Let me turn the way back clock to 1976.
For starters it was the year of the United States Bicentennial.
Anyone who was alive at the time remembers that the Bicentennial was quite a big deal and it was the talk of 1976, at least as I remember it. Of course I was just 10-years-old at the time but it was a monumental celebration as I recall.
There was another less monumental thing that happened that year as well. It just so happens that I experienced a mini-case of Monkeemania as 1976 was also the year that the album “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” was released.
Now anyone who reads this blog knows that I remember things in my life in relation to what music happened to be released at the time so remembering 1976 for “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” is not unusual, at least for me.
You see by 1976 The Monkees as a group had been inactive for six years.
I had been a fan of The Monkees since I was practically out of the womb and played and scratched copies of my oldest brothers first five Monkees albums until they looked more like frisbees than records. Also the groups records were tough to find in stores by that time as they had been out of print since 1971 when The Monkees Colgems label folded.
Even their TV show hadn’t been rerun on a major network since 1973 so anything Monkees related was pretty scarce to come by at least in my neck of the woods.
For those who don’t remember in 1976 there was no Internet and no easy way, at least for a ten-year-old, to find out the current information about what music was coming out, etc. You just had to be lucky to walk through a store at the right time and hopefully notice a new album by your favorite artist on display.
That’s the case with the “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” LP. I remember walking thorough a local Kmart store and running over to a display that showed the album.
Around that same time I also remember getting a frozen Coke, I did that every time I went to Kmart, and receiving a cup with drawn images that said Monkees at the bottom. Of course the Monkees on the cup included Micky and Davy but who were those other two? Maybe two new Monkees I remember thinking to myself.
After all this time I can’t remember if I got the cup before or after the “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” album came out but I managed to hold on to that fragile plastic cup and it survives, barely, to this very day (see photo of the cup below).
I do however distinctly remember stumbling on the “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” album in the record section of Kmart and acting as if it was indeed a brand new Monkees album. Two new Monkees or not this was as close as I was going to get to a brand new Monkees album so I was thrilled that it had been released.
My mother wasn’t quite as thrilled with the existence of a new Monkees album as I was so I ended up waiting a few weeks until I managed to persuade her to buy the album for me.
I remember playing that album a lot that summer of 1976 and as I did staring at that what was then an oh so far-out looking rear cover as I tried to decide which of the songs I liked best.
Flash forward oh say roughly forty-six years or so and what happens to land in my mailbox but a groovy new 2-CD reissue by 7a Records of that long-ago “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” album.
I had actually hoped that 7a Records would one day do a reissue of this album but I had heard that Capitol Records had misplaced the master tapes so I assumed it would never happen. Then a few months ago 7a Records posted a cryptic message on Facebook saying they found some long lost Monkees related master tapes and viola we have a new reissue of “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart”.
I’ve done blogs on several of 7a Record’s Monkee related products and every time I review them I marvel at the high quality of not only the sound of their products but the truly first class artwork and booklets that come with their releases.
I’m happy to say that this new reissue of “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” is no exception as it is a quality first class reissue of one of my favorite lost pop albums of the ’70s.
As a bonus the second disc of this new set features a concert by Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart in Japan from 1976 that was originally released on an exquisite sounding CD by Varese Sarabande in 2007.
The sound on both discs in this set is first-rate and since this is the first issue of the “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” from the actual master tapes it’s a joy to listen to from start to finish. There actually was an earlier CD reissue of the “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” album in 2005 on Cherry Red Records from the UK but it was taken from a needledrop and sounded fairly bland and lifeless.
While I can’t say this album is on the same level as The Monkees ’60s albums it is nonetheless a fine pop album that holds up pretty well despite a few dated spacey sound effects from side two.
Songs like “Right Now”, “You and I” (written by Dolenz and Jones and later remade by The Monkees in 1996), “I Love You (And I’m Glad That I Said It)”, “It Always Hurts the Most in the Morning” and “I Remember the Feeling” are truly pop gems that hopefully will be rediscovered by modern listeners.
I’ve always been particularly fond of the song “You and I” and even love the 1996 remake on The Monkees “Justus” album but I’ve always had a fondness for this 1976 version best and am so glad to have such a great sounding version available on CD.
In fact the only song that I still get the urge to skip is “Along Came Jones” as I’ve never been that fond of comedic songs. The rest of the album though is a real pleasure to rediscover especially when it sounds as good as this reissue does.
What can I tell you, 7a Records knows how to do reissues right and this new 2-CD “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” is by far my favorite of all the reissues 7a Records has ever done as this album holds a warm spot in my heart and memories.
If you’re a Monkees or Boyce and Hart fan and know or have never heard this album you owe it to yourself to grab this 2-CD (or 2-LP version that’s also available) set and give it a spin or two.
As usual there are plenty of photos above and below to look to get a glimpse of this new 2-CD set or even older versions of the album on LP and CD.
Until next time be well and safe and I’ll hopefully see you around this parts soon!
The photos below feature the cup (what’s left of it) I got at Kmart with a frozen Coke in 1976 promoting Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart as a group:
Below: Photos of the original Capitol 1976 pressing of “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” and previous CD reissues of the same album and the CD ” Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart – Concert in Japan”: