Saturday, June 24, 2017
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, the televised followup to the groups' 1968 film Head, premiered on April 14th, 1969 to low critical and commercial reception. And yeah, aside from a few pretty cool sequences (Peter's dream, the group's performance of "Wind Up Man", etc), the film is pretty bleh. While Head was filmed in a surreal manner in order to push a point that the group was trying to make, 33 1/3 was surreal just for the sake of being surreal. Whatever message the Monkees were trying to prove with 33 1/3 was lost with the confusing sequencing and poor script. Aside from that, some of the music featured in the special was actually pretty cool. For years, Monkees fans have been pushing for the release of a soundtrack to the special, all to no success. The most being offered having been stereo backing tracks to some of the songs. However, official stereo mixes of the songs remain unreleased. And so, we just have to work with the next best thing. Here, I present my own version of the 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee soundtrack album, featuring tracks synched up to their stereo backing tracks wherever possible.
Side A kicks off with Micky's dream sequence, featuring a bluesy reinterpretation of the group's 1967 hit "I'm a Believer", here given the simple retitling of "I'm a Believer Blues". The backing track to this was never released on any release, so the best we can do here is offer the track in duophonic stereo. Following that is Peter's fantastic "(I Prithee) Do Not Ask for Love", featuring the original mono version synched up with the stereo backing track. Big thank you to soniclovenoize for the awesome remix! In order to offer a unique version of this track, I decided to use the stereo backing track in order to give the song a fade-out ending. I never liked how the original track ended so abruptly! Then comes Mike's "Naked Persimmon". Unfortunately, while a stereo backing track for this song is included on the deluxe edition of Instant Replay, it's actually a different take than the one used for the final track. So here, I'm only able to offer this track in duophonic stereo. Following is Davy's "Goldie Locks Sometimes". Like with "Do Not Ask for Love", the stereo backing track is synched up with the original mono track. However, the stereo instrumental track does not feature the intro to the track, so that's just presented in mono before the stereo track kicks in. There may be some slight synching errors in parts of the track, but its hardly noticeable unless you really try to listen for it. Coming up next is my favorite track off of the album, "Wind Up Man". Likewise with the movie Head, here, the Monkees sing their distaste of the fraudulent music industry, comparing themselves to Wind Up toys used exclusively for entertainment purposes. Like the previous track, "Wind Up Man" is almost perfectly synched up with its stereo back track. Closing out Side A is the track "Darwin". The first part of this track is about thirty or so seconds long, featuring a perfect synch between the original track and its backing track. The second part of the track is a complex instrumental piece entitled "Only the Fittest Shall Survive", performed by Paul Arnold & The Moon Express. The original track goes on for about four and a half minutes, so I decided to trim it down to about two minutes to keep it from dragging. Probably my best remix on this album!
Side B starts with the group's cover of Neil Sedaka's "I Go Ape", featuring a humorous, yet powerful lead from Micky. The original track was synched up with the stereo backing track, as is the norm with the majority of the tracks on this album. The stereo backing track cuts off early for some reason, so the last ten or so seconds are presented in mono. Next up is the 11-minute long medley simply entitled "Rock and Roll Medley". A rather simplistic title, but certainly less of a mouthful than titling it "At the Hop/I'm Ready/Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On/Tutti Frutti/Shake a Tail Feather/Blue Monday/Little Darlin'/Long Tall Sally/Down the Line/Them Bones"! A track certainly too long to be included on a traditional "18-minute per side" LP, but there wasn't much else I could work with here! Following is the short, yet lovely Davy track entitled "String for My Kite". The final track/stereo backing track remix, this came out really good IMO, let me know what you think! After that comes Peter's amazing cover of the classical track "Solfegietto", followed by the penultimate track, Mike's "Listen to the Band". In the original film, this track develops into a crazed, avant-garde instrumental, which unlike other avant-garde tracks offered by groups such as the Beatles and the Beach Boys, this one is pretty bad. So instead, the track simply fades out right before things get a little out of control! The album closes out with the short, yet creepy cover of "California Here it Comes". I previously featured this track as the closer of my alternate Head album, but I obviously wasn't gonna leave it out here!
In closing, despite the multiple obviously flaws with 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, the music featured certainly is one of the main attractions of the special. I originally wasn't gonna feature this soundtrack album here, but then I remembered how even some of the most hardcore Monkee fans seem to pass this era of the group by. So I just decided to give it some attention that most people don't appear to give it. Hopefully, we'll get an official soundtrack for the special someday, maybe in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the special. Doubtful, but I certainly wouldn't mind it! I hope you enjoy, and look out for more coming soon!
1. I'm a Believer Blues (Neil Diamond)
2. (I Prithee) Do Not Ask for Love (Michael Martin Murphey)
3. Naked Persimmon (Michael Nesmith)
4. Goldie Locks Sometimes (Bill Dorsey)
5. Wind Up Man (Bill Dorsey)
6. Darwin (Bill Dorsey/Paul Arnold)
1. I Go Ape (Neil Sedaka)
2. Rock & Roll Medley
I: At the Hop (Artie Singer/John Medora/David White)
II: I'm Ready (Antoine Domino, Jr)
III: Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (Dave Williams)
IV: Tutti Frutti (Richard Penniman/Dorothy LaBostrie)
V: Shake a Tail Feather (Otha Hayes/Verlie Rice/Andre Williams)
VI: Blue Monday (Dave Bartholomew)
VII: Little Darlin' (Maurice Williams)
XIII: Long Tall Sally (Richard Penniman/Robert Blackwell/Enotris Johnson)
XIV: Down the Line (Ray Orbison)
XV: Them Bones (James Weldon Johnson)
3. String for My Kite (Bill Dorsey)
4. Solfegietto (Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach)
5. Listen to the Band (Michael Nesmith)
6. California Here it Comes (Buddy DeSylva, Al Jolson, Joseph Meyer)
Monday, June 12, 2017
Just wanted to let everybody here know that the link for my alternate version of With the Beatles has just been updated, download it here!
I'll definitely get around to converting all links here over to mega.nz, so look out for that soon. No more FLAC downloads though, since it turns out that my process of obtaining them resulted in the same audio quality as regular old mp3 files. My bad! Other than that, expect the next post to come within the week. Enjoy!
I'll definitely get around to converting all links here over to mega.nz, so look out for that soon. No more FLAC downloads though, since it turns out that my process of obtaining them resulted in the same audio quality as regular old mp3 files. My bad! Other than that, expect the next post to come within the week. Enjoy!
Friday, May 26, 2017
The seventh studio album by the Monkees, Instant Replay, released on February 15th, 1969, proved to be more commercially successful than the previous years' Head, peaking at #32 in the US. Obviously, this was merely a shadow of the groups' previous chart domination, but I digress. By this point, Peter had left the group, leaving the Monkees to operate as a threesome. Was it the beginning of the end for the group? Nah, the beginning of the end for the Monkees happened WAY before that, probably with the cancellation of the TV show. Despite the improved chart placement of Instant Replay, things would once again dip south for the group for their follow-up album, The Monkees Present Micky, David, Michael, released on October 1st of that same year, scoring their lowest chart placement yet of #100. Ouch.
Before getting into my alternate version of this album, lets take a minute to look at the original track listing:
1. Through the Looking Glass
2. Don't Listen to Linda
3. I Won't Be the Same Without Her
4. Just a Game
5. Me Without You
6. Don't Wait for Me
1. You And I
2. While I Cry
3. Tear Drop City
4. The Girl I Left Behind Me
5. A Man Without a Dream
6. Shorty Blackwell
Of these twelve tracks, "Through the Looking Glass", "Just a Game", "Don't Wait for Me", "You And I", "The Girl I Left Behind Me", "A Man Without a Dream", and "Shorty Blackwell" appear on my alternate version of The Monkees Present, "Me Without You" is a leftover from The Monkees Present that I'm not too big on, "I Won't Be the Same Without Her" is on my version of The Monkees, "Don't Listen to Linda" and "Tear Drop City" appear on my version of More of the Monkees, and "While I Cry" is featured on my alternate version of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. So that leaves approximately...zero tracks from the original album to work with. So what do we do now? We make up an entirely new Instant Replay album, using the tracks from the original The Monkees Present, along with various outtakes. Lets see how it came out!
Side A kicks off with the lovely "Little Girl" by Micky, followed by Michael's country-tinged "Some of Shelly's Blues". Following is the outtake entitled "Time and Time Again", a Davy song recorded in August of 1969. At one point, this track was intended to appear on the group's 1970 album Changes, but was put back on the shelves until its eventual release on 1988's Missing Links compilation. After that comes Micky's rocking "Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye", followed up by one of Mike's more popular outtakes, "Propinquity (I've Just Begun to Care)". Side A closes with a great Davy track entitled "Storybook of You".
Side B starts with one of the Monkees' best late-60s tracks, entitled "Steam Engine". If I recall correctly, the track was originally intended to be released as a single for The Monkees Present, but was shelved for some unfortunate reason. Later, the track was once again set to appear on Changes, but was once again shelved. It's too bad the track never appeared on an official Monkees album, I feel like it definitely deserved it over half the stuff found on Changes. Following is Davy's lovely, yet slightly cheesy "French Song". A pretty damn lush-sounding, string-orientated track, I gotta admit that I'm a fan of it! Mike's "Hollywood" follows, after having been scrapped from my alternate version of The Monkees Present, thankfully it found a home here! Coming up next is another Davy outtake entitled "If You Have the Time". Similar to "Time and Time Again", this track was also intended for the Changes album, but scrapped at some point. I really love the cool-sounding synth melodies heard here! Following is Mike's "Oklahoma Backroom Dancer". Contrary to belief, the track is actually written by Mike's friend Michael Murphey. Closing out the album is my favorite track featured here, Micky's beautiful "Pillow Time". What a sweet and tender way to close the album!
Overall, while this version of Instant Replay is certainly far from the Monkees' best work, listeners will find quite a few gems here, just waiting to be discovered. We're almost at the end here with the Monkees series, only two more left to go! After this series wraps up, I'll focus on the Doors for one album, then I'll just go ahead and post whatever I feel like. I've got a lot of stuff backed up that needs its attention! BTW, this post was written while listening to the new remix of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, it sounds really damn good! I'll have to get around to updating my Sgt. Pepper's post once I come into possession of the audio files. Enjoy, and look out for more soon!
1. Little Girl (Micky Dolenz)
2. Some of Shelly's Blues (Michael Nesmith)
3. Time and Time Again (Davy Jones/Bill Chadwick)
4. Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye (Micky Dolenz/Ric Klein)
5. Propinquity (I've Just Begun to Care) (Michael Nesmith)
6. Storybook of You (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
1. Steam Engine (Chip Douglas)
2. French Song (Bill Chadwick)
3. Hollywood (Michael Nesmith)
4. If You Have the Time (Davy Jones/Bill Chadwick)
5. Oklahoma Backroom Dancer (Michael Martin Murphey)
6. Pillow Time (Janelle Scott/Matt Willis)
BTW, if you like the rare Beach Boys stuff that I post here, be sure to check out the upcoming Sunshine Tomorrow compilation album coming out on June 30th. This collection of 64 tracks features rare and unbooted material from the groups' Smiley Smile - Wild Honey era, including the first ever stereo remix of the Wild Honey album, as well as the sought-after shelved Lei'd in Hawaii album. So why am I promoting this upcoming album? Have I finally caved in to marketing pressure? Nope, not yet at least! This collection has got to be a good seller if we want to see more unreleased material come out in the future! As Howie Edelson, who's working on the linear notes for the collection, notes on the Smiley Smile forum, "The Beach Boys are the ONLY one where if its unreleased material was finally released, the entire narrative changes and history gets a revamp. The BB's are the only band who can get a 10th life from what they left on the cutting room floor. The Grateful Dead definitely do not have five more "Sugar Magnolia's" tucked away in the vault - The BB's have 15." Currently, Sunshine Tomorrow is the third Best-Selling Rock Vinyl & CD's on Amazon, so hopefully the Beach Boys and Wild Honey will earn some much-needed recognition that they deserve!
Check out Sunshine Tomorrow on Amazon here!
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
One of my favorite music "remixers" on the web goes by the name of soniclovenoize. His blog, Albums That Never Were, was the direct inspiration for me to decide to start this blog of my own, so I certainly owe a lot to him! One of his posts on his page is his own reconstruction of the Monkees' "lost" 1969 double album, entitled The Monkees Present. This ambitious project by the group, intended to follow their 1968 soundtrack album Head, was primarily abandoned due to the departure of Peter Tork in late 1968. Of course, the title and several tracks were later recollected for the group's eighth album, but the collection paled in light of what could have been. My mix of this album is directly inspired by soniclovenoize's version, with a few significant changes of creative liberty made by yours truly. I decided to use his own cover for the alternate album as opposed to making my own, as his would be pretty damn hard to beat! I did however decide to brush out the Colgems logo from Micky's, Michael's, and Davy's pictures, I've never been a fan of logos on album covers, it's just an eyesore and a distraction from the artwork!
Side A, Micky's side, is identical to soniclovenoize's mix, featuring "Through the Looking Glass", "Mommy and Daddy" (uncensored version with complete intro), "Rosemarie", "Shake 'Em Up and Let 'Em Roll", "Just a Game", and "Shorty Blackwell". Side B, Peter's side, however, has a couple changes made to it. The sequencing has been edited a bit, with Peter's cover of "Come On In" opening the side instead of closing it. And on the other hand, the original side opener, "(I Prithee) Do Not Ask for Love", now closes the b-side. Speaking of "I Prithee", I decided against using soniclovenoize's version, opting instead to use the alternate version found on the deluxe CD version of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. This earlier version of the track simply features Peter and a couple electric guitars overdubbed on top of each other. An incredibly haunting and melancholic track, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't prefer this one over the completed track! The last small change to Peter's side is a different mix of "Tear the Top Right Off of My Head". As this track has never been issued in stereo before, duophonic mixes are the next best thing. I wasn't too impressed with the duophonic mix used for soniclovenoize's mix, so I decided instead to make my own. Although still not as good as a stereo mix will ever be, I guess it'll do for now! The other tracks, "Lady's Baby", "Seeger's Theme", and "Merry Go Round", remain the same.
Side C is Mike's side, and similar to Peter's side, features a number of differences from SNL's version. The original version featured the tracks "Listen to the Band", "The Crippled Lion", "Nine Times Blue", "St. Matthew", "Carlisle Wheeling and the Effervescent Popsicle", and "Hollywood". For my mix, I've scrapped the track "Hollywood", I'm just not the biggest fan of it TBH. In its place is the beautiful "Don't Wait For Me", originally found on the Instant Replay album. My version of this album also features a different version of "Listen to the Band". SNL's version of the track uses an earlier version without the horn overdubs. My version uses the overdubbed mix, splicing it together with SNL's mix in order to include the complete bridge section (the overdubbed mix, which was released as a single, cut a few measures out of this bridge section). On the final side, Davy's side, SNL used the tracks "My Share of the Sidewalk", "Me Without You", "Laurel and Hardy", "Smile", "You and I", and "The Girl I Left Behind Me". For my version of Side D, the tracks "Me Without You", "Laurel and Hardy", and "Smile" have been replaced with different tracks. "Me Without You" sounds way too much like the Beatles' "Your Mother Should Know" for me to take seriously, "Laurel and Hardy" was always intended to be a Jan & Dean track despite Davy's vocal attempt, and "Smile" was too bleh for me to enjoy. In their places are the tracks "How Can I Tell You", "Someday Man", and "Opening Night". These three tracks were all recorded during the sessions for The Monkees Present in mid-1969, and are definitely some of Davy's best recordings during this period. I've always preferred Davy when he strays away from his "bubblegum pop" image, too sugary for me!
I highly encourage you to check out SNL's original version of this lost album on his website here. While my blog posts typically follow a "series" of a groups' discography, SNL's blog usually focuses on a different artist with every post. He's got lots of different artists that I've never focused on before, as well as the popular "what if the Beatles never broke up?" series that's worth checking out. So yeah, I hope you enjoy this post, and look out for more coming soon!
1. Through the Looking Glass (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Red Baldwin)
2. Mommy and Daddy (Micky Dolenz)
3. Rosemarie (Micky Dolenz)
4. Shake 'Em Up and Let 'Em Roll (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
5. Just a Game (Micky Dolenz)
6. Shorty Blackwell (Micky Dolenz)
1. Come On In (Jo Mapes)
2. Lady's Baby (Peter Tork)
3. Seeger's Theme (Nicholas Thorkelson, Pete Seeger)
4. Tear the Top Right Off My Head (Peter Tork)
5. Merry Go Round (Peter Tork/Diane Hildebrand)
6. (I Prithee) Do Not Ask for Love (Michael Martin Murphey)
1. Listen to the Band (Michael Nesmith)
2. The Crippled Lion (Michael Nesmith)
3. Nine Times Blue (Michael Nesmith)
4. St. Matthew (Michael Nesmith)
5. Carlisle Wheeling and the Effervescent Popsicle (Michael Nesmith)
6. Don't Wait for Me (Michael Nesmith)
1. A Man Without a Dream (Gerry Goffin/Carole King)
2. How Can I Tell You (Davy Jones/Bill Chadwick)
3. You and I (Davy Jones/Bill Chadwick)
4. Someday Man (Roger Nichols/Paul Williams)
5. Opening Night (Charlie Smalls)
6. The Girl I Left Behind Me (Carole Bayer Sager, Neil Sedaka)
Monday, April 17, 2017
Head, the Monkees' first theatrical film, was released in theaters on November 6th, 1968. A psychedelic, drug-inspired mind trip, the film was a critical and commercial failure, earning only $16,000 on a $750,000 budget. Today, the film is regarded in a much higher light by fans and critics, comparing the abstract film to the Beatles' own Magical Mystery Tour. Me personally, I'd definitely choose to watch it Head over Magical Mystery Tour. When watching MMT, I find myself watching and waiting for the music videos only, not really caring about everything else in-between (Though Miranda Forbes as Miss Wendy Winter is certainly easy on the eyes!). But Head somehow manages to grab my attention throughout the entire film. But we're not here to really talk about the film, we're here to talk about the soundtrack of the same name! Head, the album, was released about a month later on December 1st. The album failed to make it to the Top 40 in the US, a first for the group. Stalling in at #45, Head was the group's worst-performing album yet. I like to believe that this was because it wasn't even really a proper album, per se. It was more of a collection of tracks featured in the film, paired alongside a bunch of snippets from the film. Half of the tracks on the album are movie snippets, which most likely alienated fans from deciding to purchase the album. While it makes for an interesting listen in conjunction to the film, I really like the idea of basing Head solely as its own album. This was the group's most psychedelic, experimental phase in their career, and I want it to be properly established within this alternate album. So lets see how it looks, shall we?
It should come as no surprise that the majority of movie snippets were removed from the original album. Some of these tracks were merely just a few seconds long. Of the original album, the tracks "Porpoise Song", "Ditty Diego - War Song", "Circle Sky", "Can You Dig It?", "As We Go Along", "Daddy's Song" and "Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?" remain. The other tracks, as mentioned on my previous post, are primarily made up of tracks from the group's earlier album, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees.
Side A of course begins with the fantastic psychedelic avant-grade-inspired "Porpoise Song", written by the legendary songwriting team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Anybody reading this should look online for Carole's original piano demo of the track, which is equally ingenious and powerful in its own right. I never like how the version of the original album ends immediately after the dramatic buildup, cutting off the transcendent coda section. Here, the full stereo mix from the Music Box compilation set is used in all its glory. Following is the comedic track entitled "Ditty Diego - War Chant", in which the four Monkees are shockingly open about their "prefabricated image", declaring themselves as a "manufactured image with no philosophies". I love the contrast between the upbeat, jolly backing track and the dark, almost depressing lyrics about the hardships of the entertainment business. As Davy sings, "so make your choice and we'll rejoice in never being free!". As the second half of the song, which features dramatic war sound effects, comes to an end, the track immediately transitions into the next one, being Mike's "Tapioca Tundra". Originally featured as the B-Side to the "Valleri" single, the track found its place on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, but I like it here a lot more. What an awesome track, that, like "Circle Sky", perfect showcases Mike's songwriting and singing talents. Speaking of "Circle Sky", the next track is - "Circle Sky"! The mix on the original album, usually referred to as the "live" mix, is not that good IMO. Mike's vocals are horrendously buried by the rest of the instruments, making the lyrics incomprehensible to understand. Here, the more professional studio mix from later reissues of the album is used. Following is Peter's fantastic "Can You Dig It?". Much like George Harrison, Peter really began to establish himself as a serious songwriter with this album. Unfortunately, this wouldn't be explored any further, as Peter quit the group later that year. It's a shame really, to imagine what other tracks he could have put out with the group while they were still together. Side A closes with Mike's experimental "Writing Wrongs", a psychedelic, haunting dirge of a track. Featuring lyrics about poisoned water, the impending apocalypse, and a man falling to his death from a building, "Writing Wrongs" certainly is as far from "I'm a Believer" as it'll ever get! After the first chorus, the track evolves into an extended jam session, featuring reverberated pianos and discordant organ riffs. A fantastic addition not just to the album, but to the Monkees' song catalogue itself.
Side B starts off with my favorite track on the album, the beautiful "As We Go Along". The track is performed in 6/8 time, a time signature rarely heard in pop music at the time. Micky delivers a powerful, emotionally-beautiful lead vocal, one of his all-time best with the group! The Boyce/Hart track "P.O. Box 9847" comes up next. I LOVE the heavy, deep drum beat used for this track, certainly one of the most appealing aspects of the song. The rest of the backing track is pretty damn amazing, featuring a unique selection of exotic instruments. Quite an underrated track too, it's definitely one of those tracks by the groups that deserves more recognition than it receives! Davy's spotlight on the album, "Daddy's Song", follows. Written by Harry Nilsson (one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century, IMO), the alternate version from Music Box is used here, which features a slow, piano-driven section removed from the final mix. Certainly a unique twist on the original track, I definitely prefer it to the original mix. My second-favorite track on the album, Mike's "Auntie's Municipal Court" comes up next. Featuring a great Micky vocal, this track features an incredible backing track (something like a cross between psychedelic pop and folk) and a pretty damn catchy melody. Mike really hit it out of the park with this one! Peter's second contribution to the album comes next, "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?" Another solid track by Peter, "Long Title" is a folk-tinged rocker that brings the album to a close. Well, almost. The final track of the album is the acid-tinged mind-fuck entitled "California Here it Comes". This track is featured at the end of the group's second film, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, during which an atomic bomb is dropped, exploding and killing all of the Monkees during the ending credits sequence. The track starts out with the simple sound of a heartbeat, along with a deep voice repeating the phrase "the end" over and over again. The track then breaks out into a short, comedic performance of "California Here I Come" by Peter, ending with the sound of heavy breathing. Quite a way to cap off the album, don't you think?
Overall, while the original version of Head is pretty good in its own right, I'd really have preferred it if the group created an actual album as opposed to a soundtrack. Something like this definitely would have sufficed! Whether or not it would have been a better-seller than the original version is questionable, but seeing as though the groups had already been losing popularity at the time, I doubt it would have made a difference. I hope you enjoy, and look out for more coming soon!
1. Porpoise Song (Gerry Goffin/Carole King)
2. Ditty Diego - War Chant (Jack Nicholson/Bob Rafelson)
3. Tapioca Tundra (Michael Nesmith)
4. Circle Sky (Michael Nesmith)
5. Can You Dig It? (Peter Tork)
6. Writing Wrongs (Michael Nesmith)
1. As We Go Along (Carole King/Toni Stern)
2. P.O. Box 9847 (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
3. Daddy's Song (Harry Nilsson)
4. Auntie's Municipal Court (Michael Nesmith)
5. Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again? (Peter Tork)
6. California Here it Comes (Buddy DeSylva/Al Jolson/Joseph Meyer)
BTW, I have been getting lots of messages from different people concerning dead links on this site. Please understand that even if I don't comment back, I still make sure to read every single comment posted on this blog. I will FOR SURE re-upload every single dead link on this website. It may be awhile though, as I am currently focusing on school at the moment. I'm planning on moving all of my downloads over to mega.nz, as zippyshare isn't really the most "user-friendly" link-sharing website. Expect this to happen around mid-May after I get out of school. Thanks for your interest and understanding, and I'll see you all back here very soon!
Thursday, March 23, 2017
The year 1968 was the beginning of the end for the Monkees. Their album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees would be their first album not to reach #1 in the US, placing at only #3. A few months later, their followup soundtrack album Head place at a dismal #45 in the US. The group's popular TV show was cancelled due to creative differences, their first theatrical movie was a flop, and in December that year, Peter Tork quit the group. That took quite a 180 turn, didn't it? However, despite the downfall of the group's popularity, that definitely didn't mean that the quality of their work followed in the same path! While the original version of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees is an extraordinary album, changes had to be made due to my reworking of past and upcoming alternate albums. So, how does it sound? Let's find out!
For this alternate album, the tracks "Auntie's Municipal Court", "Tapioca Tundra", "Daydream Believer", "Writing Wrongs", and "P.O. Box 9847" have been removed. As "Daydream Believer" has already been placed on the previous album, it'd make no sense to keep it here. And as for the other songs, you'll just have to wait and see where they've ended up!
Side A begins with Davy's sugary "Dream World", same as the original album. Following it is Michael's "My Share of the Sidewalk". I decided to use Mike's original version as opposed to the finished mix, as this album is already dominated by Davy leads. Plus, I felt as though the added horn overdubs to the final mix were a little too corny for my taste. "We Were Made for Each Other" by Davy comes next, in its original position and form as the original. Following is another Davy track entitled "Ceiling in My Room". I actually really like this one to be honest, it's a very melancholic and beautiful song. I feel as though Davy has always shined when performing the more downbeat, melancholic tracks, best heard here and the earlier "So Goes Love". Following in its footsteps is Mike's hauntingly beautiful "While I Cry". Recorded during the sessions for The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, the track was shelved until later appearing on the Instant Replay album in 1969. But now it's here! This is definitely my favorite track on this alternate album, nothing else to really say about that! Side A closes with "D.W. Washburn", originally released as a single in June of 1968. Micky Dolenz delivers an extraordinarily powerful vocal performance here, it's amazing how high his voice could reach!
Side B opens with the b-side to the "D.W. Washburn" single, "It's Nice to Be with You". Another lush track by Davy, this track definitely deserves more attention! The upbeat "I'll Be Back Up on My Feet" comes next, featuring Micky on lead vocals. This track was originally recorded during the sessions for More of the Monkees, but was later re-recorded for this album. Up next is the psychedelic rocker "The Poster" with Davy on lead. Another highlight of this alternate album. Davy's hard-rock tracks are also worth listening to, most of them are pretty underrated IMO. Another one of my favorite tracks on this album, Mike's "Magnolia Simms", follows. The version on the original album was only ever available in mono and mixed over to the left channel with a scratchy record noise overdubbed over, to give the effect that the song is playing through an old gramophone. Thankfully, a stereo mix without the record effects was made available with the release of the deluxe CD. I also took the liberty of removing the beginning of the track where Mike flubs the intro a couple of times. Entertaining to listen to the first time, but with repeated listens, you just want to get to the song already. Following is the group's last big hit, "Valleri", released on February 17th, 1968. Backed by "Tapioca Tundra", the single peaked at #3 in the US. The version of the track used here is slightly extended; as opposed to fading out, the song appropriately ends with a dramatic horn crescendo. Closing out the album is Micky's dramatic "Zor and Zam", likely inspired by the music of Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane.
Overall, this album would have most likely made no difference in the Monkees' career. The album would have reached #3 like usual, the singles would place lower than expected, and the downfall would still occur. It's still a damn fine album however. What comes next is miles ahead of this one though, and had it been released back in 1968, it would most likely be considered the group's greatest album. So look out for that coming sooner rather than later. Enjoy, and look out for more coming soon!
1. Dream World (David Jones/Steve Pitts)
2. My Share of the Sidewalk (Michael Nesmith/Keith Allison)
3. We Were Made for Each Other (Carole Bayer/George Fischoff)
4. Ceiling in My Room (David Jones/Dominick DeMieri/Bobby Dick)
5. While I Cry (Michael Nesmith)
6. D.W. Washburn (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
1. It's Nice to Be with You (Jerry Goldstein)
2. I'll Be Back Up on My Feet (Sandy Linzer/Denny Randell)
3. The Poster (David Jones/Steve Pitt)
4. Magnolia Simms (Michael Nesmith)
5. Valleri (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
6. Zor and Zam (Bill Chadwick/John Chadwick)
Saturday, February 25, 2017
For anybody more familiar with the discography of the Monkees, you may be asking yourself "where is Headquarters?" And to be honest, there's just wasn't anything I had to change about that album. My version only differs from the original because the tracks "Big Band 6" and "Zilch" are removed from the track listing. Other than that, everything else is the same. And besides, since I'm not posting as often as I used to, I'd rather make a more noteworthy post instead of one with no real value. So anyways, let's move on!
After Headquarter's smash success in March of 1967, the group, now working more as a real band that plays their own music, continued work on their next album. The result, a psychedelic-tinged collection of tracks entitled Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., was released on November 6th, 1967. Not surprisingly, the album made its way to the #1 spot, the last Monkees album to do so.
For my alternate version of this album, the spoken word track "Special Announcement" starts us off. The original version of this track ends with the sound of a dog barking in pain, but here, I removed that so that the track immediately segues into the first song of the album, "Salesman". From there, the album goes off the same way that the original version does, with "She Hangs Out", "The Door Into Summer", "Love is Only Sleeping", "Cuddly Toy", and "Words" following. Side A closes out with the fast-paced rocker "Goin' Down", of which was originally intended to appear on the album in the same spot.
Side B kicks off with "Daydream Believer", one of the most popular songs by the group. As this track was originally intended to serve as the B-Side to the aborted "Love is Only Sleeping" single, I decided to include it here as the opening track of the second side. The rest of the album remains pretty similar to the original track listing, with the only other change being the swapping of the order of the last two tracks. Here, the album closes out with the beautiful Mike Nesmith track "Don't Call on Me", definitely my favorite track off of this album. I just thought that it'd be a very lovely and melancholic end to the album.
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. is certainly one of the strongest Monkees albums to come out of the '60s. This would be the last #1-selling album by the Monkees, as next year's The Birds, the Bees & The Monkees would only reach #3, signaling the end of "Monkeemania" in the US. But I'll get to that later. Enjoy, and look out for more coming soon!
1. Special Announcement (Spoken word by Peter Tork)
2. Salesman (Craig Vincent Smith)
3. She Hangs Out (Jeff Barry)
4. The Door into Summer (Chip Douglas/Bill Martin)
5. Love is Only Sleeping (Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil)
6. Cuddly Toy (Harry Nilsson)
7. Words (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
8. Goin' Down (The Monkees/Diane Hildebrand)
1. Daydream Believer (John Stewart)
2. Hard to Believe (Davy Jones/Kim Capli/Eddie Brick/Charlie Rockett)
3. What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? (Michael Martin Murphey/Owen Castleman)
4. Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky (Peter Tork)
5. Pleasant Valley Sunday (Gerry Goffin/Carole King)
6. Daily Nightly (Michael Nesmith)
7. Star Collector (Gerry Goffin/Carole King)
8. Don't Call on Me (Michael Nesmith/John London)