Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart
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Repressing. UK CD edition of the 1976 studio album from this quartet featuring former Monkees members Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones. Almost immediately after the demise of The Monkees in 1970, there was industry clamor for a reunion. In 1975, a kind of pseudo-Monkees was created enlisting the services of Dolenz and Jones plus gifted songwriting team Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart (perhaps best known for penning the first #1 hit for The Monkees, 'Last Train to Clarksville', but in fact responsible for a large chunk of The Monkees music). The album is dominated by Mickey Dolenz, whose writing and vocals are excellent. El.
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As for the sound quality of this CD: For a CD mastered from vinyl, I think it sounds pretty good, really. Based on certain other reviews, I kind of expected worse. It doesn't sound perfect, but I still find it very listenable. I noticed what seem to be some slight "hiccups" here and there, but they weren't bad. If there's any pops, clicks, hiss, or anything like that, it isn't enough for my admittedly non-audiophile ears to detect. If you want GREAT sound quality, this CD may not be for you. But if you're not really picky, I think it'll probably sound O.K. to you.
As for the actual album itself: The cover of the CD (which strangely doesn't use the original artwork but a curious, sort of comical "part-illustration" of the group members, or rather, just their heads, in a biplane) says "the first Monkees reunion," and while I don't think that DJBH actually intended to be seen as a "version" of the Monkees, this is still a really good album in my opinion --- stronger than most of the Monkees albums (although I am a Monkees fan). However, Davy Jones, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart all kind of take a backseat to Micky Dolenz, who dominates the album. (He takes or shares the lead on most of the album's 12 tracks.) Micky does an admirable job (he was arguably the strongest vocalist in the Monkees), but I personally would have liked to hear more of Davy, who is my favorite Monkee. (It would also have been cool if Boyce and Hart had been featured more as well.) I think Davy makes his strongest showing on "I Remember The Feeling," which is one of the best tracks on the album. He also sings the lead on the album opener, "Right Now," which is the most romantic song on the album. (Probably not a coincidence, given his "heartthrob" rep.) I'd say the other best songs are "I Love You," "Teenager In Love," "Sail On Sailor" (which features lead vocal turns by Davy, Boyce, and Hart, and which, incidentally, shares a title with a Beach Boys song from about three years earlier), "Savin' My Love For You," and "It Always Hurts Most In The Morning." (By the way, the back cover of this CD, as well as the booklet, erroneously read "More" instead of "Most.") In '96, the once-again re-formed Monkees (featuring all of the original members) re-did "You And I." In my opinion, the remake is the superior version, though the original isn't bad. I think "Moonfire," "You Didn't Feel That Way Last Night," and "Sweet Heart Attack" are kind of interesting. (Personally, I think that one other review gets "Sweet Heart Attack" wrong --- my interpretation of the meaning of the song is "Falling in love was like having a heart attack, but it was a GOOD 'heart attack' that I don't want to recover from" --- but I really don't want to argue; take the song however you will!) At first, I didn't care so much for the cover of the Coasters song "Along Came Jones," but it's actually grown on me! I've come to kind of like the levity! (I can still see, though, how that song isn't everyone's cup of tea!) That track also recalls the Monkees' previous ventures into Coasters/Leiber-Stoller territory, "D.W. Washburn" (which was actually a Top 20 hit for the Monkees) and "Shake 'Em Up" (although the Monkees' version of that song wasn't originally released).
It would be cool if this album was reissued on CD again from the original masters, if they still exist and haven't been lost or misplaced. But for now at least, this is what we have, and in my opinion, it's definitely better than not having the album on a "legit" CD at all. That's part of why I'm rating this CD four stars instead of just three.
Update: Unfortunately, this CD has become quite expensive, even "used." I guess it's now out of print. If you can't and/or don't want to spend a lot of money for this CD, I wish you a lot of luck, or fortune, finding it for much cheaper, at least here. Maybe if we're ALL fortunate, we will, before much longer, see the album on CD again, perhaps domestically --- and NOT from vinyl!