Cinco Vision – Through the Looking Glass … Instant Replay times five

Seeing multiples you say?

Well, you’re certainly not having double vision.

Cinco vision perhaps?

Maybe you’re just experiencing an “Instant Replay”. That’s it, that’s the ticket!

Today here in my own personal vinyl land we’re celebrating The Monkees first platter released as a trio. Yes, for all you Monkee fans who dropped out after their fifth album, there is no Peter Tork on the cover of this album for a reason – he left!

In February 1969, The Monkees, now a trio, released their last Top Forty album (until 1986’s “Then and Now – The Best of The Monkees”) called appropriately enough “Instant Replay”.

Not only does this album contain some of my favorite Monkee music but hands down this is my favorite Monkees album cover. I love the bright multi-colored shots on the sleeve and have stared at it incessantly for over forty years now.

Anyway, as time has gone on this has also turned out to be one of my most played and most enjoyed albums by any group. Yes, and that includes many of the albums put out by many of the more respected groups of the era.

BUT at the time it came out, I had quite a different reaction.  I thought it was a bit … strange.

Of course I was only four years old (there is actual home movie footage of me getting this album as a gift for my fourth birthday in 1970 – seriously!) and I was used to the more happy/poppy sound of “More of the Monkees” which I had played to death even by this young age.

It was quite a leap from “I’m a Believer” from the “More” album to Micky Dolenz’ epic five minute ode to his cat “Shorty Blackwell” or the pure country of Mike Nesmith’s “Don’t Wait for Me.”

Not to mention the tough rocking “You and I” written by Davy Jones that dealt with the fleeting fickleness of fame (“In a year or maybe two, we’ll be gone and someone new will take our place, they’ll be another song, another voice, another pretty face”) as well as Dolenz other pop confection the minimalist “Just a Game”.

Of course there were also a slew of delectable pop nuggets such as the “Last Train to Clarksville” recycled cousin “Teardrop City” as well as “Through the Looking Glass”, “A Man Without a Dream” and “I Won’t Be the Same Without Her”; it’s just that all the pop songs now took on a much sadder and mature tone then on earlier Monkees records.

As an adult I absolutely LOVE this more mature (some say downer) feel of this material but at the time it came out I was puzzled by it.

What’s interesting is that a lot of these tunes were leftovers from earlier Monkees recording sessions as far back as 1966. These older recordings were mixed with newer songs that Dolenz, Nesmith and Jones had written and surprisingly they work well together and make a very nice collection.

They feel as if they belong together even if they were probably more haphazardly selected to fill out an album.

So, I thought today I would share five different pressings of “Instant Replay” that I own from around the world – three US pressings (from 1969, 1985 and 2012) and two 1969 mono pressings, one from the UK and one from Brazil.

(Note: I love foreign pressings of Monkees albums especially when they’re reworked a bit like the cover from Brazil.)

I know these two mono pressings are just fold-down mixes (not true mono but stereo folded down to make mono) but they are a fun listen nonetheless.

“While I Cry” in mono from the UK just sounds so different in this mono version and the Brazil mono version of “Shorty Blackwell” is truncated, missing the dramatic instrumental opening on all other versions.

All of these pressings of “Instant Replay” sound really nice and there’s just something special about hearing the clicks and pops of the vinyl as that’s the way I grew up listening to this record and it does bring back sweet memories!

As usual there’s a photo collection above of all this groovy vinyl. Take a look and if you’ve never seen the one from Brazil I absolutely love how this one looks and I’ve rarely seen photos of it online.

Enjoy and until next time – Monkee on!






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