Record Store Day Strikes Again – Another Link in the Collector’s Chain – The Monkees “Missing Links” Volume 2 and 3

A week ago today there was another Record Store Day across the world.

For those uninformed Record Store Day highlights independent record stores around the world and record companies release exclusive items, mostly vinyl and CDs, only to those independent record stores who are part of the Record Store Day system.

Collector’s love Record Store Day as they are usually a ton of cool and exclusive vinyl that they can add to their collections though truth be told the flippers and prices are beginning too really drag the fun out of trying to fight your way through the crowds to find these limited edition goodies.

I had to work last Saturday so it made it easier to stay away and not spend any money. I have a hard time when items are right in front of me so I thought I had done well. I had good intentions, I really did, but nearly a week later I fell victim to my own collector’s greed and purchased a couple of items that were available last week.

You see there were three groovy colored vinyl pressings of three of my favorite Monkees albums/collections that were released last week through Friday Music Records: “Missing Links Volume 1”, “Missing Links Volume 2” and “Missing Links Volume 3”

(Note: Each of these three volumes were limited to 2000 copies pressed so they pretty much flew off of the shelves and are now going for obscene money online.)

These three albums originally came out on Rhino Records in the late 1980s and early 1990s and were lovingly put together by esteemed Monkees historian and manager Andrew Sandoval and Bill Inglot who engineered all three sets.

All of these collections are full of fantastic Monkees songs that were left in the vaults in the 1960s and thought to be lost to the mists of time until Sandoval and Inglot searched high and low and restored them to their sonic glory and made them a big part of the Monkees canon.

The quality of the music on these sets is truly astounding as many of the songs on them were not only just as strong as but in many cases better than the songs that were picked to go on the original Colgems Monkees albums in the ’60s. In fact I’d say song for song “Missing Links Volume Two” is one of the strongest Monkees albums that was ever issued and should have come out at the time.

(Note 2: All three Missing Links CDs are long out of print and are now hard to find)

Only one of these Missing Links collections was originally released on vinyl, Volume One, and the other two only were released on compact disc so naturally most collector’s have longed to have the others on vinyl if they were done right and sounded good.

And there’s the catch – done right. 

Normally I would have been chomping at the bits to get these on vinyl but Friday Music who released them has a tendency to be hit or miss on their vinyl reissues with some nice quality releases and some not so much.

After reading the pre-release information about these discs it was clear that Friday Music, who licensed the albums from Rhino Records, was just going to copy the CD masters over to vinyl and hope for the best. That kind of put me off as I already own the original CDs which sound great so why bother getting these?

Then there is also the sticky question as to why Friday Music has taken off the credits for Andrew Sandoval and Bill Inglot which is truly a crime. Without Sandoval’s and Inglot dedication none of these gems would more than likely never seen the light of day and not in the great quality in which they were issued by Rhino Records.

Friday Music has previously reissued some nice Monkees CDs and vinyl but even those lacked the Sandoval and Inglot credits and they should be called out for that as they are taking credit for someone else’s hard work.

All of these issues weighed on my mind plus the fact that these three new vinyl issues by Friday Music were priced way too high set me off of buying them so I skipped Record Store Day last week.

Well as is usual with me I caved. It just so happens that I came upon the two volumes that I didn’t own on vinyl (volumes two and three) this week at a small record store in Michigan that still had some in stock and also had them priced under what I had seen them online so I’ll be damned if I didn’t buy them! (Not a shocker really if you’ve ever read this blog before lol).

I knew that if I saw them in person it would be too tempting and sure enough I was right. Even though I felt that they didn’t hold a candle to the recent and lovely Run Out Groove reissue of “The Monkees” the collector in me won out and so here we are.

Now that I have these two lovelies in my hands and have played them what do I think you may ask?

Well, let’s see. 

The Positives:

  • Each of the volumes is pressed very well, nice and flat and super quiet and the colored vinyl sure does look purdy
  • They each sound pretty good though you can tell they were sourced from the CDs and they sound a little flat in places but overall they sound nice. They actually remind me of the sound of original Colgems pressings which were decent but not great so that’s kind of fun
  • I love how the back covers look like the 1969 era Colgems Monkees albums as these issues would have been great to have been released at the time as they feature a lot of songs that were on the Saturday morning reruns of The Monkees TV show which was getting great ratings 

The Negatives:

  • The price – ugh too high. At least most of Friday Records previous Monkees releases were reissued with groovy new gatefold covers with cool photos of picture sleeves of the era, etc. These three sets are just bare bones with no notes or photos at all. A missed opportunity. (Truth be told it seems that Rhino Records isn’t that keen on quality Monkees reissues anymore)
  • The artwork is obviously scanned from the Rhino CD booklets as they are pixelated and grainy – see photos above and below

All in all a mixed bag but I have to say they were fun to play and sound decent enough. I really should have taken more of a stand and not bought them as they should have credited Sandoval and Inglot but the collector in me got the best of my judgement. 

They are fun to own but I am so looking forward to the next Run Out Groove Monkees vinyl release (“More of the Monkees”) as Run Out Groove releases are truly superb and done right in every way possible.

Well there you have it. That’s all from this collector’s corner of the Web. As usual you can take a gander at these two new albums above and below to see how they look.

Until next time, have a great weekend and be safe and well … and listen to some music!

In a World of Pure Imagination … “McCartney III Imagined”

Okay, sometimes being an old fart is a good thing but sometimes being an old fart can just get in your way.

Take for example this new CD that just arrived in my mailbox called “McCartney III Imagined”.

This groovy new CD takes Paul McCartney’s latest album that was released a few months ago and casts it in a new light featuring the entire album redone with new remixes and new takes of the songs by some of today’s modern musicians. I won’t pretend to know most of them besides Beck (the old fartitis I was talking about) but I was curious to hear what they had done to McCartney’s album.

Actually the music on this CD has been available online for weeks but when it was first announced I was, shall I say, less than enthused about the idea and decided to not listen to these new remixes/versions online and waited for the old fart physical disc to be released.

Well that disc was released today and voilà here we are and here that discs sits in my old-fashioned CD player.

I sat and looked at the new cover and read over the contents and thought “well, here we go, let’s give it a try.”

And here’s where the old fart gets in the way. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to find that I sort of liked some of these remixes. Actually most of them were pretty darn good! I pretty much enjoyed the entire CD and that  did surprise me. I’m happy to say that this new CD is a lot of fun and not what I was expecting.

My initial worry was that this album would sound like one of those tribute albums that barely resembled a Paul McCartney album. I thought I’d have to really dig deep to hear any trace of McCartney in these new versions of the songs from “McCartney III” but I was totally and happily mistaken.

Not is McCartney all over these new remixes but much of the album reminds me of the experimental remixes McCartney himself put together in the 1980s especially for the material on his 12-inch singles (remember those?) and his 45 b-sides (remember them?).

Here’s a run down of my thoughts on each track on this new 2021 version of “McCartney III”:

Find My Way (featuring Beck) – I actually really enjoyed this take. It reminds me a lot of ’80s McCartney and is the perfect link to the McCartney II album. It definitely has a much more experimental vibe much more so than the mix that was on the original album last year.

The Kiss of Venus (Dominic Fike) – Not bad but not my cup of tea. I do enjoy hearing a modern spin on this track but prefer McCartney’s original.

Pretty Boys (featuring Khruangbin) – I actually love this! Again reminds me of McCartney II. Love the atmosphere of this version. This takes the track to another level, very fun. Also reminds me of the late 1980s McCartney b-sides which I love.

Women and Wives (St. Vincent remix) – Now this is really cool. Great remix. Love the jazzy yet bluesy feel. I may prefer this mix to the original. I’m surprised at how much I’m really enjoying this album so far. It’s actually quite good probably my favorite on the album.

Deep Down (Blood Orange remix) – The beginning of this remix reminds me of Brian Wilson for some reason. I love the transformation of this track too, really interesting. While I love the original track this remix has a little bit more variation which is really fun to hear. This remix has a bit lighter touch than the original yet still atmospheric.

Seize the Day (featuring Phoebe Bridger’s) – Now I really enjoy this version. I like Bridger’s vocal. This is modern yet retro as well – my sweet spot. One of my favorites on the album. It shows how strong McCartney’s writing is when other people can make the songs shine.

Slidin’ (EOB remix) – I still really love this song it reminds me of the great lost Wings single from the ’70s. This remix is actually pretty terrific. This sounds a little bit more like the Foo Fighters but still very interesting.

Long Tailed Winter Bird (Damon Albarn remix) – Pretty cool remix actually. A little soul, a little techno – great vibe to this mix. I still prefer the original but this is pretty cool.

Lavatory Lil (Josh Homme) – Not bad but doesn’t add much to the track. Not horrible. Not my favorite but I can listen to it, interesting.

When Winter Comes (Anderson .Paak remix) – This is interesting but I love the simplicity and the beauty of the original. Fun and not bad but the original is a minor McCartney classic that really stands on its own and doesn’t need a thing added to it.

Deep Deep Feeling (3D RDN remix) – I’m kind of meh on this remix. I like the atmosphere of the original much much better. Probably my least favorite remix on this album though I do enjoy the “Temporary Secretary” riff throughout. This may grow on me.

Long Tailed Winter Bird (Idris Elba remix) – Interesting but near the bottom on my list of the remixes on this album. There are parts I enjoy but maybe a little too modern sounding for my taste.

There you have it. One really good new/old yet new Paul McCartney album – and that’s never a bad thing.

Like I said when I’m wrong I’m wrong. I’ll think I’ll actually come back to this album a lot. It’s very atmospheric and much much better than I was anticipating. This time around though I’m skipping the multi-colored vinyl editions and different cover variations – this one CD version will do me just fine.

But I’m happy to say that this CD is a really well worth seeking out especially for all those other old fart McCartney fans out there who may have pooh-poohed it. Go on, give it a try. Hunt down a copy or hunt it down online. It’s really fun and very Paul McCartney.

Well, there you have it. Just a quick note on this new Paul McCartney album. I’m old so it’s time to take a nap.

Until next time be well and see you soon.

Take care and be well … AND GET VACINATED!!!

 

 

 

 

Banana Colored “The Monkees” – Web Exclusive Version from Run Out Groove

Okay, a quick update to last weeks Monkees blog post.

I had actually ordered a Web exclusive version of “The Monkees” (for review of this new set see previous post) directly from Run Out Groove and lo and behold it finally arrived today.

As you can see from the photos above this version, which could only be purchased from the Run Out Groove Website (https://www.runoutgroovevinyl.com/), came pressed on spiffy looking yellow vinyl for the first 1000 orders received. As luck would have it I was one of the first 1000 and today that groovy yellow vinyl version is now in my hot little hands.

All of the music and packaging is the same except for the vinyl color (I know, I know collector’s are a weird breed!).

And today is fitting day to receive this yellow pressing as the Run Out Groove website just this afternoon began to take pre-orders for their next Monkees project – a 2 LP version of “More of the Monkees”. The early orders for that disc will come in a green color and I’m sure will go fast.

To pre-order click here: https://shop.runoutgroovevinyl.com/more-of-the-monkees-deluxe-edition-green-vinyl-edition.html

If this pressing of “The Monkees” is any indication than the upcoming two disc pressing of “More of the Monkees” should be a thing of beauty and be the definitive sounding version of that album as well as its accompanying bonus tracks.

Well, that’s all for now. Just a quick update on the yellow vinyl version. Stay tuned for more posts soon.

Until next time be well and I hope you’re enjoying your summer wherever you are!

 

 

Run Out Groove Issues Definitive Edition of “The Monkees” on 2 LP Deluxe Vinyl Set

Christmas in July, that’s what it feels like – at least for this Monkees fan anyway.

What am I talking about? You see a division of Warner Brothers Music called Run Out Groove, http://www.runoutgroovevinyl.com, that produces limited edition vinyl reissues of classic rock, pop, soul and jazz albums has just this past Friday reissued a superb 2 LP vinyl set of one of my all-time favorite albums entitled simply “The Monkees” by the iconic TV and music sensation The Monkees.

Actually truth be told this reissue has been a long time coming in many ways. It was announced in the fall of 2020 that pre-orders were being taken for this new set to hopefully be manufactured and produced by the spring of 2021.

Well with Covid rearing its ugly head there have been several production delays producing any vinyl records, let alone this set, this past year or so which has delayed the eventual release of this set by several months.

Suffice to say that after having received a black vinyl copy of this lovely 2 LP set this weekend I say that the wait has been totally worth it!

This not the first time at the rodeo, so to speak, for this particular album being reissued on vinyl or CD.

In fact this new 2 LP set is one of several reissues of this album to hit store shelves over the years including a partially remixed issue on CD by Arista in the late 1980s as well as a terrific reissue of the original mix of the album with bonus tracks on Rhino Records in 1994 and the crème de la crème 3 CD Super Deluxe Edition box set reissue of “The Monkees” through Rhino Handmade in 2014.

So what does this new 2 LP reissue have that the other reissues lack you may ask? Let me tell you.

First off I have to say that everything about this new reissue has been done right with an attention to detail that shows all the love and care the team that produced this set has for the group and the album itself.

From the sturdy and shiny cardboard cover that contains the clearest photo reproduction of the cover (front and back) I’ve ever seen to the great four page insert with absolutely superb liner notes by Andrew Sandoval (who also produced this new reissue as well as being credited with mixing and audio restoration) to the super quiet and flat new pressings of the album along with the best take on the old Colgems label that has ever been done since the original Colgems album releases of the 1960s, this reissue shines in every way.

But the thing that REALLY stands out about this new 2 LP vinyl set is the sound.

In my humble opinion this is the best this album and its accompanying bonus tracks have ever sounded – period! And trust me I own and have heard all the previous reissues of this material.

Esteemed audio mastering engineer Kevin Gray remastered this collection and I have to say the results are stunning! The bass on this set is so nice and so full bodied sounding. It doesn’t overwhelm yet is so present and clear that it’s truly amazing how the bass now floats out of the speakers with a richness I’ve never heard before on these tracks.

The vocals also sound just right with a presence and fullness that was not even captured on the best Colgems pressings from the 1960s. Though I must say that original Colgems pressings were hit or miss as far as sound was concerned. Some that I own sound really sweet but many of them have sibilance issues on certain tracks and a decisive lack of bass especially noticeable on any original pressing of “The Monkees”.

Plus the many bonus tracks on the second disc of this set also sound as good as I’ve ever heard them. The ones that have been previously released by Rhino Records on CD all sound much more in line with the original mixes of the album proper giving them a much more genuine ’60s sound. All the newly remixed tracks now blend in much better with the sound of the original album.

(Note: This new set uses the original stereo 1966 mixes for the album proper, only some of the bonus tracks contain remixes).

The bonus tracks are also sequenced so well that this new 2 LP set makes the perfect presentation of this album and I would now say that this 2 LP version is my preferred way of listening to this album. In fact I will now consider “The Monkees” a double album from now on as the bonus tracks are so good that they should have seen the light of day in the ’60s as some are superior songs to the ones that got released at the time.

The newly unreleased bonus tracks for this set – “I Don’t Think You Know Me” (2014 remix), “So Goes Love” (2020 remix), “I Can’t Get Her Off Of My Mind” (2014 remix), “( I Prithee) Do Not Ask for Love” (2020 remix) and “I Wanna Be Free” (Demo – Take 5) – all sound superb with all but the last one now the definitive sounding mixes of these tracks. There’s also a previously unreleased radio spot on Side 3 that features all four Monkees that’s a treat to hear.

I’ve always enjoyed the new remixes of Monkees tracks that has become common place especially on the Super Deluxe Rhino box sets but the remixes here sound less compressed than the CD issues and more in line with how the original mixes sounded making them a total pleasure to hear and absorb.

Really I can’t think of anything this new 2 LP set doesn’t do right. It is now by far my go to way of hearing this album and I so, so hope that the team that produced this treasure will work it’s way through The Monkees catalog (The Monkees second album “More of the Monkees” may be around the corner) so that all of their 1960s albums at least can be reproduced with such care and love both visually and aurally.

Seeing as how this new 2 LP set is very limited, only 6536 copies worldwide are being produced, if you’re a fan of this album and you still own a turntable then you owe it to yourself to try and hunt down and copy and add it to your collection pronto.

I find it impossible to imagine anyone being disappointed in any way by the quality in both sound and presentation of this new 2 LP vinyl set. Here’s hoping that a CD reissue may one day be on the horizon for those physical music fans who don’t do vinyl but unfortunately I think that’s not likely to happen.

Well that’s all for today. As usual you can find some pictures of this groovy new set above and below.

Until next time be well and more to come soon!