Welcome again my friends to the blog that never ends … or something like that.
Today I’ve decided to stay on my Monkees kick (it just seems like a Monkees month!) and lo and behold I’m doing another post about some really fun Monkees collections that have come out on CD.
Last time I took a look at two box sets that Rhino Records, who owns The Monkees catalog, put out but today I’m highlighting a couple of sets that were put out in the United Kingdom which feature a nice grab bag of Monkees music from all their big hits to a nice sampling of rarities as well.
These two sets – “The Definitive Monkees” and “The Monkees – Daydream Believer” – were put out through Rhino’s parent company Warner Brothers Music specifically for the UK and European market.
I know “The Definitive Monkees” was certainly more available stateside as I remember seeing it at places like Borders Books (sad face they’re gone!) and Best Buy. Even my local library to this day has a copy in their system as well.
As for “The Monkees – Daydream Believer” that was made for Marks & Spencer which I believe is a retail chain in the UK. I am only slightly familiar with the chain and happened to spot this disc in a used store in California a few years ago.
As for the sets themselves, “The Definitive Monkees” is a super collection that features one disc of hits and prime album tracks plus the deluxe version that I own also includes a really nice bonus disc that highlights several great Monkees outtakes – a sort of “Missing Links” best of collection.
(Note: For those who don’t know, Rhino Records released three “Missing Links” CDs in the 1980’s and 1990’s that featured outtakes from The Monkees 1966-1970 heyday.)
Not only does “The Definitive Monkees” include all the obvious hit singles but it includes some prime album tracks and b-sides as well like “Take a Giant Step”, “She”, “Sometime in the Morning”, “Forget That Girl”, “Goin’ Down” and “What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round”.
The bonus disc includes quite a few of my all-time favorite lost Monkees tracks including early alternate versions of “Hold on Girl” and “Mr. Webster” as well as the wistful Christmas classic “Riu Chiu”, “Merry Go Round”, “The Crippled Lion”, “Hollywood”, “Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears” and “My Share of the Sidewalk” – a terrific outtakes sampler and a really fun listen.
As far as sound goes, I think “The Definitive Monkees” sounds pretty good but as I remember it may be a bit less dynamic then the Rhino US versions but not bad at all. If you’re looking for a nice inexpensive hits plus rarities collection (and you’re still into physical media) this set fits the bill quite nicely!
“The Monkees – Daydream Believer” CD from Marks Spencer also features the hits but surprisingly it also has an odd selection of album tracks that is quite appealing.
Songs like “Hard to Believe”, “Don’t Listen to Linda”, “Through the Looking Glass” and “Early Morning Blues and Greens” rarely feature on a Monkees hits CD so the slightly odd track selection really works as this CD is a great listen and the hits and deep album tracks blend very well making it a really fun collection.
And surprisingly enough I think “The Monkees – Daydream Believer” is actually one of the better sounding Monkees CDs I own. I don’t know why but it just sounds so good and rivals the U.S. Rhino CDs for sound as well as content. I actually prefer it to the main Monkees “Greatest Hits” CD that Rhino put out in the 1990’s.
I’m not sure how rare the “The Monkees – Daydream Believer” CD is but if you find one grab it – it’s a really nice collection for the casual as well as the avid Monkees fan.
Well that’s all for this blog installment.
Happy hunting if you want to try and track these CDs down. I think “The Definitive Monkees” is still readily available but not so sure about The Monkees – Daydream Believer”.
Have a great day and until next time be well and play some music!!!