You Love Me' and again each version is notably different
     
  19. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    Today’s song is “Hey What’s Wrong With Me”



    I like the very fast, energetic, twangy lead guitar, and the steady drums. The “ahhh” interludes remind me very much of The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout”.
     
  20. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern England
    Great lead guitar by Tony Hicks and a really powering bass guitar by Eric Haydock here on this early Nash-Clarke rocker one of three cuts at their first proper recording session on 4 April 1963 that were each released on singles reflecting how even from the word go The Hollies were fast workers in the recording studio and could 'nail' a finished number fit for release very quickly

    the band carefully rehearsed their songs beforehand so that they were ready to lay them down in the studio which was a key asset as they were given very limited studio time initially at Abbey Road

    Tony Hicks 'Duane Eddy' influence is apparent too in places and his terrific intro and repeated guitar hook stand out on this number

    again it's Clarke and Nash taking the vocals in close harmony reflecting the Everly Brothers influence more than anything

    this was used as the 'B' side of the first Parlophone single but arguably could easily have made the 'A' side itself (not the only Hollies single to boast that)

    in retrospect it's a pity that EMI staff producer Ron Richards unlike his colleagues George Martin and Norrie Paramor had less faith in his allocated band's songwriting abilities early on
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  21. Lostchord

    Lostchord Dr. Livingstone, I presume

    Location:
    Poznań, Poland
    Ain't That Just Like Me
    I can't tell which group I love more at this moment, Hollies or Searchers that is, and of course music is not about competition, but in this case a comparison is inevitable. I like both versions, but overall I guess I prefer The Hollies' version a bit more. I don't agree with MikeM that it's a lame performance. The bass stands out and its interplay with Tony Hick's electric guitar at the end of the first solo is particularly impressive IMO. The Allan-Graham duets are very solid, and I really like the way Tony starts his second solo. I don't mind the simplified lyrics at all. This is of course my very subjective view, but I'm not a big fan of very early Hollies, and in my book their next performance equaling this one will be as late as with Here I Go Again (yes, for me this one beats even Stay, sorry).

    As for the Searchers version, I got to know it much later than the Hollies' version, and it was very hard for me to get used to these Curtis-Jackson lazy ( i mean "not tight") unison duets on the verses, only later did it strike me as an intentional stylistic device reflecting/augmenting the "swingin'" drums, and I started to appreciate them. Having said that, the high harmonies by Tony Jackson are really shining on this song, and what he's doing at the extended coda is by far my favourite vocal moment of his.


    Hey What's Wrong With Me
    My favourite moment is the guitar intro/theme by Tony Hicks, the trademark Clarke/Nash harmonies are also great (Graham seems to be singing the melody here with Allan providing the low harmony, which is a bit of novelty here), but the songwriting is so-so and I find the solo Clarke moments quite unconvincing. The aah-aah-aahs a la Twist and Shout are even worse - not sung very well and slightly out of place. Not a bad song overall, bur rather forgettable for me.

    Thank you for this thread RedRoseSpeedway, I'm going to stay here!
     
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  22. Pretty nice. I don’t think I heard this one before.
     
  23. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    I don't believe The Hollies intentionally sang "crackin' over you" in every chorus. I believe they learned the song at some early point and didn't bother to learn the correct words. It's possible they didn't even have access to the original record; they tended to be hard to come by in some cases. They started singing the song that way in the clubs, and carried on that way when they recorded it.

    Here in the States, The Searchers' "(Ain't That) Just Like Me" was initially the B-side of "Needles and Pins." Then at some point, it was reissued as an A-side, and actually got some AM radio airplay.

    I don't agree that their version was "more restrained." I think it's more exciting, especially with the build-up during the repeated ending phrase.
     
  24. RedRoseSpeedway

    RedRoseSpeedway Music Lover Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan
    Today’s song is “Now’s The Time”



    I like this one a lot. I really dig the overall melody, as well as Alan and Graham’s harmonies. A particularly good touch to the song is the “oooOoo” parts.
     
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  25. Billo

    Billo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern England
    We can only guess re what lyrics they may or may not have known back in 1963, tho' many American records were coming into the UK then

    I don't agree The Searchers version of 'Ain't That Just Like Me' was more exciting than The Hollies version at all, in fact I find The Searchers version goes on rather too long re the continual repeating of the line at the conclusion and I find it becomes somewhat tedious

    The Searchers never used their version as a single 'A' side here at home and producer Tony Hatch clearly saw it as an album track which was not included on their debut album but on the maybe too hastily released by PYE records follow up LP 'Sugar and Spice' which contained a number of tracks left over from 'Meet The Searchers' sessions plus the second UK hit Hatch himself composed as 'Fred Nightingale' (without telling the band at the time !)

    'Now's The Time' was cut on 15 May 1963 and used as the 'B' side for the third UK single

    they did perform this song in the comedy film 'It's All Over Town' which was the second surviving song performance on film to feature original Hollies drummer Don Rathbone - tho' this Hollies song did not appear on the soundtrack LP of the film which was released on Decca records

    Note only Clarke and Nash sing again (the 'Ricky and Dane' duo) while Eric Haydock's six string bass guitar is featured here, the clip has been cleaned up but the soundtrack sounds as if somewhat slightly speeded up vocally compared to the sharper sound of the original mono single

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019

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