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!