Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Month's Colgems Upload: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (Mono)

Here is the latest upload of one of the Monkees' mono albums, "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd." The LP was their fourth long player, and also their fourth, and last, number one album.

Some people consider this LP their best LP, but at the very least, it continues the high level of offerings that the band gave their fans beginning with the "Headquarters" LP.

However, this album was a bit different from its predecessor. While the Monkees showed the world that they could basically do it all with "Headquarters"--play their instruments, write the music--here, they basically went back, to an individual approach, where each song was crafted with different musicians.

Although the band played on many of the tracks, the "team" approach from the previous effort was not in evidence here, or certainly not in evidence to the extent that it was on the previous LP.

Here, Michael Nesmith really took the reigns as the band's guiding light. Most of the tracks have his stamp on them, either as a writer, singer, musician, producer, or all four, and the results are surprisingly fresh and vibrant. There is no other Monkees LP that exudes the confidence of this one, and it was clearly evident that Micky, Davy and Peter were running with Mike's notion that they could be a band--but here, they didn't have to use the team approach used in the previous effort to do it.

The tracks basically speak for themselves, led by "Pleasant Valley Sunday," which some claim is the group's finest song. The Carole King/Gerry Goffin tune's message--the boredom of suburbia--resonates, and the punch that Micky gives to the song with his vocals is classic.

Two older retreads--"She Hangs Out" and "Words"--are polished up and given new life on this album, and the Nesmith songs--most prominently "The Door Into Summer," which was contemplated as a possible single--are among the best tunes in his Monkees canon.

And who can forget the slightly psychedelic meanderings of "Daily Nightly" and "Star Collector"? The former certainly predated the future punk movement, while the latter is simply a tour de force between Micky and Paul Beaver, the moog synthesizer pioneer. And yes, this was probably the first pop/rock album to prominently feature the synthesizer, which at the time was something quite unique.

The only missing piece on the album, I believe, is that Peter Tork is pretty much missing in action on the LP. He does do the "Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky" to the hilt, and instrumentally, he is on most of the tracks. But for some reason, the giant steps he took as a singer and songwriter on "Headquarters" is pretty much not in evidence here.

Otherwise, this album is pop/rock at its poppiest, and it stands as one of best albums ever released in this genre.

You can access the album at