Sometimes you just get plain lucky when you buy something from the Internet.
I mean, most times you know what you’re getting but every now and again you think you’re ordering one thing and get something else. Sometimes what you get is better and sometimes it’s worse.
Case in point, I ordered an imported vinyl record of The Monkees first album simply entitled “The Monkees”. From the description it sounded as if it was an RCA pressing from the UK. It said it came in a nice laminated cover, had great sound quality and was overall in very nice shape.
The price was right so I thought I’d take a chance and buy it. I don’t own many UK Monkees pressings so what the heck, I love to add foreign pressings to my collection. If they’re under $20 including shipping which this was then it’s a no-brainer for me.
The album arrived a couple of days ago and to my major surprise it was indeed a lovely copy of “The Monkees” on the RCA label but it wasn’t a UK pressing but a pressing from South Africa!!! I knew that Monkees records were pressed in South Africa but I figured they were quite rare and probably would look and sound crummy.
Well my friends not only does this South African copy of “The Monkees” sound terrific but the cover and the label are in great shape and the album looks as if it was only played a couple of times if that. It’s a very nice clean and crisp sounding copy of the mono mix of this album.
A couple of years ago I stumbled on a pristine mono Colgems copy of this album (see a previous blog post) which sounded really nice and this South African pressing not only equals the sound of that copy it might actually sound a tad bit BETTER. This 32-173 pressing has super quiet vinyl and while not overloaded with bass much like the Colgems pressing sounds nice and full with really warm and crisp vocals.
I’ve only seen a photo of this South African pressing on one other Website, one of my favorite Monkees Websites: http://monkee45s.net/Albums/South_Africa.html
If you take a look at the pressing from the above link the one that I now own has slightly different label text and the RCA Label and 32-173 on the cover aren’t in white box like they are in that photograph from monkees45s.net. Is mine a later pressing? Pressed in another country then imported to South Africa? I have no idea.
All I can say is that this record sounds damn good and makes me want to track down more South African Monkees pressings though I doubt that would be very easy to accomplish as I’ve never seen them for sale online much at all.
I see that the inner sleeve says it was made in Britain so are the covers made in the UK and imported to South Africa? Is the record itself pressed in South Africa or is that imported as well? Again I have no idea. Interesting though.
I also love how the cover to this South African pressing still has the misspelling “Papa Jean’s Blues” on the cover yet has the correct “Papa Gene’s Blues” on the label. Minute yes but interesting to the collector in me.
Oh and there’s also an interesting selection of letters pressed into the matrix grooves on each side of the album. There’s the TZRM number as well which comes from the Colgems master tape number but I have no idea what the selection of letters between dots stands for. Anyone out there familiar with South African pressings? If so drop me a line or comment here and let me know.
Anyway, just a quick post for all the Monkees fans out there. I figured all those Monkees nerds out there like me might like to see and hear about a fairly rare foreign pressing of The Monkees first album. I was just so excited to get this pressing that I had to share it here for those of you who are interested.
As usual you can take a look at some photos of this groovy South Africa pressing of “The Monkees” above and below.
Until next time be safe and well and I hope you’ve been able to get your Covid Vaccine!
More Monkees and more soon to come.