Bees Around the World … Monkees Birds Recordings in Mono/Stereo

“Fine man, crazy man, he can’t see
Sound of the sunset, sound of the sea
Why do the people always look at me?
Nobody here can see that we are you
We are you
She’s him, too
She’s him, too
Fine man, crazy man, he can’t see
Sound of the sunset, sound of the sea
Mmmmmmmmm
Mmmmmmmmm
” – from “Auntie’s Municipal Court” written by Mike Nesmith and Keith Allison, recorded by The Monkees

Ahhh, the guitar licks from that song buzz through my mind like a shot of electricity every time I read the lyrics above.

Even though the words don’t make complete sense literally; they somehow fit together in a way that makes perfect sense figuratively. Like some crazy quilt poem that floats in the air creating a psychedelic and impressionistic sound painting.

See, that’s what I love about recordings from the late 1960s. They are so different and much more interesting, to me anyway, than any other decade. The best of them take me to a place far away and out of time and remain eternally odd yet endearing.

Several songs on “The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees” album take me to places far away and seem so out of time that they are from the distant past and the present at the same time.

Mike Nesmith’s other epic song from that album, “Writing Wrongs”, is another wild and somewhat psychedelic journey through the mind poetically. Eerie yet interesting – compelling.

You can skip from the roaring twenties with “Magnolia Simms”, leap to the smooth as silk “Daydream Believer”, one of the best pop confections ever put to vinyl, and then land on the unfortunately ever relevant war protest rant “Zor and Zam”.

Seriously, could any other decade have produced a song called “Zor and Zam”!

Of course there’s plenty of other sublime pop moments sprinkled throughout the album as well and while this album is not the height of The Monkees recorded output it has over time become one of my favorite recordings by the group.

Note: Anyone interested in this album needs to check out, if you can, the 3 CD Super Deluxe box set that includes a plethora of unreleased songs, mixes and alternate takes that raise this album to one of the most interesting periods in The Monkees’ recording career.

As it stands though the album is a fine slab of late 1960’s pop/rock psychedelia that sure does have its moments! And those moments sound even more in your face and psychedelic when listening to the rare mono mix.

Anyway, long story short, for this post I’m starting 2018 with a few photos of some rare copies of vinyl I own of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” recordings (pictured above and below).

My favorite is the E.P. (extended play) 45 I own from Mexico that features the true mono mixes of “Valleri”, “Auntie’s Municipal Court”, “Tapioca Tundra” and “P.O. Box 9847”.

I know the mono mixes have been included in the Super Deluxe box set I mentioned above but there’s something much more powerful when listening to the mixes off a clean vinyl pressing.

The Mexican E.P. I own is in great shape and sounds superb – the songs just jump out of the speakers with a vitality that’s missing from the CD transfer. And since it includes two of my favorite songs on the album, “Auntie’s Municipal Court” and “P.O. Box 9847”, it’s probably my favorite vinyl issue I own of “Birds and Bees” recordings.

Unfortunately I don’t own a true mono vinyl pressing of the whole album but I’m ever hopeful to stumble across one without taking out a mortgage!

The other two pressings shown are a mono copy of the album that was pressed in Brazil (not the true mono mix unfortunately but a fold down) and a really nice stereo copy of the album from France.

All of these pressings come from my early days on ebay and were obtained fairly cheaply I might add. I got quite a lot of rare material about fifteen or twenty years ago when ebay first burst on the scene.

So, enjoy these photos and throughout the year I’ll add more cool variations of this and The Monkees “HEAD” and The Beatles “White Album” in celebration of their big 5-0!

Mmmmmmm!

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