It’s been a couple of good years recently for all things Monkees related at least as far as new releases and concerts are concerned.
With the recent (and excellent) “Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkees” mini-tour just this past month not to mention last year’s “The Monkees Farewell Tour”, featuring Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith, plus the stupendous “The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story” expanded book reissue by Andrew Sandoval in 2021 as well as Run Out Groove’s 2 LP vinyl reissue of “The Monkees” also in 2021 it’s been quite a time to be a Monkees fan – with some exceptions.
The biggest exception of course was the death of Mike Nesmith this past December. Nesmith’s death cast a major pale on all future Monkees activities as there is now only one surviving Monkee left, Micky Dolenz, to carry the torch for the group’s legacy.
The fact that such high quality new releases and concerts are even happening at all now is a very healing thing for most Monkees fans and a welcome mental balm for the realization that time is indeed ticking on faster and faster with each passing year and soon The Monkees will be a complete thing of the past.
BUT not all is doom and gloom this week my friends. A couple of days ago I happened to receive a most groovy and superb new 2LP vinyl numbered reissue of The Monkees biggest selling album “More of the Monkees” from 1967.
The “More of the Monkees” album spent 18 weeks at the number one position on the Billboard Top 200 charts at the beginning of 1967 while managing to also sell a whopping five million copies+ in the process. Looking back those kind of numbers are truly remarkable and show just how popular the so-called “pre-fab” four were for a time in the late 1960s.
So how does this new Run Out Groove reissue of “More of the Monkees” stand up in comparison to previous reissues of this classic album? In a word: marvelously.
First off much like last year’s Run Out Groove reissue of “The Monkees” this new 2 LP version of “More of the Monkees” is a total quality product from start to finish. The artwork, the packaging, the song selection, the mastering (done by the esteemed Kevin Grey) and even the record labels are done with such care and precision that I doubt you ever find a more lovingly put together reissue of this album.
The main album itself on the first disc in this set is a wonderful remaster of the original stereo mix from 1967. Having played this first album a couple of times I can say that for sure this new mastering is really well done but the limitations of the original stereo mix are also very apparent as well.
The original 1967 stereo mix had a lot of brightness baked into the mix and at higher volumes this new remaster can sound a bit brittle and edgy. I found that for this first disc if I kept the sound a tad bit lower in volume the brightness wasn’t too much of an issue. In fact the album now sounds a bit more punk and/or grungy which gives it a bit more rockier feel than the original Colgems vinyl from 1967.
I will say though that the bass and vocals really shine on this new remaster so while this new reissue isn’t as sonically pleasing as the 2021 Run Out Groove reissue of “The Monkees” the fault lies not in the mastering which is overall superb but the original mix itself.
The second disc features a nice selection of unreleased outtakes and mixes that didn’t come out during the 1960s. This amazing disc contains stereo and mono mixes of songs that for the most part are actually better than several of the songs that did make it onto the original “More of the Monkees” album.
(Note: Not only is the track selection great but the sound really improves on this second disc with no hint of the brightness or edginess of the first disc. Of course these outtakes and remixes didn’t get treated to the same amount of bouncing, etc. that the original album mix did and several of these mixes on disc two are fresh remixes from the multi-tracks which helps to improve the sound).
Take a look at the track listing of disc two:
- Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears (stereo) 2:18
- Don’t Listen To Linda (2017 stereo remix) 2:29
- I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet (first recorded version) 2:38
- Of You (mono mix) 1:58
- I Don’t Think You Know Me (second recorded version – mono mix) 2:20
- Words (first recorded version – mono TV mix) 2:49
- Valleri (first recorded version – mono TV mix) 2:32
- Through The Looking Glass (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix) 2:34
- I Never Thought It Peculiar (mono TV mix) 2:13
- Tear Drop City (1966 mono mix) 2:18
- Hold On Girl (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix 2:46
- I’ll Spend My Life With You (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix) 2:32
- Mr. Webster (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix) 2:52
- (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love (first recorded version – 2017 stereo remix) 3:18
Honestly if you kept this second discs lineup but swiped out “Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears”, “Don’t Listen To Linda”, “I Never Thought It Peculiar” and “Of You” and replaced them with “She”, “Sometime in the Morning”, “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and “I’m a Believer” you’d have an even stronger and improved “More of the Monkees” album.
Actually though there’s not a bad song in the bunch on this second disc so it would really be hard to decide which version of “More of the Monkees” would be best so I’m glad that at least now we have what amounts to another new Monkees 1967 album that is every bit equal to and in some ways superior to the first two Monkees albums that did get released.
And of course the liner notes on this new reissue of “More of the Monkees” are some of the best liner notes on any issue of this album that I’ve ever seen. Monkees manager and historian Andrew Sandoval, who also cut the disc along with Kevin Grey, put a lot of new details from recently discovered court documents from the 1960s from The Monkees themselves that really illuminate what was going on behind the scenes during the making of this album.
A lot of drama and friction between the group and the powers that be (Don Kirshner, Colgems Records, Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson) are detailed in these notes and really make for a powerful and entertaining read as you listen to the discs. Since a lot of these interviews, especially from Jones and Nesmith, feature new details about the recording process for the first few Monkees discs this new reissue is truly a wonderful peak behind the curtains of the pop world of LA circa 1966/67.
I have to say with the results this good I’m praying that several more, if not all, of the original Monkees albums get this deluxe vinyl treatment as these two Run Out Groove albums now stand as the final word in sound and packaging for these first two Monkees albums – they are truly that good!
As you can tell I’m very pleased with this new reissue of “More of the Monkees” and can’t say enough how good it is and any Monkees fan out there who likes this album and is reading this should run to your local indie record store, if you have one, as they may have the black vinyl version of this album in stock.
(Note 2: The version of the new Run Out Groove “More of the Monkees” vinyl set featured in this blog is the green vinyl version that was exclusive to the Run Out Groove Website and is now sold out)
So there you have it! A terrific new Monkees reissue has hit the shelves and has now landed happily on my own shelf and my turntable as well.
As usual you can see photos of this new reissue of “More of the Monkees” above and below.
Hopefully they’ll be some other new groovy Monkees reissues to spotlight in the near future as Andrew Sandoval has hinted on his Facebook and Instagram feeds. Hint: it has something to do with The Monkees “Headquarters” album/sessions.
Until next time be safe and well and enjoy the warmer weather and may you have a happy door into summer (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Monkees fans will get it).
See you round these parts soon!