Beware My Love or Welcome to the World My Fine Feathered Fakes




These three words strike fear in the hearts of collectors everywhere. Trust me I know!

Over the years I, along with thousands of other trusting souls, have managed to find a few choice fakes of some really cool items, mostly Beatles items.

Today I’m sharing two fake finds I own that are really interesting:

  • Reproductions of early Beatles 45’s with picture sleeves
  • A set of four “Mexican” Beatles REMCO dolls

Most of my fake finds were acquired in the late 1970s and early ’80s through mail order or magazine ads. At a time I was young and naive and was desperate to find some original treasures that were cheap and looked amazingly genuine.

I had a thing for Beatles 45 picture sleeves and when I was twelve I saw a mail order ad featuring a slew of singles with their picture sleeves cheap and mint. I was hooked! Couldn’t put my order in fast enough.

For any future collectors out there, finding rare items for what seems like too good a deal usually is a red flag.

These reproductions were so nice looking that for a few years I thought they were the genuine items. It wasn’t until I bought a real sleeve of one of the singles at flea market that I realized I had been swindled.

Don’t get me wrong, every now and then I still manage to score a few dudes on ebay or from the Amazon marketplace but for the most part I am much more aware of what a real item looks like and I’m not willing to spend much money unless I’m certain an item is real.

Thankfully I’ve never been taken for large sums of money for fake items and in my younger days I thought cheaper price meant better bargain. Nowadays my first thought is cheap equals phony or abused.

Look at my photos of these fakes or reproductions (below).

Take a close look at the Beatles Swan and Capitol 45’s. From a distance the sleeves look great and so do the labels. Impressive actually.

But when you take a closer look you can see the fuzzy blur on the photos (see “We Can Work it Out” sleeve) and the font on the Capitol singles labels is slightly different from originals as well as the colors of the yellow and orange swirl.

Also if you look closely at the matrix markings in the run out grooves they are not machine stamped like originals but sloppily hand etched.

The best reproduction that I knew was most likely a fake even when I was buying it is a groovy set of Beatles REMCO dolls (see photos above and below) that I bought on ebay about 11 years ago. They were listed as “Mexican” made Beatles REMCO dolls that were supposedly quite rare and original.

Now I’ve never found any trace of REMCO Beatles dolls being produced in Mexico but this set was only $75 and since they look so funny with the super long hair I thought they would look great on display.

They do resemble the genuine REMCO dolls but lack instruments around their necks and have colored eyes and painted eyebrows (unlike originals) and the hair on these REMCO repros is about three times as long as the real dolls!

That hair!

It’s so out of control and over the top that it really makes these reproductions worth owning as long as you don’t pay too much. Side by side with original REMCO dolls I actually enjoy the freakish look of the fakes to the originals!

There are so many resources in print and online these days that it’s now much easier to spot fakes but there are some really good ones out there.

Feast your eyes on these fun reproductions and as always BUYER BEWARE!

Enjoy and until next time Happy Collecting!!!



20171116_073151-1.jpg 20171116_073244-1.jpg











Bits and Pieces or Virtual Music Dumpster Diving

Thank God It’s Friday or so the saying goes – and boy am I ever!

Today here in Blogland I thought it might be fun to take a look at a few things I found recently that will bring back some fond memories for those of you who were music fans in the ’70s and ’80s.

It’s sort of a virtual musical dumpster dive into my grab bag of weird items I’ve saved forever for no apparent purpose other than to fill up this blog lol.

So let me take you back about 37 or 38 years or so. Back to a time before cell phones – can you believe there was such a time? Back before personal computers, Google, Netflix and certainly back before downloading.

You see back in my late grade school and high school days (1978-1981) music shopping for me meant haunting department stores to get my current music fix.

Of course looking back it makes perfect sense. I didn’t have my driver’s license until 1981 and since I was usually going with a parent or friend’s parents to department stores that’s where I found most of my music and records.

Back then I followed the Top 40 religiously and knew every artist and new song and kept track of every chart movement and every stat of my favorite groups much like a rapid sports fan.

I loved to listen to Casey Kasem on American Top Forty on the radio and that show pumped me up for my record shopping excursions.

Nowadays I’m lucky to even recognize anything in the Top 40 but for a few short years I loved all the current hits and bought a good share of them as well.

What I usually did whenever I went to say a Kmart or Montgomery Wards store was march over to the record section and grab a few flyers advertising the latest hits or the most popular hits at that particular store.

Most of them were just printed on flimsy pieces of colored paper that I’m sure didn’t survive the passage of time, errr in normal households.

I, of course, did manage to save a few of these lovely flyers which is really a nice time capsule as it takes me back to that time in a vivid way. Makes me want to grab for a frozen Coke which I often did while reading them back in the day.

Oh, the other thing that I want to share (see photo above for front and below for rear) is a rack card for a Flashback 45 of The Monkees “I’m a Believer”.

This is my earliest item here today and it was purchased in the mid-1970s from a grocery store not a department store.

I distinctly remember a local grocery store stocking several of these hit 45s which were part of a series called “20 Years of Gold – Gold Hit Records from the Past”. Remember those?

The store had a huge display filled with these cards which had the 45 shrink wrapped on them near the bottom of the card.

For some reason I kept the card for “I’m a Believer” but I also remember buying some Mama’s and Papa’s 45s as well as The Association. My packrat ways must have been started then as I felt the need to keep this card for The Monkees but there you go lol.

Below you’ll find a few of the music flyers I kept from department stores.

They are fun to look at and when I do it doesn’t seem quite possible that they were from so long ago – could it possible be over 35 years ago?!! Maybe you’ll spot some favorite songs as well.

Until next time be well and relax, it’s Friday!!!


IMG_0001.jpg IMG_0002.jpg

IMG_0004.jpg             IMG_0006.jpg

IMG_0003.jpg       IMG_0005.jpg



More, More, More (of the Monkees) … How Do You Like It, How Do You Like It

Then I saw your announcement … now I’m a believer!

With the online announcement yesterday of the impending release (December 15, 2017 through of the 3 CD Super Deluxe version of The Monkees second album called “More of the Monkees”, I thought this might be a good time to take a stroll down memory lane.

My memory lane.

You see, the “More of the Monkees” album holds a special place in my musical memory as it’s the first album that I remember ever really loving. Though I actually called it the “She” album for years as that was my favorite Monkees song and first track on the record.

Anyway, I remember playing this album to death as a child. And when I say child I mean child; 6 to 9 months old lol – no kidding! I fell early into my Monkees/record/music habit!

Actually to be totally truthful it was my oldest brothers copy of “More of the Monkees” that I played constantly and which he says I “scratched”, I say loved, to death.

That album is one of the many Monkees related memories my oldest brother and I share along with constantly fighting over replacing that very record.

Which leads me to another early memory. When I was three years old and my father, who rarely took me or my siblings shopping, took a few of us to an Ayr-Way store.

Anyone remember Ayr-Way? For those who aren’t familiar (or aren’t from the Midwest), Ayr-Way was a discount store that I believe was owned by L.S. Ayres and was very much a precursor to Target stores.

I don’t remember much about that shopping trip only that I wanted a copy of a record. Guess which one? Wait for it!

Yep you got it, I distinctly remember torturing my father in an Ayr-Way store in 1969 at the tender age of three until he bought me a copy of “More of the Monkees”. Stereo copy in fact.

I obviously eagle-eyed a copy of it in the record section – even then I could smell a record at ten paces lol – and I suppose I threw a bit of a fit asking him to buy it for me.

Well my father caved in and as soon as I got home my older brother pilfered the record from my greedy little hands saying I ruined his copy (true) so he should get this nice brand new one.

Well of course I wasn’t going to let the album go without a fight so for a few years we fought about this and the many other records (mostly Monkees of course) of his I played  or scratched, or loved, or whatever.

So over the years, after not being able to buy any Monkees records, as they went out of print in the early 1970s, I still exhibit somewhat of a Pavlovian response whenever I see a copy of any Monkees record for sale, especially “More of the Monkees”!

My knee jerk reaction is to reach for the wallet. And as you can see I’ve bought my fair share of copies of this album (see photos) and will soon be adding the Super Deluxe CD set as well!

I can’t wait to hear what’s in store on the new and definitive version of this life long musical friend and will report back with my impressions of the Super Deluxe “More of the Monkees” set here when I get it next month.

So, until then, here’s to another round of “More of the Monkees” and check out some of my favorite versions that I own – so far:

(Oh and by the way, check out those groovy JCPenney clothes The Monkees are wearing on the cover of “More of the Monkees”. I swear my oldest brother had one of those shirts lol!)

From the above photo, I have:

  • a U.S. mono copy still in the shrink wrap
  • a rare stereo copy from 1970 with the redesigned Colgems logo on the back and an RE after the COS-102 designating a reissue
  • a 2006 Deluxe 2 CD version of “More of the Monkees” put out by Rhino Records with tons of bonus tracks, soon to be superseded by the Super Deluxe version coming out in December
  • a 1994 Rhino single CD release featuring a few choice bonus tracks
  • a 2011 Rhino reissue without bonus tracks but featuring the stereo mastering from the 2006 Deluxe set
  • a green vinyl copy from the 2016 Monkees Classic Album Collection 10 Lp box set (featuring all colored vinyl)

From below I have:

  • My prized “More of the Monkees” vinyl – a jukebox 33 and 1/3 EP (extended play) copy featuring six songs from the album, a nice cardboard mini sleeve and jukebox strips
  • a mono UK pressing of the album
  • the hype sticker and card that came with the 1994 Rhino CD of the album


20171107_122947-1.jpg 20171107_122844-1.jpg


Pure Imagination, Pure Gold, Pure Genius … Pure McCartney

Okay, today we’re taking a look at Paul McCartney.

Well, more specifically Paul McCartney’s music.

Paul McCartney’s SOLO music.

Last year in June of 2016, McCartney released a lovely compilation of his solo years entitled “Pure McCartney”; the first time McCartney has chronicled his entire solo career.

The set was made available in three configurations: a 2 CD set with 39 songs, a 4 CD set with 67 tracks and an exquisite 4 Lp package with 41 tracks.

It’s about time too as McCartney has needed a more comprehensive overview of his solo career which I feel is well deserved.

Now those of you old enough to remember the 1970s and 1980s may remember that McCartney’s post Beatles music (1969 to present) had a decidedly mixed reception.

The public loved it giving McCartney 23 Top Ten hits along with 26 gold and platinum selling albums in the U.S. alone.

Critics on the other hand have mostly slagged off his work saying that it doesn’t hold a candle to his Beatles output. I of course disagree.

As a second generation Beatles fan I grew up with McCartney’s solo music intertwined with his Beatles music; I discovered them side by side at the same time. McCartney’s musical output has always seemed like the same career to me and I’ve grown to love his solo output nearly as much as his Beatles work.

Yes, his Beatles work his stunning but his solo work includes just as many gems that need to be discovered  or re-evaluated which is a role the “Pure McCartney” album fills quite nicely.

Songs like “Dear Boy”, “Jenny Wren”, “Calico Skies”, “Every Night”, “Wanderlust”, “Beautiful Night”, “Don’t Let it Bring You Down”, “Flaming Pie”, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”, “English Tea” and “Baby’s Request” get to shine on the 4 CD set along side all the hits from McCartney’s illustrious solo journey.

Even the 2 CD set, for those who aren’t necessarily interested in 4 CDs of music, has a really nice ratio of album tracks and hits that gives the listener a much better overview of McCartney’s solo career than his previous hits collections.

Beginning in 2010 Paul McCartney began a campaign to reissue his solo work in what he has called the Paul McCartney Archive Collection which has also helped bring about re-evaluation of some of his best solo work including the magnificent “Ram” album from 1971.

This archive collection so far has issued ten titles including: McCartney, Ram, Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, Wings at the Speed of Sound, Wings Over America, McCartney II, Tug of War, Pipes of Peace and Flowers in the Dirt.

All of these reissues came out on the Concord Music Group label except for “Flowers in the Dirt” which came out on Capitol Records earlier this year.

In August of 2016 shortly after the release of the “Pure McCartney” collection, McCartney returned to Capitol Records leaving the Concord Music Group who had released his music (and back catalog) since 2007.

Most likely because McCartney knew he was rejoining Capitol Records, the “Pure McCartney” collection not only served as a nice overview of his solo career but as a nice way to end his relationship with the Concord Music Group.

Whatever the reason “Pure McCartney”, though slightly flawed as it skipped songs from the “Flowers in the Dirt” album, is a great way for novices (the 2 CD set) or die hard fans (the 4 CD or 4 Lp sets) to have a handy overview of McCartney’s solo output.

Plus for those vinyl hounds, the 4 Lp set is one of the most attractive packages I’ve ever seen. Nice cardboard inner sleeves and protective rice sleeves along with the enlarged booklet just look stunning. Sounds stunning too.

The 2 CD and the 4 CD set especially (well U.S. versions anyway lol) are inexpensively priced and are a great way to add some McCartney to your music collection.

Check out some photos of the “Pure McCartney” configurations I own (above and below):

2 CD set, 4 CD set (Japanese pressing) and rear cover from 4 Lp set (front and inner sleeves above)

Note: My 4 CD set comes from Japan and the CDs are what’s called SHM-CDs (Super High Material). These CDs play on any CD player but are made of a supposedly better material which helps CD players reproduce the music better. A lot of music fans think this is snake oil but I do notice improved bass (much smoother) and stereo separation. I will do more posts in the future featuring SHM-CDs.

Happy McCartney Monday!



20171017_224025-1.jpg 2017-10-17 22.41.32.jpg

2017-10-17 22.42.44.jpg






Another Pleasant Valley Anniversary or It took Me 50 years to Open the Door Into Summer

What is it about anniversaries that makes people sit up and pay attention?

Is it the fact that something has longevity whether it be a relationship, a favorite event, movie or recording?



Whatever the reason human nature dictates that most people enjoy a good anniversary and with this blog post I’m going to celebrate another one!

Fifty years ago, on November 6, 1967 to be exact, one of my favorite pop/rock albums was released into the eager hands of fans around the globe:

“Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd.” by The Monkees; the group’s fourth long-playing record and fourth No. 1 album.

Now, anyone who’s a fan of pop/rock music from the 1960s has really got to check this album out. In fact they need to check this album out.

In my opinion this album holds a place in the upper echelon of pop albums from that era including “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles (yes I said it and yes I’m a huge Beatles fan), “Between the Buttons” by The Rolling Stones and even “Blonde on Blonde” by Bob Dylan.

I’m not saying “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd.” is by any means better than these albums but it certainly is strong enough to be mentioned in their company.

In fact anyone who is skeptical of The Monkees contribution to the pop culture landscape should give this album a spin and experience just where the hippie culture collided head-on with commercialism bringing a taste of the counter culture to mainstream America.

Think of it, those madcap teen idol Monkees who were too busy putting people down on television were now singing songs about the perils of drug dealers (“Salesman”), the sordid free love ode to a gang bang sung so sweetly by Davy Jones (Harry Nilsson’s “Cuddly Toy”) and the soul numbing rise of suburbia (Goffin and King’s “Pleasant Valley Sunday”).

Also addressed on the album were the stirrings of personal greed that would become omnipresent in the 80s (“The Door into Summer”) and Jones psychedelic moog  synthesizer drenched “Star Collector “(written again by Goffin and King) about the growing rise of the rock star groupie.

Even the Mike Nesmith penned song “Daily Nightly” took a look at the resistance of the establishment toward the growing youth culture in L.A. by poetically recounting a Sunset Strip riot in late 1966 where local youth protested the city of Los Angeles’ strict curfews for those under the age of eighteen.

Really this collection is quite a leap forward for The Monkees, at least in terms of subject matter, in which the group really began to assimilate the times in which they were living into the music they were recording.

Looking back it’s quite amazing to see how the group wrestled control of this HUGELY popular money machine (The Monkees TV show and music) from the likes of Don Kirshner who was originally the music supervisor for The Monkees on screen and on record.

Under Kirshner, The Monkees were enormously successful and turned out some excellent pop music such as “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer”.

Unfortunately Kirshner became so enamored of his own ego that the music recorded under The Monkees banner, especially on the second Monkees album “More of the Monkees”, was quickly in danger of becoming too much of a product like a brand of soap.

Much like the second season of The Monkees TV show in which the madcap humor turned more toward the absurd and surreal (which was perfected by the Monty Python British TV comedy troupe just a couple of years later) the group quickly began to evolve from the cute and cuddly.

In just a few short months songs like the sugary sweet Davy Jones sung ballad “The Day We Fall in Love”, from the Don Kirshner era, were replaced with the likes of the slightly risque “Love is Only Sleeping” on their fourth album to even a Jones composed Brazilian influenced ballad about betrayal and broken relationships called “Hard to Believe.”

Due to pressure from Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork specifically the group won the right to play their own music and pick their own songs to record which resulted in this magnificent fourth album and all the music they recorded thereafter.

To me the “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd.”album is the beginning of The Monkees looking outward toward their surroundings and trying to synthesize their experiences of fame with the current counter culture ethic.

From a purely artistic basis “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd.” Is The Monkees high watermark as a recording group.

I may prefer the slightly more garage rawness of “Headquarters”, their third album, but this fourth album song for song is probably their best work.

So with all that said, I thought I’d celebrate this great album and show a few of the CD versions that I own along with a groovy German vinyl copy of the album that has a slightly different cover to the U.S. original version.

There’s also the Japanese CD from 1992 that features the most unique cover for this album I’ve ever seen!

As you can see from the photos, above and below, I’ve even saved every sticker and insert that came with the various CD versions of this album.

Even after fifty years of listening I still can’t get enough of this album and the songs therein.

Check it out – even if that means streaming the album online or wherever. It will be well worth your time!

Until next installment- Ta Ta for now!


20171102_201700-1.jpg 20171102_204011-1.jpg







Barrel Full of Greatest Hits … The Best of The Best of The Monkees

**Warning: The blog post may induce violent head shaking**

Ah, November!

With Halloween barely in view as it passes your rear view window and Christmas dead ahead like an iceberg you just can’t escape.

Take a seat my friends, while the world is talking turkey, let’s talk CDs.

Monkees CDs.

Monkees Greatest Hits CDs.

You see, since many people feel the holiday season is the greatest time of year, I was inspired to take a look at some greatest hits CDs, Monkees Greatest Hits CDs.

Since there are a dearth of Monkees CD hits collections on the market, I thought it might be fun to share some of the more obscure ones I’ve collected over the years.

Now I know that many people looking at this post may say why on earth do you need to buy the same songs over and over again even if they’re somewhat different or longer or shorter or whatever (hence the warning above).

As I’ve said before, I wish I could tell you lol.

All I know is that every time I run into a new hits set I have this overwhelming urge to add it to my collection!

Some of my favorites are in the photos above and below.

Of all the sets I’ve collected, I have a few that really stick out in my mind as being special:

  • “Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees 20 Smash Hits” – a German CD that was probably the first Monkees hits CD I ever bought. I believe it’s mastered from records so not the greatest sound wise but a good early CD memory
  • A Japanese issue of “Then and Now: The Best of the Monkees” that only has 14 songs like the US vinyl version of this album
  • “The Definitive Monkees” – a 2 CD German set that contains over 60 songs. The first CD has 29 hits and albums tracks and the second CD contains 31 outtake tracks from Rhino Records Missing Links CDs. Nice collection with a wide variety of Monkees tracks
  • Probably the most common CD “The Monkees Greatest Hits” from Rhino Records but this copy comes in a tin case with a slightly larger booklet
  • 3 CD UK set called “The Works” which has a terrific track selection but is a tad bit muted sounding. Good set but not the best sounding collection. It does have one of the most unique track selections so would be a good set for someone wanting a one stop shop collection of Monkees material

The three best sounding collections – my personal favorites:

  • Rhino Records 2 CD “Monkees Anthology” with some nice treats like the mono version of “You and I’ from “Instant Replay” and the first issue of “Pisces, Aquarius” tracks from the master tape; Reader’s Digest 3 CD set called “Here We Come … The Monkees Ultimate Anthology” which has a great track selection as well as great sound; “The Monkees Daydream Believer” a UK Marks and Spencers CD that sounds surprisingly good (one of the best sounding Monkees hits CDs I own) and a nice oddball track selection that includes “Hard to Believe”, “Don’t Listen to Linda”, “You’re So Good to Me” and “Through the Looking Glass” which don’t feature on any other single CD hits collection.

So there you have it. Just a short look at some fairly rare Monkees Greatest Hits collections to keep you warm on a cool fall evening  …

Until next time!








5 Shades of RAM or The Vinyl Wouldn’t Melt So I Put it in a Protective Sleeve

“Ram” by Paul and Linda McCartney.

Does it ring a bell?

If you’ve never heard it, you really should give it a try. It’s a great album!

Probably one of the best solo Beatles albums ever released and there are quite a few excellent ones; definitely in my top five along with “All Things Must Pass”, “Imagine”, “Band on the Run” and “Ringo”.

Top five you say? Wasn’t that album practically panned when it came out in 1971?

Well, yes it was BUT you see dear readers hindsight has revealed that much of the music press at the time had a huge grudge against McCartney who was seen as the man who broke up The Beatles.

“Ram” was Paul McCartney’s second full solo album (third if you count “The Family Way” soundtrack which I’m not lol) away from The Beatles.

McCartney’s first album, titled simply “McCartney”, was practically a one-man show with McCartney playing all the instruments himself and recording much of it at his home.

Critics weren’t overly fond of that first solo album and really had their knives out for McCartney’s second release especially since he credited his wife Linda as co-writer and performer, which to say mildly didn’t go down well.

Taken out of the context of its time, Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Ram” is one hell of a great record. It was lushly produced and more in line with a Beatles style production than what McCartney had done on his first solo album.

The songs and production on “Ram” have a very whimsical quality about them and are filled with slightly mad characters like Uncle Albert from the No. 1 U.S. hit “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” and slightly mad takes on the world like the almost manic “Monkberry  Moon Delight” along with dream like interludes like the songs “Long Haired Lady” and the ukulele based “Ram On”.

With musical styles ranging from rock to pop to country to almost psychedelic, “Ram” takes listeners on an aural journey filled with rich textures and swaths of color much like the musical equivalent of an impressionist painting.

Even the brightly colored cover of “Ram” with it’s cut out photos and scrapbook like  appearance suggest an almost adult comic book feel which along with the music makes the album stand out as some sort of post psychedelic reaction to the 1960s.

Well, at least to me.

You see as a second generation Beatles fan I discovered “Ram” in the summer of 1976, the same summer I discovered The Beatles’s “Magical Mystery Tour” album.

I had no preconceived notions of McCartney’s music, I was just taking his career as one big whole – Beatles music and solo music were all one thing to me.

In fact it’s funny how “Ram” and “Magical Mystery Tour” fit so well next to each other. Both are slightly mad and colorful and both are impressionistic.

“Ram” has always seemed to me to be a natural extension from the music of “Magical Mystery Tour”.

That’s why I believe some of McCartney’s solo work has been seen in a much different light lately as the cloud that surrounded The Beatles break-up is long gone and people now look at the music more on its merits than its history.

Anyway, take a look at some of the different “Ram” pressings in my collection. The first copy of “Ram” that was given to me was on the black Capitol label (see below).

I also have an original U.S. copy (in shrink wrap), a copy from France, a copy on the Columbia label (from McCartney’s short stint on that record label) and a lovely copy of the mono pressing which was released a few years ago in 2012.

The mono copy comes from a true mono mix of the “Ram” album that McCartney made for radio use in 1971 when the album was released.

When the “Ram” album was given a special re-issue in 2012 as part of McCartney’s Archive Collection this rare mix was released on CD as part of a big box set as well as this limited vinyl pressing.

The mono mix is fantastic sounding and well worth seeking out if you are or become a fan of this album.

To quote Paul McCartney – Ram On!

Until next time …

2017-10-30 08.58.37.jpg 2017-10-30 08.54.31.jpg 2017-10-30 08.55.16.jpg

20171030_085631-1.jpg 20171030_090040-1.jpg

20171030_085953-1.jpg 20171030_090144-1.jpg