Hitting the High Seas – Monkees CD Variations Part 2 (More Monkees in Japan)

 

“Here we come, walking down the street …”

That phrase certainly does seem familiar. Doesn’t it?

Well if you’re of a certain age it most certainly does. Anyone who was a fan of television or popular music from oh say 1966 to 1987 or so would be able to name that tune in probably three notes.

Of course that phrase and this blog post is about … The Monkees. Anyone whose seen this blog knows that I love The Monkees.

Today I saw that it’s the thirty-third (Seriously? Yikes!) anniversary of the release of The Monkees 1987 comeback album “Pool It!” (originally released in August 1987) which inspired me to go digging for some kind of rarities to celebrate that occasion.

Lo and behold that little bit of digging turned up a groovy promo CD of the “Pool It!” from Japan as well as a couple of other Japanese Monkees CDs I own that you don’t see much of these days – at least in the States.

The three Japanese Monkees CDs I’m talking about include:

“The Monkees” – 2 CD Deluxe Edition of the album released in 2006

“More of the Monkees” – 2 CD Deluxe Edition of the album also released in 2006

“Pool It!” – 1995 reissue of the CD from Rhino Records, promo copy

Let’s start with the 1995 reissue of “Pool It!” shall we. At the time of the albums release in 1987 I was so primed for a new Monkees album, the first full new album the group put out sine 1970, that I’m sure I would have loved and devoured anything they put out.

It just so happens that at the time I loved the “Pool It!” album (shocker, I know). I loved that it sounded modern and was filled with songs I was certain would be very radio friendly thus pushing the album to be a big seller.

Well, that didn’t really happen.

The album got virtually zero airplay and along with it’s first single “Heart and Soul” (which by the way to this day I think is a good tune and superb music video) didn’t really set the charts on fire and quickly disappeared as fast as it came.

There are several reasons for this under performance by the now hot reunited Monkees trio but chief among them was a feud with MTV which resulted in the group being banned from MTV’s playlists and airwaves.

Even without being a big seller, I was happy to have new Monkees material and of course the group was still in good voice and it was just nice to see them back from teh great beyond so to speak as in 1984/85 any sort of Monkees revival at all seemed like pure science fiction.

Anyway, these days looking back I feel that the “Pool It!” album is way too mired in ’80’s production as well as a few bland songs. I would say that five of the songs are really quite good – “Heart and Soul”,”Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Midnight”, “Since You Went Away” and “Gettin’ In” – while the others are decent but not quite as memorable.

I must say though that the Japanese promo CD is truly a fun find and I’m glad I own it. As a true blue nostalgia nut it’s fun sometimes to step back into the 1980’s and this particular version of the “Pool It!” is one I pull out when I’m in the mood.

The other two Japanese CDs really aren’t Japanese pressings – that is the discs aren’t. Both the Deluxe versions of “The Monkees” and “More of the Monkees” are the regular Rhino US CD versions that are packaged with lovely Japanese inserts and booklets that surround the US CD sets.

Of course at the time I ordered them online I had no idea that they weren’t Japanese full pressings and was a little bit miffed when they came in the mail.

You can see the collector in me kept them anyway because of the superb packaging and as you can see above I never opened the US discs preferring to keep them as backup copies.

Little did I know at the time that both sets would be bettered by three disc Super Deluxe sets years later but even so these 2 CD sets contain several mixes that are unique to those sets which makes them must own sets nonetheless.

Both of the Deluxe sets above contain the original stereo as well as mono mixes of each album plus a plethora of fantastic remixes, outtakes, alternate mixes and TV mono mixes which really flesh out both albums and really take you inside the frantic recording sessions from the early days of The Monkees recording career.

Some of my personal favorites from both sets include: The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (Alternate Mix)” and “Papa Gene’s Blues (Alternate Mix)” both featuring all four Monkees on background vocals, “You Just May Be The One (TV Version)”, “Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun To Care) (Demo Version)”, the slowed down “Tear Drop City (Alternate Mix)” as well as “Valleri (First Recorded Version)”, “Words (First Recorded Version)” and “I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet (First Recorded Version)”

Both of these sets are superbly done and are well worth taking the time to track down as they are models of how to reissue a classic album that not only illuminates how the album was made for the super fan but is also filled with enough truly great unreleased content that even a casual fan of ’60’s pop/rock would find something to love in each set.

Of course the groovy Japanese packaging is superb as well and since these sets are rarely seen I thought it might be fun to show what they looked like for those Monkeeheads out there who may never have run into them.

That’s all for now.

Take care and be safe and well.

Until next time … Same Bat Time and Same Bat Channel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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