The Hollies

French '60s EP Collection, Vol. 2

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The first 16 of these 20 tracks are drawn from French EPs released in the 1960s, all of the music hailing from the late-1966/late-1967 era. In fact, there are only two big hits ("On a Carousel" and "Carrie Anne") here, though "Tell Me to My Face" was one of the Hollies' most deservedly popular LP tracks, and "Dear Eloise" was a small hit in the U.S. The rest of it's decent if uneven British pop/rock from the time the group was making the transition to somewhat more sophisticated songwriting. But you'd have to be a little screwy to pick this up unless you're a die-hard completist, as it kind of samples pell-mell from the group's LPs and singles of the period; it's much more effective to get the tracks on reissues of those LPs, and the best Hollies compilations. Does this, however, offer anything for that die-hard completist? Yes, as a matter of fact; among the four "bonus tracks" is "A Taste of Honey," which only found release on their US 1966 Beat Group! LP. (It has in fact not appeared on any other CD; the version that appears on the box set The Long Road Home 1963-2003 is not the one from 1966, but an entirely different 1968 re-recording.) It's not as good as the Beatles' interpretation of that standard, but it's fairly decent, with a harder-rocking swing than the Fab Four used. As for the other three bonus tracks, the soundtrack theme "After the Fox" has appeared elsewhere, and "You in My Arms" and "She Gives Me Everything I Want," though marked as unreleased, are heard in much better company (and are much easier to find) on 30th Anniversary Collection 1963-1993, as is "After the Fox" for that matter. The French EP tracks do include a couple of B-sides that weren't easy to come by for years, but the very good "Signs That Will Never Change" has been on at least a couple of American CDs (including the ever-useful 30th Anniversary Collection), while "All the World Is Love" has appeared on several more readily available anthologies. Like everything in this series, though, the booklet does include color reproductions of the French EP covers from which most of the tracks were plucked, as well as some other rare foreign picture sleeves.

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