The Hollies' 15th official album, it also marked the return of Allan Clarke to the lineup for the first time since Distant Light in 1971 -- and it was, apart from one number, comprised entirely of group originals, a feat of songwriting acumen that the Hollies had not achieved since 1969's Hollies Sing Hollies (which was sort of a "ringer" in that regard); and just as much to the point, all of the songs and recordings were pretty much first-rate, ranging widely from lyrical pop/rock to harder, edgier, album-oriented sides, with a couple of classic performances among them. What's more, despite the range of sounds involved, the album offered a more cohesive group sound than anything that they had recorded since the mid-'60s. True, there were numbers that had strings added, and other embellishments, but at the core was a thoroughly unified group sound.
And while the most notable song here happened to be the only cover, a rendition of "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," authored by a up-and-coming, not-yet-famous new Columbia Records artist named Bruce Springsteen, that didn't mean that the rest of the record was in any way deficient. Indeed, this was the strongest album that they'd done since the psychedelic era, and the group's best body of rock songs ever, almost all solidly memorable, beautifully hook-laden numbers, harmony-driven but mostly not as soft as past releases often were. And while the harmonies were impeccable, the songs they were part of usually kept a great beat or solid rocking guitar (mostly courtesy of Tony Hicks). The Clarke-Hicks-Sylvester songwriting team peaked with this album for consistency, as did the same trio in a vocal capacity. And even some of the more unlikely titles, such as "Lonely Hobo Lullaby," were worth hearing more than once, alongside the obvious "plug" songs such as the title track and "I'm Down."
The diversity of sounds never let up across the original LP, and if anything was even more impressive on side two, with the radiant harmonies of "I'm Down" eventually leading to "You Gave Me Life (With That Look in Your Eyes)," the latter revealing a harder sound than they'd been known for since "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)"; and it led to the closer, "Lucy," a poignant ballad of the kind that the group had hardly ever presented on earlier records. It's no accident that this album, and the spirit of musical adventure behind it, lay behind the tour that became the basis for the first official live album by the band, or that its songs were more heavily represented on that resulting album than those off any other long-player in the group's history. Latter-day Hollies may not be first on too many peoples' lists of priority acquisitions, but if someone is going to start listening to the post-"Long Cool Woman" band, this is the place to begin.(allmusic)
This is a special album by the Hollies for me if i remember right. I believe it was the first one i heard conscious as an album by a band named Hollies. I was exactly 13 years old at the time it was released (it was my birthday month). In the windows of some record stores you could see the cover hanging and i was magical interested in this because from somewhere i knew that this is the album with the song ''Sandy'' on it. And i loved this song. I listened Radio Luxembourg and WDR at the time then because that were the stations where my favourite songs were played. However, to make this story short: In the end my mother made the album as a delayed birthday present to me. And there was so much to discover, for example 'I'm down' was also a song who blew me with the vocals away then. Okay, enough from the memories of a long gone time (nevertheless often it feels like yesterday). Also with nearly 55 years the album sound great. I hope you have the same fun, too.
Frank Flac p1 & Flac p2 & Flac p3 mp3@320