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Customer Review

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything Is Sunshine on the new Hollies box set, 18 May 2011
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This review is from: The Clarke, Hicks & Nash Years: The Complete Hollies, April 1963-October 1968 (Audio CD)
Recently, the Hollies have been subject of some well deserved attention from the world of music. With their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year and the successful 'Midas Touch' compilation ensuing, EMI have been quick to capitalise on the renewed love for one of the most successful and enduring acts of the 1960's.

'The Clarke, Hicks and Nash Years' is exactly what is says on the tin, a compilation of everything recorded by the Hollies during their most successful period - between 1963 and 1968. This was a very diverse time for the Hollies from their early roots in rock and roll, a period of classic pop and finally full blown psychedelia. The box set comprises of the entire seven studio albums from this period (easily £[] per album if bought separately), all of the Parlophone single A and B sides, some rare alternate versions of well known songs, every foreign language track recorded by the Hollies and an eagerly anticipated intriguing charity concert with the Mike Vickers Orchestra from the Lewisham Odeon in May 1968 - all presented in chronological order. I hear you ask, "All this less than £[]?! What's the catch?"

Well this box set is the latest in a long line of budget compilations from EMI. Unlike previous more expensive box sets from EMI (such as the Beatles Remasters), the box set utilises previous remasters (from 1993, 1999 and 2003) to save production costs. There are a few tracks that have been treated to some much needed new remastering - namely the previously unreleased tracks. These do stick out slightly as being sonically better quality than some of the previous remasters, it's a shame EMI didn't extend the remastering to every track. This would however dramatically raise the cost of the set, and most people won't notice the difference as the previous remasters are actually pretty decent. The new ones just seem to sound a bit 'fresher'. Both stereo and mono mixes have been used. The set is generally stereo, with the exception of songs taken from singles and ones where the stereo mix uses the typical 1960's EMI stereo mix of instruments in the left channel, vocals in the right. EMI have elected to use the mono masters for such recordings. The stereo mixes are mostly the original stereo masters too, unlike the ones created for recent compilations that have a significantly narrower stereo field. EMI has also saved costs on presentation. Six discs are squeezed into a box that was originally designed to hold three or four, The booklet is much smaller than it could be (although it packs plenty into it) and there is a photo used in the box that is obviously a scan of the US Epic label's 1967 LP 'Dear Eloise/King Midas In Reverse' as you can actually see the ringwear towards the bottom of the picture! A set like this should be presented in a similar format to the 'Long Road Home' box set from 2003, but you can't really grumble, it looks like EMI have tried quite hard to make the set look more luxurious than it is.

These are, in the grand scheme of things, very minor niggles. Despite the tight budget, EMI has pulled off another excellent and very pleasing package. This is the first time that everything from the Graham Nash period of the Hollies has been presented in one package. There are some amazing unreleased recordings, and many are here that have been released before but are spread across various compilations (some long out of print). It's great to have everything finally all in one place.
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