Friday, July 1, 2011

Monkees 2: More Of The Monkees

No matter what the actors themselves may have believed, the Monkees were a product first and foremost, and any responsible music organization in the mid-‘60s knew how essential it was to keep fresh merchandise on the shelves. So it was that, four months after the debut’s release and with half of a TV season still to be broadcast, More Of The Monkees was unleashed, to be undoubtedly snatched up by rabid teenyboppers.
Just as rabid, but for a different reason, was the band itself, who allegedly only heard of the album’s existence when they saw it advertised for sale. They hated the cover, and they especially hated the liner notes that gave all credit to the people behind the scenes, rather than the four boys being chased from hotel to stage to limo.
Their anger is a little misplaced, since it wasn’t like they hadn’t spent any time in the studio recording vocals for (and in Mike Nesmith’s case, writing and producing) a few albums’ worth of songs. A handful stretched back to the earliest sessions, while some were more recent, in search of their next hit single.
Still, despite the inclusion of some of those hits and TV favorites, there’s a distinct leftover feeling throughout the album. Peter finally gets to “sing” on “Your Auntie Grizelda”, but the absolute nadir is Davy’s wretched spoken performance on “The Day We Fall In Love”. (He pulled the same trick on the bridge of “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)”, so obviously some genius thought it was a good idea.)
The inclusion of such head-scratchers makes it hard to fathom this is the same album that gave us “I’m A Believer” and “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone”. “Mary, Mary” had already been recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, but one hidden highlight is “Sometime In The Morning”, a Goffin-King nugget delivered nicely by Micky.
More Of The Monkees hasn’t aged as well as the first album, with its reliance on fuzztone guitars and harpsichords. But it didn’t have to be good, it just had to sell, which it did, by the bucketful. (As with the debut, Rhino’s first CD reissue was only slightly expanded, while the Deluxe Edition is loaded with timely outtakes, TV hits and alternate versions. And just because they could, the inevitable Super Deluxe Edition added plenty more mixes of songs not good enough to make the album in the first place, plus ten songs from a January 1967 concert.)

The Monkees More Of The Monkees (1967)—3
1994 reissue CD: same as 1967, plus 5 extra tracks
2006 Deluxe Edition: same as 1994, plus 25 extra tracks
2017 Super Deluxe Edition: same as 1994, plus 74 extra tracks

1 comment:

  1. I will confess that I was one of those who eagerly purchased this when it was released. Or maybe it was my younger sister. In any case, I enjoyed it very much.

    I think the spoken word interludes were meant to emulate Elvis' similar breaks. He probably brought the most fans, but Davy's performances and musical taste were a drain on the band. He was clearly a product of British music halls and Broadway-styled pop.

    Coincidentally, as I type this, Take A Giant Step is playing. However, it's the Taj Mahal version not the Monkees.