Tuesday, April 2, 2019

WISHYOUAWISH - The Hollies’ Compositions By Others, 1965-1968

Unlike the previous various artists releases Sing Hollies In Reverse on Eggbert Records and Re-Evolution: - FdM Sings The Hollies on the Fruits de Mer label, WISHYOUAWISH is not a Hollies tribute album. At least not in the sense of current acts contributing brand new cover versions. (Sing and Re-Evolution are both great, mind you.) For WISHYOUAWISH, the indie label Teensville Records collected already recorded efforts from the mid-1960s. You won’t find hits like “Look Through Any Window,” “I Can’t Let Go,” or “Bus Stop” because the focus here is on material composed by The Hollies writing team of Graham Nash, Allan Clarke, and Tony Hicks.

That still leaves a lot of brilliant songs. The international collection of artists on WISHYOUAWISH range from well known to obscure; with the stars coming through as expected and several unknowns offering pleasant surprises. This might seem like blasphemy coming from an avid Hollies fan, but I’ve always felt The Searchers’ take on “Have You Ever Loved Somebody?” has more zip than the original LP version. The Everly Brothers’ 1966 album Two Yanks In England featured them covering Hollies originals with the band’s members supporting them in the studio. Their renditions of “Like Every Time Before” and “Signs That Will Never Change” on WISHYOUAWISH shine with those patented Everly Brothers’ harmonies.

A few of the covers haven’t held up well over the decades and might have been too schmaltzy even in their day. Nicky James’s “Would You Believe” pales in comparison to the orchestrated version on the Hollies’ Butterfly album as well as the more rock-oriented version Allan Clarke recorded on a solo effort. The Wildlife sugarcoats the hard-edged blue collar tale of survival “Hard Hard Year,” and The Sidekicks can’t do much with the silly “Fifi The Flea.”

On the plus side, Chicago’s own The Buckinghams rock out on “I’ve Been Wrong,” The Electric Prunes take “I’ve Got A Way Of My Own” into the garage, and Dana Gillespie turns in a sultry rendition of “Pay You Back With Interest.” Keith of “98.6” fame also had a modest hit with the exotic “Tell Me To My Face” and The Strangers recreate the catchy and flirtatious “Step Inside.” Other highlights include Mary McCarthy’s “You Know He Did,” The Berries’ “Baby, That’s All,” and “Put Yourself In My Place” from Episode Six.

“Go Away,” a song The Hollies wrote but never recorded sounds like 1950s do-wop in the hands of The Mirage, and there’s even more fun when the Brazilian duo Deny e Dino perform a rollicking version of “Stop Stop Stop,” translated to “Pare Pare Pare” in their native tongue. “Coming From The Ground” is another composition The Hollies let someone else record, but in this case, Graham Nash and Allan Clarke (and possibly other Hollies) joined in on the recording session. This psychedelic gem was released by the Swedish band The Lee Kings, and would have fit in perfectly on Butterfly.

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