Early Morning Blues and … Early Arista and Rhino Monkees CDs


I think its time for another Coronavirus distraction!

Personally I can use any kind of distraction I can get but for me music is the best medicine for these trying times.

Today I thought I’d turn the wind back dial again and look at some early Monkees CD’s that came out on the Arista and Rhino record labels.

We start our journey today in late 1986. Ahhhh 1986, what a year for Monkees fans.

Who would have thought in January of that year that The Monkees would not only be resurrected commercially speaking but that they would have not only have one of the biggest tours of the year but that they would have a Top Twenty hit as well as see most of their old albums chart plus have a platinum selling new greatest hits with three new songs on it!

That platinum greatest hits was of course “Then & Now – The Best of The Monkees” which contained the Top Twenty song “That Was Then, This Is Now” as well as two other new songs “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere” and a remake of the ’60’s song “Kicks” originally done by Paul Revere and The Raiders.

Of course I was thrilled by the three new songs and was equally thrilled when Arista released a 25 song version of the vinyl Lp on CD near the end of the 1986.

The CD version of “Then & Now – The Best of The Monkees” was the first CD I owned of Monkees music and at the time I was quite thrilled and played it to death. It has a weird mixture of mono and stereo sources and while it’s still a good listen much better sources of these songs have been found since that time so it’s not the best sounding Monkees CD out there.

The following year was when the true Monkees music nirvana happened with the release of the first full new Monkees album since 1970, “Pool It!” on Rhino Records, bas well as also two of my all-time favorite Monkees albums “Live 1967” and “Missing Links” also both on Rhino.

Don’t get me wrong, at the time I was thrilled with the “Pool It!” album and while it does have a decent selection of strong tracks (“Heart and Soul”, “Midnight”, “Gettin’ In” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”) it’s ’80’s production weighs it down and it pales in comparison to the more recent and truly superb “Good Times!” album from 2016.

Even in 1987 I was actually more excited for the release of “Missing Links” and “Live 1967”. “Missing Links” in particular, which was filled with top quality unreleased studio recordings from the 1960’s, was a thrill.

Lost gems such as “All of Your Toys” (the fabled unreleased single from 1967 featuring the guys playing their own instruments) and “Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears”, “Carlisle Wheeling” and “I Don’t Think You Know Me” where quite the revelation as I had no idea at the time that such a treasure trove of  quality music was left to rot in the vaults at Columbia Pictures.

“Live 1967” was also quite a mind blower as I had no idea a live album was recorded in the 1960’s and to this day I’m still thrilled with the garage band roughness of the real Monkees playing their own material for a screaming crowd of hysterical teens.

Both “Missing Links” and“Live 1967” came out many months after their vinyl counterparts and both contained extra tracks which make the CD’s the definitive versions of these albums to own.

My all-time favorite Monkees CD, “Missing Links Volume Two”, came out in January 1990. This album also featured a slew of unreleased Monkees tracks but this time every single song on the collection is a total keeper especially the TV versions of “Valleri”, “I Wanna Be Free” and “You Just May Be the One”.

In fact this collection is so strong I view it as a long lost unreleased superb Monkees album as it’s contents are much better than some of the albums that came out in the 1960’s!

As usual above I posted a lot of photos of these five CDs along with their now rare long boxes. I love the look of the long boxes and even though their a pain to store thy are just so cool like the digital era version of a 45 r.p.m. picture sleeve.

I also threw in some photos of a little booklet that came with the “Pool It!” CD which touts Rhino Records other CD compilations they had out a the time which is a great time piece from the early CD era.

I hope everyone out there is safe and able to be at home. I will be posting more virtual distraction posts soon.

Until next time remember to wash your hands and take care out there!!!





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