More of the Monkees [Deluxe Edition]
The Monkees second album More of the Monkees lived up to its title. It was more successful commercially, spending an amazing 70 weeks on the Billboard charts and ultimately becoming the 12th biggest selling album of all time. It had more producers and writers involved since big-shots like Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Jeff Barry and Neil Sedaka, as well as up-and-comers like Neil Diamond all grabbed for a piece of the pie after Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, the men who made the debut album such a smash, were elbowed out by music supervisor Don Kirshner. The album also has more fantastic songs than the debut. Tracks like "I'm a Believer," "She," "Mary, Mary," " (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone," "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)," "Your Auntie Grizelda," and "Sometime in the Morning" are on just about every Monkees hits collection and, apart from the novelty "Grizelda," they are among the best pop
ock heard in the '60s or any decade since. The band themselves still had relatively little involvement in the recording process, apart from providing the vocals along with Mike Nesmith's writing and producing of two tracks (the hair-raising rocker "Mary, Mary" and the folk-rock gem "The Kind of Girl I Could Love"). In fact, they were on tour when the album was released and had to go to the record shop and buy copies for themselves. As with the first album though, it really doesn't matter who was involved when the finished product is this great. Listen to Micky Dolenz and the studio musicians rip through "Stepping Stone" or smolder through "She," listen to the powerful grooves of "Mary, Mary" or the heartfelt playing and singing on "Sometime in the Morning" and dare to say the Monkees weren't a real band. They were! The tracks on More of the Monkees (with the exception of the aforementioned "Your Auntie Grizelda " and the sickly sweet "The Day We Fell in Love," which regrettably introduces the smarmy side of Davy Jones) stand up to the work of any other pop band operating in 1967. Real or fabricated, the Monkees rate with any pop band of their era and More of the Monkees solidifies that position.
[In 1994 Rhino reissued More of the Monkees with detailed notes from Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval and five bonus tracks, including an early take on "I'm a Believer." It was a fine package and seemingly closed the books on the album. In 2006, Rhino, clearly caught up in the industry mania for releasing Deluxe Editions of albums, again reissued the record as a double-disc set with new notes from Sandoval, mono and stereo versions of the album, the bonus tracks from the original reissue, an armload of rare tracks drawn from the three volumes of Missing Links set and even two previously unreleased recordings. The set looks enticing but to consumers weary of buying the same old rope repackaged as gold, you have to ask: is it worth it? The simple answer is if you are even considering buying the set, you should. The mono version of the record is excellent, the songs burst out of your speakers and sound almost raw in comparison to the softer stereo mixes. The booklet is crammed with amazing photos of the band and the notes from Sandoval cover quite fascinating new ground with quotes from Jeff Barry, Micky Dolenz, and Mike Nesmith, among others. It's nice to have the rare tracks collected by recording date instead of randomly as they were on Missing Links. The rare tracks are all worth hearing too, especially the brassy "Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears" and early versions of "Words" and "Valleri" (both tracks that would appear on later albums). The set skimps on unreleased tracks offering only a mono mix of "Ladies Aid Society" and an alternate mix of "Tear Drop City," both of which were lackluster Boyce and Hart penned and produced tunes that show a possible reason why Kirshner basically kicked them off the project. Again, if this set even lightly tickles your interest you should get it because you won't be disappointed.]