Sunday, May 1, 2011

HERMANIA!! Original U.S. MONO LPs by HERMAN'S HERMITS

Judging by the album title and cover artwork you might think “Blaze” album is their underground psych masterpiece that only hip people know about. Well, you’re half wrong. It’s kind of a typical Herman’s Hermits album, well-written British Invasion pop that’s less like “Sgt. Pepper” and more like “Yesterday And Today” or "Beatles VI" only a year or more too late. Sometimes when you play this album it seems like you’ve never heard it before and it just goes by pleasantly as you wait for something to really happen. It’s short and sweet, not psychedelic at all, although it IS true that only the hip people know about it.

Herman’s Hermits were commonplace in the cutout LP bins in the 70’s and 80’s. MGM Records must’ve pressed a gazillion of them and to this day it’s not really hard to find SEALED copies of their American catalog which were Most-ly (get it?) exclusively compiled for U.S. audiences.

I remember getting “The Best Of Herman’s Hermits Volume III” for a dollar at the local Woolworth store (the one in Delaware was called ‘Woolco’) when I was a kid. It blew my tiny mind! I thought (or maybe told my brother), “This stuff is just as good as ‘Henry The 8th’” and now I even like it better. A few songs (“Big Man,” “Wings Of Love,” and “Mum & Dad”) are only available on this compilation album and they weren’t hits at all but they’re high quality Hermits ditties that definitely sound like you’ve heard them before. “Wings Of Love” has always been a favorite. There ARE a few hits--“No Milk Today” and “East West” (both classic Graham Gouldman songs) are both taken from the album “There’s A Kind Of Hush” and speaking of which, that title track smash is on here too. “Museum” (a Donovan cover, who was also produced by Mickie Most) and “Moonshine Man” are both from the previously mentioned “Blaze” which was also overflowing from Woolco and Sears record department bargain bin. I LOVED CUTOUTS!! I discovered “Life In A Tin Can” and got to easily obtain “Jamming With Edward” thanks to the cutout bins. MOST (get it?) of the Hermits albums were not really TRUE Stereo so the MONO LPs are the preferred way to hear these (like the Dave Clark Five, the Hermits are victims of the U.S. record companies releasing the albums in mono AND fake Re-channeled Stereo where the sound quality is weird at best) with a few exceptions. The “Hold On” soundtrack is true stereo and the last few MGM releases were true stereo as well.

A 1966 release called “Both Sides Of Herman’s Hermits” is the strangest of the band’s discography featuring a hodge podge of songs (the UK album of the same name is entirely different). The U.S. version has outstanding gems (“This Door Swings Both Ways” and “My Reservation’s Been Confirmed”) alongside ‘live’ British music hall cover versions that are silly. The cover artwork is by the legendary Frank Frazetta (misspelled as Frizetta).
I can remember where I found most of my first copies of these albums (“Mrs. Brown” soundtrack was in Nashville with my family and “On Tour” was from Bill Smolka, previously talked about in my Rolling Stones ‘Liver Than You’ll Ever Be’ post) and the music on these albums hold up very well for me. I’m proud of being a Hermaniac or a Noone-atic, whatever you want to call it.

Peter Noone’s voice is a gem and he's one of the great British pop singers. There’s a great quality to it that’s still there to this day.
The first two albums from 1965 are full of toetappers and a nice production style that appeals to 60's pop fans and rockers. I want to also say that although they had help throughout the years on their recordings (you ever heard of a guitarist named Jimmy Page?), the Hermits were a REAL BAND and could convincingly rock the house with the best of them. So Lek, Barry, Keith, Karl and Peter...THANKS for the music!
THE BEST OF HERMAN’S HERMITS VOLUME III (Stereo MGM LP) 1968
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=IIW8EB84
BLAZE (Mono MGM LP) 1967
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=RZL4U7OC
BOTH SIDES OF HERMAN’S HERMITS (Mono MGM LP) 1966
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=O2066B28
HERMAN’S HERMITS ON TOUR (Mono MGM LP) 1965 plus INTRODUCING HERMAN’S HERMITS (Mono MGM LP) 1965
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=TKX808OY
Next time we’ll do SOLO Peter Noone rarities!









3 comments:

  1. Yeah I got all of these too in cut out bins here in suburban Phila in the early 80's. I think I got most of 'em in Wee Three Records. Yeah I remember being very excited about finding these MGM's too. And they're not on CD either. I remember my favorite had to be the Kind of Hush album, lots of cool songs and that blue cover. These definitely need a CD issue (hello, Sundazed?). I know I don't have "Blaze" in mono. Thanks for the downloads.-Nick

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  2. Superb article, my Friend. I've just posted my own Blog on the Hermits which is more of a personal overview of their whole career, and I've added an addendum to it that directs people to your Blog here so they can download these fine albums.

    Keep up the good work,
    Gordon

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  3. hi could you be so kind and re upload the herman hermitz lp blaze 1967 for me together qwith photos of the cover and labels greeding maRCO

    ReplyDelete