Butterfly - Parlophone 1967
"Butterfly" is often regarded the strongest album by the Hollies. Released in 1967 it was to be last to feature high-pitch vocalist Graham Nash, who left in late 1968 to join David Crosby and Steve Stills. Sadly the Hollies were never quite the same after his departure - they did record some fine album later, but some of the magic somehow had gone.
With the "For Certain Because" (1966) the Holles had begun to write all their material for their albums, and the this continued on the following two albums "Evolution" and "Butterfly". All 3 album contains some of the finest songwriting the Hollies ever did. Their playing and singing is impeccable like on most of their recordings - some might say that their lyrics at times tend to be a little too naive or silly.
"Butterfly" is their most adventurous album and the closest the Hollies ever came to psychedelia. Apart from "Dear Eloise" which was released as a single in some countries it is very much an "album" - not just a collection of songs built up around 3 or 4 hit singles.
It seems the Nash was the dominating force at this point, taking the lead vocal on more songs than usual lead-singer Clarke. Nash abilities as lead-singer are obvíous here, but it's usually a pleasure to listen to all singer, not least when they change lead-vocals or join in on harmonies.
It's hard to bring forward particular tracks, because all are great. Tony Hicks cute "Pegasus" was always a favourite, but the songs like "Try it", "Would You Believe" and "Dear Eloise" with Allan Clarke up-front are all classic Hollies. Nash's laid back-songs like "Wish You a Wish" are "Postcard" are close to the sound of Simon & Garfunkel. On the instrumental side, there is a lot experimenting with various instruments like citar, different keyboards and several tracks feature string-arrangements.
The Hollies actually recorded at least an album's worth of material before Nash finally left. With strong material like "Wings", "Open Up Your Eyes" , "Tomorrow When it Comes", "Man With No Expression", "Do the Best You" and the two fine singles "Listen to Me" and Jennifer Eccles" another fine Hollies album (with Nash) could have been made; insted they gave us the deeply disappointing "Hollies Sing Dylan" "Butterfly" is probably their finest moment.
Here we have as bonus-tracks most of these potential final-album songs. The Nash version of "Blowing in the Wind" was another possible inclusion. As song called "Ashes to Ashes" is also said to have been recorded.