Welcome to August!
Even though it’s only the first week of August a lot of schools around where I live are either already in session or will be next week – probably the case for most of the U.S.
The “back-to-school” ads and displays in stores always take me back to my grade school years and no matter how many decades go by I still remember the early 1970’s and grade school and Saturday morning cartoons, etc.
Actually my grade school nostalgia got kicked into gear a couple of weeks ago while on vacation in Michigan with the purchase of, what else, a record that clearly reminds me of grade school and especially Saturday mornings.
As luck would have it I stumbled upon a fairly rare Monkees album from 1970/71 called “The Monkees’ Golden Hits” on Colgems Records.
“The Monkees’ Golden Hits” featured twelve Monkees tracks that were also made available as separate cardboard records that were attached to the outside back of various Post Cereal boxes (see one of my earlier blog posts which features several of the cardboard records I still own!).
After the cardboard records had been out a while Post Cereal decided to release a mail order regular vinyl album featuring all of the songs from the cardboard records which was only made available through mail order and not in retail stores.
Even though I was only 4 and 5 years old at the time I clearly remember cutting the records from the cereal boxes and walking through the store with my mother pointing out the cereal with The Monkees records so she was sure to buy those boxes. I even have vague memories of her filling out the form (also on the back of a cereal box) to order the full vinyl album.
I also have vague memories of playing that album to death and a much more vivid memory of my older sister being so irritated that I did that she took a pencil eraser and made several erase marks on the record so I wouldn’t be able to play it again! (Never mess with my sister when she’s mad – at least when she was a pre-teen).
Well fast forward a few decades and just a couple of weeks ago I found a really nice copy of “The Monkees’ Golden Hits” in a store in Michigan for the princely sum of $5!!!
Now the record is actually pretty rare and this is only the second time I’ve ever seen one for sale in a store. Funny enough the other time time was about 15 years ago in ANOTHER record store in Michigan lol. Michigan must love their Monkees.
Anyway the record is in great shape and I was flabbergasted when I played it that it sounded TERRIFIC! Colgems pressings are notoriously hit or miss for quality but this record just sounded superb. One of the best sounding original Monkees vinyl records I own.
The other mail order set I’m featuring tonight also comes from the 1970’s and was also only available through mail order.
Simply titled “The Monkees”, this set was released through RCA/Laurie House and featured 2 records filled with The Monkees hits and singles and album cuts.
I remember it must have been the summer of 1976 or 77, somewhere in the mid-’70’s, and we had a huge antenna on the roof of our house that sometimes barely picked up TV stations occasionally from either Chicago, Illinois or South Bend, Indiana which were both pretty far away. (I believe I saw a Chicago station but it may have been South Bend, it’s too long ago to remember exactly).
Somehow I managed to track down a Monkees episode every now and again and even though I could barely see it at times, I clung to the TV for that half hour until the picture and sound came in good enough to enjoy.
(Note: The mid-’70’s was a barren desert for me as a Monkees fan as no channel locally played their TV show and there was no place to track down Monkees records save for the lone release of “The Monkees Greatest Hits” on Arista in 1976. I didn’t drive obviously so I wasn’t aware of any used record stores.)
I remember seeing the commercial for the Laurie House 2 Lp set and after several attempts I got the mail order address for the set and low and behold 4-6 weeks later it magically appeared at my door.
I remember being floored as it had several Monkees songs I have never heard, at the time I didn’t own all of their original singles, so songs like “The Girl I Knew Somewhere”, “Someday Man” and “It’s Nice to Be With You” which came from their 45’s were revelations and I was thrilled to death to have some new (to me anyway) Monkees music.
Luckily by 1976 I kept my records in good shape and this 2 Lp set is still in great condition and still sounds great.
As usual above you can take a glimpse at these two groovy Lp’s that are two of my favorite Monkees Lp’s I own.
And you can see above my original unplayable copy of “The Monkees’ Golden Hits” (with the eraser marks still visible) as well as my original cover which is still remarkably in quite good shape (the cover is in the last two photos). I don’t know how that happened but there you go.
I put the copy of “The Monkees’ Golden Hits” that I bought 15 years ago in my original cover as the cover for it was completely trashed but the record was near mint. Go figure.
The other fun tidbit – to me anyway – is that my original pressing of “The Monkees’ Golden Hits” and the one I found a couple of weeks ago are on thin but sturdy vinyl yet the one I bought 15 years ago, the near mint one, is a very, very thin Dynaflex type pressing.
Weirdly enough the near mint Dynaflex pressing doesn’t sound as good as the VG pressing I just bought a couple of weeks ago which has the occasional pop and click but sounds very full with nice bass and has remarkable sound which really surprised me. Interesting.
Well that’s all for memory lane today.
Until next time be well and look out Fall is coming!