The Hollies

French '60s EP Collection, Vol. 1

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At a glance this looks like a more or less random assortment of 22 early Hollies tracks. The only thing connecting them is the appearance of the first 19 of the songs on five French EPs released during the 1960s. It's a tenuous concept for an anthology (though the Magic label isn't the only company to employ it), and though there's much good music here, this isn't the most sensible way to go about collecting the Hollies, whether you're looking for their best work or all of their work. For one thing, none of those 19 EP tracks are rare; in fact, some of them ("Just One Look," "Here I Go Again," "Bus Stop," "I Can't Let Go," "I'm Alive," "Look Through Any Window") are hits, albeit very good hits, that have appeared on too many releases to count. For another, although there are some good seldom-noted B-sides here, most of them have appeared on more comprehensive CD anthologies -- "You Know He Did," "Hey What's Wrong With Me," "Nobody," "So Lonely," "Don't Run and Hide," "Now's the Time," and "I've Got a Way of My Own" all appear on the three-CD 30th Anniversary Collection of career highlights. So what's to entice the driven completist? Well, the three "bonus tracks" include a French-language version of "Look Through Any Window" and a rare alternate version of "Yes I Will" that's noticeably different from the common one on the hit single, albeit less polished and a little inferior to the one used on the 45. (The other bonus track, the B-side "Come on Back," isn't terribly rare, appearing on the aforementioned 30th Anniversary Collection; even the two other bonus tracks have appeared on other full-length compilation releases.) There's also a booklet with color reproductions of the French EPs from which most of the tracks were taken, if you go for that sort of thing.

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