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Retrospective

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Herman's Hermits 7/20/2004

Review

Herman's Hermits are widely seen as a lightweight, novelty cousin to the Beatles, fronted by a lovably dorky moppet and musically negligible. Sure, they are lightweight at times, Peter Noone is a lovable moppet, and their popularity would never have been possible without the Beatles, but one listen to Retrospective proves that they were not lacking in the musical department. Setting aside "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am" (which proves everything the critics say about the band), the group, and producer Mickie Most, had a surefooted straight-ahead approach that let the songs' hooks sink in deeply. Noone's pleasant voice and the band's sympathetic but never boring backing always goes down easy, and when they get excited -- like on "Hold On" or "A Must to Avoid" -- they almost rock. Thanks to the generous outlay of tracks and the improved sound, Retrospective takes over as the definitive collection of the Hermits' work. It leaves off their final two singles recorded for RAK in 1970, but otherwise the 26 songs here include 23 that made the Top 40 in the U.K. or the U.S. Many of the tracks are among the best the British Invasion had to offer, including "A Must to Avoid," "I'm into Something Good," "There's a Kind of Hush," and "Listen People." It also shows the band's range with the lovely Baroque pop of "East West," the laid-back R&B of "(What A) Wonderful World," the folk-rock with strings of "Don't Go Out in the Rain," the British psychedelia of "Museum," and the Bee Gees-styled orchestrated pop of "Here Comes the Star." The band was really much more versatile then given credit for and not as lightweight, either, as melancholy tracks like "No Milk Today" and "My Sentimental Friend" prove. Another thing Retrospective makes clear is that, much like another underrated '60s group, they were able to maintain a high-quality output even as the hits were smaller and farther between; 1968's "Sunshine Girl," 1967's "I Can Take or Leave Your Loving," and 1968's "Something's Happening" are just as hooky and memorable as their early work, and may even be better songs as they are the work of a more mature and assured group. They just weren't able to make as big an impact due to the times they were released. If you have even a passing interest in the band you should pick this disc up; it will win you over and soon you will join the proud ranks of Hermit boosters. [Retrospective is playable as a regular CD and as a SACD.] ~ Tim Sendra
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 I'm into Something Good Herman's Hermits 2:32
  3. 2 Can't You Hear My Heartbeat Herman's Hermits 2:14
  4. 3 Silhouettes Herman's Hermits 1:58
  5. 4 Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter Herman's Hermits 2:45
  6. 5 (What A) Wonderful World Herman's Hermits 1:58
  7. 6 Hold On Herman's Hermits 1:58
  8. 7 I'm Henry the VIII, I Am Herman's Hermits 1:49
  9. 8 Just a Little Bit Better Herman's Hermits 2:52
  10. 9 A Must to Avoid Herman's Hermits 1:54
  11. 10 Leaning on a Lamp Post Herman's Hermits 2:39
  12. 11 End of the World Herman's Hermits 2:58
  13. 12 Listen People Herman's Hermits 2:29
  14. 13 There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World) Herman's Hermits 2:32
  15. 14 East West Herman's Hermits 1:58
  16. 15 No Milk Today Herman's Hermits 2:56
  17. 16 It's Nice to Be Out in the Morning Herman's Hermits 2:23
  18. 17 This Door Swings Both Ways Herman's Hermits 2:6
  19. 18 Dandy Herman's Hermits 2:1
  20. 19 Sleepy Joe Herman's Hermits 3:11
  21. 20 Don't Go Out into the Rain (You're Gonna Melt) Herman's Hermits 2:11
  22. 21 Sunshine Girl Herman's Hermits 2:35
  23. 22 Museum Herman's Hermits 2:38
  24. 23 I Can Take or Leave Your Loving Herman's Hermits 2:32
  25. 24 Something Is Happening Herman's Hermits 3:8
  26. 25 My Sentimental Friend Herman's Hermits 3:13
  27. 26 Here Comes the Star Herman's Hermits 3:22

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