Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Monkees: “The Monkees Present Deluxe Edition” (2013) Disc 1 CD Review

The Monkees Present was the penultimate Monkees album during the band’s original run, and the last of those to feature Michael Nesmith. (Changes would feature just Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones.) It was released in October of 1969, and though it is not their best album, it still has plenty of seriously good material, including “Mommy And Daddy” and “Listen To The Band.” Rhino released a three-disc Deluxe Edition in August of 2013, and apparently this is the final Monkees album scheduled to receive such a treatment (no luck for poor Changes, though I hope Rhino changes its mind on that score). The box set includes three discs, a 7-inch (“Good Clean Fun” and “Mommy And Daddy”) and a book.

Original Stereo Album

The first disc features the original stereo album, as well as lots of bonus tracks. And while the album isn’t as good as Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones Ltd. (my personal favorite Monkees record), it still has some excellent songs. “Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye” is one of The Monkees tunes that most often gets stuck in my head. It’s a great tune, written by Micky Dolenz and Ric Klein. This album also features some excellent material from Michael Nesmith, including the fun, quirky “Never Tell A Woman Yes” and of course the album’s most famous track, “Listen To The Band” (a song which provided a Monkees box set with its title).

There are also a couple of Boyce and Hart tracks, including the nice little rock number “Looking For The Good Times,” with Davy Jones cutting loose on lead vocals, and the odd and totally delightful “Ladies Aid Society,” with Davy again on lead.

My favorite track from The Monkees Present is “Mommy And Daddy,” one of the most interesting tunes the Monkees ever recorded. Written by Micky Dolenz, this song still has a certain power. The earlier version, with some different lyrics, gives a harder punch, but I do love this official version’s concluding lines: “Don’t be surprised if they turn and walk away/And tell your mommy and daddy that you love them anyway.”

The original album ends with “Pillow Time,” a strange, jazzy lullaby sung by Micky.

Bonus Material

The first disc contains plenty of bonus material, including several tracks that were previously unreleased, such as stereo mixes of “Time And Time Again” and “If You Have The Time,” both written by David Jones and Bill Chadwick (the latter a wonderful tune with the lines, “I know that I’ll get over you if I have to/But do I have to”).

Two of the best bonus tracks are previously unreleased versions of Michael Nesmith songs – “The Crippled Lion” and “Carlisle Wheeling.” There is also a previously unreleased extended version of “French Song” and a great stereo mix of the energetic “Rose Marie.”

Also included is a stereo mix of “Steam Engine,” a fun song I always loved. (I had it on some compilation cassette when I was a kid; that version is on the second disc.) Interestingly, “Kicking Stones” was originally released as “Teeny Tiny Gnome” on a couple of earlier Monkees compilations.

The first disc concludes with a 1969 stereo mix of “Circle Sky,” originally issued on Monkee Flips. This is a really great version of one of the band’s coolest tunes. Actually, there is a thirtieth track, not listed in the book’s track list though listed on the Rhino site, a Kool Aid commercial jingle (which is two minutes long).

CD Track List

  1. Little Girl
  2. Good Clean Fun
  3. If I Knew
  4. Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye
  5. Never Tell A Woman Yes
  6. Looking For The Good Times
  7. Ladies Aid Society
  8. Listen To The Band
  9. French Song
  10. Mommy And Daddy
  11. Oklahoma Backroom Dancer
  12. Pillow Time
  13. Time And Time Again (1969 Stereo Mix)
  14. Down The Highway (1969 Stereo Mix)
  15. Steam Engine (1969 Stereo Mix)
  16. If You Have The Time (1969 Stereo Mix)
  17. Angel Band (1969 Stereo Mix)
  18. Rose Marie (1969 Stereo Mix)
  19. I Never Thought It Peculiar (1969 Stereo Mix)
  20. Of You (1969 Stereo Mix)
  21. Kicking Stones (1969 Stereo Mix)
  22. If I Knew (Bill & Davy’s 1969 Stereo Mix)
  23. The Crippled Lion (1969 Stereo Mix)
  24. My Storybook Of You (Tommy & Bobby’s 1969 Stereo Mix)
  25. Carlisle Wheeling (Version Three – 1969 Stereo Mix)
  26. French Song (Stereo LP Master with Extended Ending)
  27. Hollywood (Version One – 1969 Stereo Mix)
  28. My Storybook Of You (“New” 1969 Stereo Mix)
  29. Circle Sky (“New” 1969 Stereo Mix)
The Monkees Present Deluxe Edition was released on August 13, 2013 through Rhino. I’ll be posting separate reviews of the second and third discs.

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