Sunday, March 28, 2010

This Month's Colgems Upload - Instant Replay

Two weeks late, but better later than never, I guess.

Finally, I was able to digitize and upload my Colgems copy of "Instant Replay," an album that to this day I have mixed feelings about. You can access the LP at

As a young listener, I don't think I really liked this album. Coming off the "Head" soundtrack, which was as bizarre--and tantalizing--as the film, this LP is something of a downer, and I still think it is.

But listening to it again as an adult, I don't dislike it as much as I did when I heard it years and years ago.

My change in thinking comes from this: although the music is truly up and down here, this album stands as Davy Jones' defining album as one of the Monkees.

Jones was thought to be the least talented of the foursome, at least musically, although he was a fine singer who had been on Broadway as the Artful Dodger in the classic Broadway show, "Oliver." But musically, he was thought to be out of his league, especially when compared to the likes of Michael Nesmith, and to a lesser extent, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz.

Jones was an excellent interpreter of songs, but as a musician and songwriter, he couldn't hold a candle to his bandmates.

That was put to rest on this LP. If you listen to a single song on this album, listen to "You and I," which is as stark a reality check on the then-current state of affairs in Monkeedom as any of the bandmates ever made.

His vocals also are top-notch throughout the album, and it's too bad that this LP is often dissed, because his contributions are the only real standout found here.

Whoever picked "Tear Drop City" as a single knew the group, now down to three members with the leaving of Peter Tork in late 1968-early 1969, was on a downward plane. This "Last Train to Clarksville" soundalike sounds like a demo, and should have been consigned to the scrap heap, but somehow, not only does it appear here, it was the single chosen to push this LP.

Much better is Micky on "Through the Looking Glass," which with a little bit of sprucing up, could have been a major hit for the threesome. As it stands, it is one of their best non-hit single pop confections, one of Boyce and Hart's top Monkee tunes.

Micky Dolenz also does fine work on his own "Shorty Blackwell," one of the weirdest Monkees songs that they ever recorded. It is a mini-opera about a mouse, I think.

You can gauge Michael Nesmith's interest in the Monkees at this point by his songs on this album. They aren't bad, but they aren't up to the standards that he set on earlier albums.

As a pastiche of old recordings, newer updates of these recordings, and new recordings, "Instand Replay" signals an act going down quickly.

And yes, Peter Tork's absence is clearly felt here. Even though his contributions had been a great source of debate in the Monkees' camp, he proved on "Head" that if given the opportunity, he could contribute as much as the others to the strength of the foursome. Here, having left the group, his spark isn't around anymore, and you can feel it listening to this collection.

It isn't a bad album, but it really isn't a good one either.

And Davy Jones saves it, which is saying a lot about the Monkees at this point in time.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Goin' Down, But I'll Be Back Up On My Feet Soon

Due an accelerated work schedule, I must postpone the latest Colgems Album Upload for the time being.

I will be back in the saddle by next week, and that is when everything will resume.

Please bear with me as I get back to where I should be. Work has been impossible lately, and I must get that in check before I do anything else.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Rhino's "The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees" Re-Release

I have kept silent about Rhino Records' re-releases of the Monkees original studio albums.

I strictly want to cover Colgems releases, not re-releases of product from the label.

But I will now make an exception.

They have done a pretty nice job with this project, but the re-release of "The Birds, the Bees, and the Monkees" outshines them all.

It is, hands down, the best re-release of an original album that I have ever seen.

Read more about it at the companion blog to this one, Ranting and Raving, at