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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Super Audio Compact Disc > Herman's Hermits Retrospective (SACD)

Hermanís Hermits Retrospective (Super Audio Compact Disc)

 

PCM CD Sound: B-†††† DSD 2.0: B†††† DSD Multi-channel: N/A†††† Music: B

 

 

The original British Invasion of the 1960s produced dozens of hitmaking bands, including a few that were farther from The Beatles than some may have liked.Hermanís Hermits were one of the simpler bands, not out to make any kind of statement, or doing anything technically challenging.However, they did produce some hit records that were at least memorable and yet another hits set of their work has arrived.This one, Hermanís Hermits Retrospective, is the best of all since it comes form the original music masters and is here as a Super Audio Compact Disc.

 

Sadly, only two of the tracks are in stereo, but the 26 tracks here include all 18 of their Top Forty hit from 1964 Ė 1968:

 

1)     Iím Into Something Good

2)     Canít You Hear My Heartbeat

3)     Silhouettes

4)     Mrs. Brown Youíve Got A Lovely Daughter

5)     (What A) Wonderful World

6)     Hold On

7)     Iím Henry The VIII, I Am

8)     Just A Little Bit Better

9)     A Must To Avoid

10) Leaning On A Lamp Post

11) End Of The World

12) Listen People

13) Thereís A Kind Of Hush

14) East West

15) No Milk Today

16) Itís Nice To be Out In The Morning (stereo)

17) This Door Swings Both Ways

18) Dandy

19) Sleepy Joe

20) Donít Go Out In The Rain

21) Sunshine Girl

22) Museum (stereo)

23) I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving

24) Somethingís Happening

25) My Sentimental Friend

26) Here Comes The Star

 

That included two #1 Pop hits, 11 Top Ten Pop hits, and three million-selling singles, which is not a bad career.Many will recognize the Gerry Goffin/Carole King classic Iím Into Something Good as lead singer Peter Noone remade it as a gag and solo cut for the first Naked Gun film back in 1988.He was withy the band until 1972, when it was obvious the hits were over and it was time for something new.This set is also complete as the long defunct MGM Records, a capable label at the time, released their entire output.

 

The band is at its worse when it does remakes.Their cover of Sam Cookeís (What A) Wonderful World seems rushed and insincere, while Skeeter Davisí End Of The World is very flatly redone, with a dullness that can only be described as sleepy.Of course, Iím Henry The VIII, I Am was one of their biggest hits, but was written in 1911.Instead of botching it, they made it one of the most infamous records they ever cut.The list of people who hate this song is amazing, but weíd chalk it up to a non-Rock song that registers in the gloriously annoying category.

 

Then there are other motion picture connections.Mrs. Brown Youíve Got A Lovely Daughter later became the title song of one of the bandís movies in 1968, while 1966ís Listen People was originally in fellow MGM label mate Connie Francisí 1960 hit film Where the Boys Are.Hold On! (1966) featured the title song, and the hits A Must To Avoid and Leaning On A Lamp Post.This is all amusing and even fun, but not necessarily substantial.

 

Their later Mrs. Brown Youíve Got A Lovely feature did feature one of their very best-ever songs, Thereís A Kind Of Hush.It not only had the fair No Milk Today as their only hit flipside, but is the only time Noone ever managed to come up with a deep and empathetic enough vocal performance to match a song that sounded like it was trying to say something.The song was actually co-written by Lou Reed.The Carpenters remade it in 1976, but were not as successful commercially or critically.It would be fair that Hermanís Hermits helped make the Soft Rock cycle possible, though not the only ones.

 

Most ironically, future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were involved in the bandís later hits.Page was a big session musician at the time, while Jones arranged seven of the track above (14, 15, 16, 20, 22, 24, 25).Future 10CC member Graham Gouldman wrote the first three of those songs, which are the most underrated tracks the band ever recorded.Mickie Most produced every single track here and many not here for the band.

 

Museum is a Sunshine Superman sound-alike written by Donovan, while Ray Davies of the Kinks wrote Dandy.Nevertheless, their work of more noted artists seem like anomalies.They were a fun band at best and some people will even scoff at an SACD (or is that SA-CD) of the bandís music being issued at all, but these are well produced and engineered enough to give them a second listen, despite their age.

 

This is a dual-layer SACD, so you get regular PCM CD tracks that are not bad, but the DSD SACD tracks are better, if not spectacular.Most of it is monophonic, which =does not fair as well as would be hoped for.You can occasionally hear phasing in the mono tracks, but Bob Ludwig did the best that could be done with such older material.It is clean and even has a few brief surprises.There is also an informative (if not thorough) booklet pasted inside the paperboard foldout case with the white plastic DigiPak that holds the SACD.The Hermanís Hermits Retrospective is far from brilliant, but it is a set fans and the curious will enjoy, and the bandís original work will never sound better thanks to the ABKCO Labels restoration efforts.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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