Herman's Hermits

Hermhits

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In the absence of a truly definitive Herman's Hermits compilation, this CD from the Italian Akarma label will suit most listeners' needs. Containing 20 songs and nearly 50 minutes of music, mostly drawn from the group's singles and EPs, including all of the major (and many of the minor) hits, the disc offers a decent cross section of the Hermits' pop-oriented brand of British Invasion rock. Though there are a few harder tracks on here, such as their cover of Frankie Ford's "Sea Cruise" and "Just a Little Bit Better" and their folk-rock-style renditions of "A Must to Avoid," the main thrust of this collection is oriented toward their upbeat, lighthearted output, including "Wonderful World" and "Can't You Feel My Heartbeat," as well as adorable silliness like "Leaning on a Lamp Post." The group -- or, more properly, Peter Noone, since he is the main contributor to the Hermits' studio sides -- is good at a surprisingly wider range of songs than most critics ever gave them credit for, but Noone comes the closest to a deeply personal feel on the Graham Gouldman songs such as "Listen People" and "No Milk Today." The sound is very good, and the LP-style gatefold sleeve also contains a booklet with lyrics, as well as a capsule bio of the Hermits, all of which is more attractive than the packaging on most of the American and British reissues of the group's hits.

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