Artist: The Monkees
Title: The Monkees, More Of The Monkees
Hey, hey it’s the Monkees! How many of you remember that tagline? Thanks to my older sister, I was introduced to the pop kings at very young age. I was only 8 years old back then and it was a very impressionable age for me, growing into the prepubescent stage searching for idols to look up to. I remember my sister getting all of her rave magazines like 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat and pulling out the pictures of the band, spraying them with perfume and hanging them on her wall, man I thought she was so weird. A few years later, I would be doing the same thing with sports idols, minus the perfume of course, and then eventually I would gravitate towards rock stars in my early teens.
Hearing all of this music now is an absolute joy because not only is it good music, it brings my childhood right back to me. Those feelings are becoming more sweet and precious with every year that passes. Rhino digs down deep again and reissues The Monkees and More Of The Monkees, two albums that made history. This was an entertainment breakthrough, much like full-length movies by bands like The Beatles. It caught everyone off guard including the creators and it turned into a huge win for the music industry. The brainchild of Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider came to be by advertising for band members in Variety. Don Kirshner was also a key component in the band’s recorded output. The TV show was about a bunch of guys taking you on their madcap adventures and in between singing you their songs. If you watch the shows today you realize just how cornball it all was, but at the time, it was brilliant and it all worked.
The albums are remastered on two discs, both mono and stereo versions (both versions sounded great to me) with bonus tracks, including interesting booklets telling the story of the band with archival photos. Not only did I get an education on what really happened all those years ago, I heard many tracks that may have never graced my ears.
This band was a true phenomenon and they actually outsold the Beatles of all things for a few years! I found that astounding. The one song that I loved and remembered clearly was Mike Nesmith singing the catchy "The Kind Of Girl I Could Love." There were many more songs that were unforgettable as well-"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," "Last Train To Clarksville," and “She,” come to mind. After listening to Nesmith sing lead I wondered why it did not happen more often but now I know why after reading the informative liner notes. This was the classic situation of everyone else being in control but the band. Later on, the Monkees would prove they could do it on their own and play their instruments. When it all began, the boys came in as hired actors, not musicians, so professional session people would come in and lay down all the tracks, and then they would come in to sing. Primarily Mickey Dolenz and Davey Jones would step up to the microphone, on occasion Mike Nesmith, and on that very rare instance, Peter Tork would as well. All of that and many other interesting tidbits of information come packed away in the booklets of each of these fine sets. Both recordings helped to shape pop music just as the Beatles and Rolling Stones had before them.
For me this was all about the joy of my youth and the fond memories of a time so different from what we live in today. There is nothing like great music to help you to remember times you can never recapture. These two albums certainly did the trick for me.
© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
September 7, 2006