“The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” (Mono) on Installment Plan – The Mono Mexican EPs

Sometimes it’s the elusive search that, while frustrating, is actually the most fun.

Case in point, for years and years I’ve been searching for a mono copy of The Monkees fifth album “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” but to no avail. The LP was released in April of 1968 and by that time the mono format was on its last legs.

You see by the beginning of 1968 most U.S. record companies had begun to press very few, if any at all, mono records as stereo had become the main way people wanted to hear their music.

Up until that time pop music especially was pretty much a mono format. Radio up until 1967 was still dominated by mono 45s which became hit singles. Pop/rock recording acts of the late ’50s and early ’60s relied on the hit pop single to make their careers and hopefully have those hits turn their album sales into gold.

It wasn’t really until the advent of The Beatles in 1964 that pop/rock albums sold in huge numbers so by 1967 album sales had become vital as they sold in large enough numbers that they were a very profitable thing for pop/rock groups.

Plus by 1967 the dawn of FM radio helped push the stereo format as many album cuts were broadcast in stereo and young listeners began to search out the stereo versions of their favorite pop/rock albums even though they were a dollar more than the mono versions of the same album.

Long story short, “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” album reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 charts and sold around 500,000 copies in 1968. While not nearly as big a seller as the four previous Monkees albums it landed the group their fifth gold album and contained two Top Ten hits singles – “Daydream Believer” and “Valleri”.

It’s not known exactly how many mono copies of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” were pressed but I’ve read that a likely figure would be around ten percent of the stereo version which would make the mono pressing fairly rare with around 50,000 copies out in the wild.

And as the tides of time have flowed on how many of those say 50,000 copies of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” remain out there to find? I’d have to say not many as I’ve never seen a mono copy in person for sale and believe me I’ve looked.

I keep reading stories of people finding them in a yard sale or record store but as of today I’ve never managed to come across one for sale. There are foreign copies of this elusive mono mix as well but they are pretty expensive and really not that easy to locate much like the U.S. Colgems pressing.

So what options do Monkees fans have to get this groovy mono mix if you don’t want to spend an arm and leg tracking down a U.S. or Mexican, Australian or Puerto Rican mono copy? Well, one solution is to track the mono mixes down piece meal on foreign EPs or 45s.

This leads me to today’s post – two Mexican mono 45 EPs – MKE 1033 and MKE 1034.

You see Mexico is one of the countries that released a true mono mix of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” album (many countries released mono copies of the album but most of those were not dedicated mono mixes but stereo fold-downs).

Mexico also managed to release ten of the twelve tracks from the album in the EP format. All the tracks on these Mexican  EPs contain the true dedicated mono mixes of the songs just like the Mexican mono pressing of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees”.

A couple of years ago I tracked down the first “Birds and Bees” Mexican mono EP, MKE 1033, but just this week I received the second “Birds and Bees” Mexican mono EP, MKE 1034, in the mail. Between these two EPs I now own superb sounding true mono mixes of eight of the tracks from “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” album. I threw in the 45 mono mix of the Colgems single “Daydream Believer” and now have nine of the twelve tracks from the mono album on vinyl.

Now of course Monkees fans know the true mono mix was included on the Rhino Deluxe CD version of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” from 2010 but that itself was mastered mostly from a vinyl source and while decent doesn’t sound nearly as vibrant and alive as the songs on these two Mexican mono EPs.

Unfortunately the original Colgems master tape of the true mono mix of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” is missing thus the extreme prices for vinyl copies as that’s as close as you can get to having the album from the master tape.

Anyway, I thought I’d post some photos of these two Mexican EPs, above and below, and there’s also a list of the tracks they contain below:

MKE 1033

  1. Valleri
  2. Auntie’s Municipal Court
  3. Tapioca Tundra
  4. P.O. Box 9847

MKE 1034

  1. I’ll Be Back Up On My Feet
  2. We Were Made For Each Other
  3. Dream World
  4. The Poster

Again, throw in the “Daydream Believer” 45 mix from a Colgems single and you have pretty much the entire “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” album minus the songs “Writing Wrongs”, “Magnolia Simms” and “Zor and Zam”. And actually the song “Zor and Zam” is available on another Mexican mono EP, MKE 1060, which also includes the repeat of “Dream World” from the MKE 1034 EP.

I haven’t tracked the MKE 1060 EP down but if I do then I’d only be missing two mono tracks to make a complete “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” mono album.

Luckily I found both of these Mexican EPs pretty cheaply, much cheaper than an original Colgems mono album. In fact I bought the  MKE 1034 from a seller online who said the EP was just VG with lots of crackles but no skips. After a good cleaning to remove the dirt the EP played a solid VG+ and all four songs sounded really great.

The three tracks that really sound quite different in their mono form are “Auntie’s Municipal Court”, “Tapioca Tundra” and Dream World” all of which are found on these two Mexican EPs.

In fact I’d say that all the really different sounding mono mixes are on these EPs plus these eight songs are my eight favorite songs on the album plus the “Daydream Believer” single mix as well.

Any Monkees fans out there looking for a mono copy of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” should also keep an eye out for these two Mexican EPs. I bet you can actually track them down online for a fraction of the cost of the mono album and have most of the album in great fidelity without spending a fortune.

(Note: As of this post both EPs are for sale on Discogs)

You’ll probably have to do some searching but I’ve found that these are not only more affordable but can be tracked down without too much hassle – if you’re patient enough.

So the search continues for a Colgems mono “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” or one of its foreign cousins but only if it’s reasonably priced. I have most of the mixes now but the fun of the search keeps me going to record and antique stores just in case I happen to find one.

Well, that’s all for now.

Until next time be well. They’ll be more posts coming soon!

More Beatles – “Revolver” (2 CD Deluxe Edition) – Happy “Revolver” Day!

Welcome to the official release day of the brand new remix of The Beatles classic 1966 album “Revolver”.

A couple of days ago I posted a first look at the 5 CD Super Deluxe set of “Revolver” that I got early but today I wanted to share some photos of the Deluxe 2 CD version as well.

This new 2 CD Deluxe version may be a better way to experience this new version of “Revolver” for most fans as not only does it include the new remix on the first CD but the second CD is a terrific alternate version of the album filled with highlights from the two sessions discs from the bigger Super Deluxe box set.

The track listing for the 2 CD set – from http://www.thebeatles.com:

CD 1: REVOLVER 2022 Stereo mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell
1. Taxman
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. I’m Only Sleeping
4. Love You To
5. Here, There and Everywhere
6. Yellow Submarine
7. She Said She Said
8. Good Day Sunshine
9. And Your Bird Can Sing
10. For No One
11. Doctor Robert
12. I Want To Tell You
13. Got To Get You Into My Life
14. Tomorrow Never Knows

CD 2: REVOLVER Sessions Highlights
1. Paperback Writer (2022 Stereo)
2. Rain (2022 Stereo)
3. Tomorrow Never Knows (Take 1)
4. Got To Get You Into My Life (Second Version / Unnumbered Mix)
5. Love You To (Take 7)
6. Doctor Robert (Take 7)
7. And Your Bird Can Sing (First version / Take 2)
8. Taxman (Take 11)
9. I’m Only Sleeping (Take 2)
10. Eleanor Rigby (Take 2)
11. For No One (Take 10 / Backing Track)
12. Yellow Submarine (Take 4 Before Sound Effects)
13. I Want To Tell You (Speech & Take 4)
14. Here, There And Everywhere (Take 6)
15. She Said She Said (Take 15 / Backing Track Rehearsal)

As you can see from the track list and the photos above if you’re not a Beatles nut and don’t want to wade through all the outtakes in the bigger box this set really comes through with all the true highlights from the sessions discs plus a superb scaled down version of the book from the Super Deluxe set.

Since “Revolver” is my favorite Beatles album I thought I’d get both sets and share them here (not that I wouldn’t have been tempted even if it wasn’t my favorite lol).

As usual the photos above show you what you can look forward to if you decide to go the physical route with the 2022 “Revolver” album.

Just a quick postscript to my earlier post.

Take care and be well and see you soon!


FIRST LOOK! – The Beatles Special Edition Super Deluxe “Revolver” 5 CD Set

What have we here – a new Super Deluxe Edition CD box set? A 5 CD box set possibly? A new BEATLES Super Deluxe Edition 5 CD box set perhaps? In a word … yes.

You see this upcoming Friday a groovy new box set of The Beatles 1966 masterpiece “Revolver” is due to hit store shelves along with a variety of different formats for fans of every budget.

As with all the recent Deluxe Beatles sets that been issued in the past few years this new set is highlighted by a new 2022 stereo remix of the “Revolver” album (on CD one) along with session highlights/studio chatter and demos (on CDs two and three), a new transfer of the 1966 mono mix of  the“Revolver” album (on CD four), a CD single featuring new stereo remixes and mono mixes of the 1966 single “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” (on CD five) as well as a lovely hardback book with text and photos that detail the albums history.

Along with this CD box there’s also an LP version of the box set (featuring 4 LPs, the bonus single and the same hardback book as the CD set) available to purchase as well as a 2 CD version (the remix on one CD plus a CD of session highlights), a single CD version featuring just the new 2022 Giles Martin remix of the album plus a single disc vinyl version of the 2022 remix and to top it off  a picture disc vinyl version containing the new 2022 remix!

Whew – at least Beatles fans have a choice in how much more of the “Revolver”album they want to add to their collections if they chose to add anything at all.

As luck would have it I managed to get a copy of this 5 CD box set a bit early and boy I have to say the wait was certainly worth it. Not only is this box set a thing of beauty but it’s packed full of what I consider to be The Beatles at their absolute peak as writers and performers on a magnificent collection featuring some of their best songs.

So after a spending some time wading through this fine new collection here are some of my first impressions:


As with the last Beatles Deluxe box set that Giles Martin compiled, 2021’s “Let it Be”, this new 2022 remix is one of the better remixes I’ve heard from Mr. Martin.

Like “Let it Be” this new remix enhances the sound of the album without making it sound like Martin transformed the sound into something too modern or overly compressed.

Yes the mixes are a bit louder than the original 1966 mix (I about jumped out of my skin with the bass at the beginning of “Taxman” until I turned the sound down a bit) but not so much that it’s distracting or annoying.

It sounds like the “Revolver” album we all know and love albeit with instruments much more clearly exposed and an overall clarity that lifts some of the murkiness of the original mix.

Most of that clarity and punch is due to a new technique that came from Peter Jackson’s work on the recent “Get Back” documentary that allows computer technology to separate or sounds that were once mixed together and cleanly place them separately in the mix without making them sound artificial or fake.

Highlights of the new remix for me are “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Here, There and Everywhere” (what a beauty and the voices just sound so good on this mix), “She Said She Said” (I’ve read other people dislike this mix but to me this is a fantastic new version that really highlights Ringo’s drumming), “For No One” (another one with stunning clarity – another beauty), “I Want to Tell You” and the stunning “Tomorrow Never Knows”.

I’ll also throw in the remixes of “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” from the bonus CD single as well. It’s clear in comparing them to the original mono mixes of these songs how much more clarity and punch Martin draws out of these songs.

While I still love the original 1966 mono mixes of these songs they do sound a bit claustrophobic in comparison to their 2022 stereo cousins.

The Outtakes:

Wow, I have to say that the outtakes featured in this new set may turn out to be some of my favorite Beatles alternates of all-time.

From better sounding versions of well-known early takes from the Anthology project (“Got to Get You Into My Life” First Version – Take 5 and “Tomorrow Never Knows” – Take 1) to stunning new early takes (a fuzz filled “Got to Get You Into My Life” – Second Version Unnumbered Take that’s just magnificent, the superb stripped down Take 1 of “Love You To” featuring Paul’s great supporting vocals and the revealing Songwriting Work Tape Takes of “Yellow Submarine”) to the terrific backing tracks (“Rain” – Take 5 Actual Speed, “For  No One” – Take 10 Backing Track and “She Said She Said” Take 15 Backing Track Rehearsal) who would have though that all these gems would have been left languishing in the vaults for over fifty years!

Really even though there is some repetitiveness with multiple takes of certain tracks I found both of the outtakes CDs a joy to listen to and the main reason for buying these sets. I love to see how the tracks were formed in the studio and these great sounding alternates and outtakes really take you inside the recording process for this album which is my favorite thing about buying these archive releases.

(Note: I briefly sampled the mono 1966 mix CD and it does sound very nice. I haven’t listened to the whole disc yet so I can’t say how it compares to the 2009 mono CD version or the 2014 vinyl version. 

I listened to “For No One” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” in full and both sounded very impressive. Nice bass and very well mastered. I’ll have to dive into the whole disc more to really give an impression but what I heard sounded good.)

The Book:

What can I say, this 100-page hardback book is filled with some terrific photos and is a great read while you listen to this set especially the outtake discs.  It’s one of the better hardback books in the entire Beatles Deluxe Edition series and another reason that I look forward to buying these Beatles archive sets.

It’s well made, sturdy and really I can’t imagine any fan not finding something to love. It may not be as informative or thorough as Mark Lewisohn’s books but it’s a good read nonetheless and makes this set an attractive purchase and goes a long way to soften  the sting of price of this set. 

Grade: A solid “A”:

Overall this is one terrific set. My one criticism is that this set doesn’t include a Blu-Ray disc like previous Beatle deluxe sets which is a real shame. It would be nice to have a 5.1 mix or an Atmos mix and since it”s priced the same as previous Beatles sets I think that some effort should have been made to include a Blu-Ray disc.

(Note: There will be a digital download version available to purchase as well and that will contain a hi-res 96kHz/24-bit stereo and a Dolby Atmos mix.)

It would have gone a long way by making this set retail for around $95 list but even without the Blu-Ray disc it may turn out to be one of my favorites of all The Beatles Deluxe Editions just because the album and the outtakes from the “Revolver” sessions will always be among my favorite recorded music by anyone.

Well there you have it. Just a few first impressions of this terrific new set. I’ll have to give it more time to really absorb the contents but needless to say if you’re a Beatles fan you owe it to yourself to track this set down (or one of its variations) or God forbid at least stream it somewhere lol.

That’s all for now.

More coming soon and until next time be well and safe and see you soon!

Longbox and Loaded: My Beatles CD Longbox Collection

Sometimes collecting looks a lot like hoarding – I’ve said that many times before but it’s true.

The reason I bring that up is that a friend of mine once saw my CD longbox collection and said it was a bit much, more like hoarding than collecting (obviously NOT a collector lol). They may have a case but to me CD longboxes are much more like 45 picture sleeves from the 1960s and well worth collecting.

(Note: All my CD longboxes, with the odd exception here and there, are from the early era of the compact disc and were purchased along with the CD. I haven’t sought out longboxes that I never owned but have been tempted from time to time though they aren’t very east to locate)

Anyway, not familiar with CD longboxes?

I guess it depends on how old you are but I certainly remember them as this post will attest. You see CD longboxes were common at the beginning of the CD era.

When CDs were first being sold in stores, sometime around 1983/84, they were taking over retail space from vinyl records. Vinyl records were much taller and wider than CDs so the retail space designed for browsing vinyl didn’t work that well for browsing CDs.

Not only were CDs hard to browse in the bigger retail spaces but they were easier to steal as well.

So the record industry came up with a solution to that problem – the CD longbox. The CD longbox made compact discs fit easier in the old retail space made for vinyl while making it harder to walk out the door with a CD in your purse or coat as the packing was a bit bulkier.

Today I am posting an overview of all of my Beatles CD longboxes that have survived the ravages of time. The oldest ones are now some thirty-five years old – ouch. Hard to believe but it’s true.

I’ve posted photos of several of my CD longboxes previously but someone recently said to me they had never seen all The Beatles CD longboxes so I thought I’d share a post with all my entire Beatles (not solo Beatles, that’s coming up – like a flower) longbox collection.

As you can tell the CD longbox usually contained the same graphics as the CD that came inside but as they became more common they also became more elaborate. The “Sgt. Pepper” CD longbox in the photo above added the artwork of the insert that came with the vinyl album from 1967 which was a bit unusual but nice to see.

Too bad the US didn’t get the groovy small box with the expanded booklet and size of “Sgt. Pepper” CD that the UK got – that was really nice.

I think the rarest CD longbox I own is the box that came with K-Tel’s CD of The Beatles Hamburg live recordings. The CD itself is pretty hard to locate and I’ve never seen the longbox except for the one that I own.

The other fairly rare box is the limited edition longbox for Sam’s Club exclusive CD of “Let it Be … Naked”. I believe that longbox was a Sam’s Club exclusive, though I’m not one hundred percent sure. That box came out in 2003 well after the demise of the CD longbox which happened in the early 1990s so seeing one at that time was not common.

The “Let it Be … Naked” is very cool and I’m glad that I managed to snag a couple of them.

The “Anthology” longboxes above which came out in 1995/96, in two different sizes, also came out after the longbox form had died but were fairly easy to find as stores like Target and Kmart, etc. used these packages to display the then-hot “Anthology” releases.

Well that’s pretty much it for now. Feast your eyes above at the photos of these relics from a different era.

I’m not sure that many people seek these longboxes out but I still think they’re a fun product of a now bygone era. They are physical media remnants that I still enjoy and take out time to time just for the nostalgia factor.

As usual I hope you are well and healthy and see you soon … Same longbox time, same longbox channel!





“Love Me Do” at 60 – The Beatles First Single Hits Landmark Anniversary

I can’t believe it but a Beatles anniversary has finally hit the magic sixty year mark  – wow (though yikes may be more like it!).

Sixty years ago today, October 5, 1962, The Beatles first 45 release “Love Me Do”/ “P.S. I Love You” hit stores shelves for the first time in the UK and managed to climb to a respectable #17 in the UK charts.

Now for those who aren’t in the know or weren’t fortunate enough to be there a group from the north of England from an industrial seaport town called Liverpool making any kind of impression on the music charts was an almost unheard of event.

As these past sixty years have shown the group’s breakthrough with “Love Me Do” was just the first of many unheard of and remarkable events that went on to create one of the most popular, influential and long-lasting careers in music for the massively successful, both artistically and commercially, foursome from Liverpool – The Beatles.

I know I do a lot of anniversary posts but this particular anniversary is sobering. Sixty years is a LONG time. It actually boggles the imagination that a pop group from sixty years ago could still garner any kind of press or sales, or nowadays streams, for over sixty years.

Thankfully The Beatles music was fresh enough and good enough to weather six decades while still remaining a vital musical force that still attracts new listeners all these years later.

So today in celebration of “Love Me Do” and The Beatles big 60th anniversary I thought I would share a few photos of some fun “Love Me Do” releases that I have in my collection.

First and foremost is the actual first UK single issue of “Love Me Do”/ “P.S. I Love You”. This 45 is one of the crown jewels of any Beatles collection as it’s really the best way of hearing these two songs.

You see the original UK 45 has the only version of “Love Me Do” with Ringo Starr on drums. There were two versions released in the 1960s, this 45 version as well as the version of “Love Me Do” from the The Beatles first UK LP “Please Please Me”.

(Collector’s note: The original first pressing UK single is on a red parlorphone label. It has been re-released a couple of times on anniversary issues that also use the red label but to see how the original label looks check out the photo above.

The reissues change some of the credits so be careful to check the label thoroughly if you’re trying to purchase an original copy.

The original Red label pressing is becoming quite rare but well worth seeking out as it’s the best source for these two songs.)

Regretfully the version of “Love Me Do” from that LP has Ringo Starr playing tambourine and features session drummer Andy White playing the drums.

As the story goes Beatles producer George Martin had heard the Beatles original drummer Pete Best and  thought he wasn’t a strong enough player for their recording sessions. Best drummed on the Beatles initial EMI recording session which wasn’t used for record release.

Shortly after that first EMI session The Beatles replaced Best with Ringo Starr and though Starr did drum on the version of “Love Me Do” that was released as a 45, before Martin chose that version for the single he brought in session drummer Andy White who played on another version of “Love Me Do” that wound up being released on the LP.

(Note: the LP version of “Love Me Do” was the predominate version of the song until the 20th anniversary release of “Love Me Do” in 1982 which reinstated the Ringo version of the song into more prominence in The Beatles catalog)

To make things a bit stranger while the Ringo version of “Love Me Do” was available for many years on 45 in the UK EMI for some strange reason decided to destroy the master tape featuring Ringo’s version thus the only master tape version  of “Love Me Do” in EMI’s vaults features Andy White’s drumming.

Any version of the original 45 version of “Love Me Do” that has been released since the UK 45 has been dubbed from an original vinyl copy of that first UK 45 version.

Because the master tape is now gone the best way to hear the “Love Me Do” 45 songs is from an actual first issue copy of the single. It’s the closest sound to the original master tape and even though the dubs on CD sound good there is an extra sparkle and warmth on the original 45 that isn’t found on any other version of these two songs.

Plus the original UK 45 of “Love Me Do” features drier mixes of both songs including the version of “P.S. I Love You” which is found on the “Please Please Me” LP (the 45 version of “Love Me Do” is a completely different version anyway but still drier sounding than the LP version).

Still with me LOL?

Anyway there are a few different versions of “Love Me Do” from my collection featured in the photos above including the now thirty year old (double yikes) 1992 UK and US CD 30th anniversary editions of the “Love Me Do” 45 plus a mini CD version from the mini CD box set of “The Beatles Singles Collection” box set.

So Happy 60th to both The Beatles and “Love Me Do”! Here’s to another sixty more years though God knows what the world will look like sixty years from now. I won’t be here but I hope it’s a better world and The Beatles still have a place somewhere in the culture.

That’s all for now.

Until next time be well and see you soon.