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4.8 out of 5 stars
Original Album Series
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
First of all, I was a big Monkees fan. In 1966, aged 12, I bought the single I'm A Believer two weeks before I owned my first record player! I then bought each of the first five Monkees albums as soon as they were released and loved them all. I subscribed to Monkees Monthly magazine and corresponded with an American penpal found through that magazine, swapping letters with her about all things Monkee! They were not the coolest band in the world to my musically snobbish friends, but I loved them. I was cool as well, into the Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys, Kinks, Small Faces etc. but, in the latter half of the sixties, no band had a place in my heart like Davey, Mike, Micky and Peter. In the early seventies, after Led Zeppelin had bludgeoned their way into my life, I finally threw out my childhood and flogged the lot for peanuts. Having still retained most of my vinyl albums, I now regret that decision but, two days ago, those fine albums once again were in my possession, courtesy of this budget priced box set from Rhino.
Now, as any music fan of a certain age will realise, buying an album based to a large degree on nostalgia is risky. The magical sounds of childhood and teenage years can sound dated and disappointing decades later. However, already being the owner of The Definitive Monkees compilation, I wasn't buying this set wholly on a whim but I did wonder whether some of the lesser known songs would stand the test of time. I'm therefore happy to report that, from the opening bars of their debut through to the closing notes of their final album as a four piece, the magic is very much intact. Whereas classic Beatles and Stones have been played incessantly on the radio, TV and in my own home and car for years, a lot of the songs on these five albums have not been heard by me since 1970. I was amazed, therefore, to be singing along and remembering a lot of the words immediately. Even the bonus tracks, which generally I am not a lover of, add to the enjoyment and quality of each album. The group's progression from "do as we're told" puppets who didn't play their instruments to proper band with a good deal of artistic control is palpable when listening to Headquarters and the final two albums. Yes, you can spot obvious influences left, right and centre and they were always at least two steps behind the Beatles, but the quality is there consistently throughout all five of these albums. The CD sound quality is also excellent.
For those Monkees diehards like myself, this set is an essential purchase and fantastic value for money. For any music fan who is interested in listening to a piece of genuine sixties musical history and some bloody good songs, this set is also highly recommended.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2010
This is a great value product. The box set contains the monkees first five albums and if we are honest the essential albums from the period where there were all 4 original members in the group. Afterwards things fell apart despite attempts at reconciliation and further album releases. We have here the essential original albums from the classic 1966-68 period. Labelled at the time as fake (because of use of session musicians-other bands did this too and the monkees were not 100% in control!) or bubblebum it is extraordinary how the Monkees music has remained fresh and vital whilst much from the same period sounds dated. Much has already been written about how the Monkees (or their management) were able to secure songs from many top songwriting partnerships whilst later on also adding some considerable songs themselves eg Going Down, Randy Scouse Git. The appeal of the monkees lies in some great and distinctive vocals from predominantly Micky Dolenz, whilst being ably backed up by Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork. The songs vary in style from garage, psychedelia and country. Notably the band's great sense of humour and comedy shines through too, making sure the music is never too serious or indulgent. It is striking how there is little excess to tracks and very rarely does any song outstay its welcome.
A few words about the packaging. Each album comes in a mini lp replica sleeve. This is a replica of the American sleeve (from Colgems) not the Britsh version (RCA Victor). I have the original British releases on vinyl. Essentially the sleeves and tracklisting are the same though so this is nothing to worry about. Personally I love the idea of the lp sleeves being replicated for discs. Be aware though that the quality of the printing does not match for example the recently released Beatles in mono discs which are also housed in lp replica sleeves. However, this should not put you off because at the price this set is being offered, Rhino music have put out a very good product indeed and I commend them thoroughly.
The sound quality is also excellent. The monkees music was remastered several years ago to a very high standard. I am not clear whether it ha sbeen remastered again but if so it is impossible to tell and it does not say on the packaging. The music is exceptionally clear and dynamic for the period in which is was recorded. Go out and buy this product. It might also be worth checking out the other artists who have been selected for these rhino original albums re-issues.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Yes....it's the 5 listed Monkees albums, as originally released, with bonus tracks at the end of each album. Each disc is tucked in a sturdy paper sleeve, depicting the original cover art from the 1966-1968 LP's. All 5 are then inserted into paper open-ended "box". The sound is terrific...and this is a great bargain, keepsake, and gift. One of the coolest Monkees items ever. The Monkees should be in the rock and roll hall of fame...astoundingly great listening. You should treat yourself to this special item. Highest Recommendation! (In the interest of completeness, it is duly noted that the nifty packaging has a modest downside...paper sleeves here and elsewhere make disc removal a bit of a task due to tight fit in the sleeves. Still, this collection is a must-have. Get it before it's gone.).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2012
I bought this box set back in September, after watching a documentary on The Monkees. I can't even guess at how many times I've listened to all five discs from start to finish since then. I've been meaning to review for ages, too, but today, learning of the sad death of Davy Jones, my favourite Monkee, was what finally spurred me on.

So, where to start? Visually, the box set is nicely done. I liked that each disc comes in a replica of the original album cover, even down to the fact that the bonus tracks aren't listed there. The sound quality is very clear. I listen to my CDs whilst driving and I have a rattly old Land Rover with a loud engine, which sometimes overpowers the music, but not so with this set and I don't even have to up the volume. Whoever remastered these did a very good job. I saw a review that said one of the songs on the fifth album, 'Magnolia Simms', hadn't been copied very well, with a lot of scratching and jumping on the track, but a quick look on the back of the album cover shows a little note saying it was intentionally recorded that way to hark back to the 30s era recordings.

As for the music itself, there are a lot of bonus tracks, some of which are interesting or entertaining versions of songs on the albums and others which were completely new, to me at least. On top of that, I listened to my mum's records growing up and she only had the first four, so most of the fifth album, baring tracks that have been on compilations, was new to me as well. This filled me with great joy and I'm doing my best to learn all the words. Peter Tork's 'Alvin' was a new one for me and had me laughing aloud. That's what I love about The Monkees - you can hear how much fun they had making their songs. There are some very silly tracks, such as 'Gonna Buy Me a Dog' and 'Your Auntie Grizelda', which never fail to make me smile, but on the same albums you can find some with country leanings, thanks to Mike Nesmith's influence, or a Davy Jones romantic ballard, or a Mickey Dolenz top-of-the-lungs job.

I've always loved the sound of The Monkees. What a stroke of luck it was that the casting people found four guys whose voices work so well together, whether sharing lead vocals on a song, or harmonising for the backing track. I love so many of the songs that I can't possibly pick favourites, so I will just say that the only two songs I'm not warming to are 'Pillow Talk' and 'Lady's Baby', both bonus tracks. That's not a bad result for 89 tracks! Of the songs new to me, I did enjoy 'All of Your Toys' - the first bonus track on the third disc - the intro is jolly and Mickey Dolenz enjoys himself with the lyrics, especially belting it out at the end. Proof that they may have been manufactured, but, unlike a lot of today's manufactured groups, these guys were perfectly capable of carrying a song on their own.

Davy Jones will be sadly missed, but it will make me treasure my box set all the more. I may even listen to them all again tomorrow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The good news is that this set of The Monkees Original Albums are released for the price of a single CD and all of the tracks have been re-mastered.

There are additional tracks so that even if you have a couple of the CDs already the additional tracks, remastered sound and the price make this a good buy* .
On the other hand if you have then on vinyl and they are worn out or scratched then you really are on to a winner.

(* and not only a good bye to your hard earned cash)

So if you already have a couple on CD already it may not be worth getting the full set with the extra re-mastering.

The 5 CD set is housed in a simple cardboard sleeve with the original LP covers reproduced.
So a magnifying glass will be needed to read those sleeves!

I for one, really like them because they are neat and are easy to store and it's the music that counts isn't it?
But Amazon have not, at the time of writing given us the track listings.
So here they are.

Interesting facts.
When the Monkees selected Harry Nilsson's 'Cuddly Toy' (the track not his Teddy! It mean't that Harry could leave the bank where he worked and take up full time song writing and performing.
After the first two LPs the Monkees took control of their own music and the group released their own songs and took control.
Neil Diamond and Neil Sedaka provided tunes for the fabulous foursome.

The Monkees were corporate America's answer to the Beatles.
Davy Jones appeared on Coronation Street as Ena Sharples' grandson and because he had the name david Jones prevented David Bowie from using his own name. (I wonder what became of David Bowie??_)

The 5 C DS on this set are
The Monkees 1966
More Of The Monkees 1967
Headquarters 1967
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. 1967
The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees 1968

The Monkees 1966
1. (Theme From) The Monkees
2. Saturday's Child
3. I Wanna Be Free
4. Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
5. Papa Gene's Blues
6. Take A Giant Step
7. Last Train To Clarksville
8. This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day
9. Let's Dance On
10. I'll Be True To You
11. Sweet Young Thing
12. Gonna Buy Me A Dog

More Of The Monkees 1967
1. She
2. When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door)
3. Mary, Mary
4. Hold On Girl
5. Your Auntie Grizelda
6. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
7. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
8. The Kind O Girl I Could Love
9. The Day We Fall In Love
10. Sometime In The Morning
11. Laugh
12. I'm A Believer

Headquarters
1. You Told Me
2. I'll Spend My Life With You
3. Forget That Girl
4. Band 6
5. You Just May Be The One
6. Shades Of Gray
7. I Can't Get Her Off My Mind
8. For Pete's Sake
9. Mr. Webster
10. Sunny Girlfriend
11. Zilch
12. No Time
13. Early Morning Blues And Greens
14. Randy Scouse Git
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.
1. Salesman
2. She Hangs Out
3. The Door Into Summer
4. Love Is Only Sleeping
5. Cuddly Toy
6. Words
7. Hard To Believe
8. What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
9. Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky
10. Pleasant Valley 11. Daily Nightly
12. Don't Call On Me
13. Star Collector

The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
1. Dream World
2. Auntie's Municipal Court
3. We Were Made For Each Other
4. Tapioca Tundra 5. Daydream Believer
6. Writing Wrongs
7. I'll Be Back Up On My Feet
8. The Poster
9. PO Box 9847
10. Magnolia Simms
11. Valleri .
12. Zor And Zam
13. South Cave Blues
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 June 2010
I love the Monkees. I was around in the 60s when they were rivalling the Beatles for popularity and sales. I never bought into all that 'they don't play their own instruments' nonsense. Everybody used session musicians, and the Monkees played loads of live gigs in which they demonstrated that they were actually a really great garage band. Mike Nesmith was (and is) a very, very good songwriter and, with Messrs Tork, Dolenz and Jones, they created some of the very best pop songs of the era. 'I Wanna Be Free,' 'I'm a Believer,' 'Last Train to Clarksville' and many more true pop gems. But then they also produced some of the best psychedelic singles of the late 60s, including 'Alternate Title,' 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' and the magisterial and strange 'Tapioca Tundra.' The five albums included here abound with lesser-known gems too, like 'This Just Doesn't Seem to Be My Day,' 'You Just May Be the One' and 'Door Into Summer.' This set consists of the first five Monkees albums, three of which were released in that magical musical year, 1967. A surprise when I received this in the post was that what you get here is not just the original albums, but the recently re-mastered albums with all the bonus tracks. This makes the set even more of a bargain. Since some of these albums have been hard (and expensive) to get hold of in recent years, this is an amazing opportunity to pick up a colourful slice of pop history, fun and yes, some damn fine music. So, what are you waiting for? Go for it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
what a great set, the Monkees back catalogue gives you the full flavour of 60's influences of pop history in one box.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2012
At £8 for five "classic" albums, this is a no-brainer, but there is a slight element of "you get what you pay for" here. First, it's the Monkees -- so if you're not into 'em, don't buy this. Second, the packaging is VERY minimal, which is a decent trade-off for the dirt-cheap price, but scratching IS possible. Third, when I loaded these into iTunes, EVERY song (after the first) on the second album had the first half-second of the track cut off (it was at the end of the previous song). Not a huge problem if you have an audio editor, but annoying for a professional CD to be indexed so badly. Still, it's amazingly cheap for five albums (with lots of bonus tracks), and the sound is good, so if you have NO Monkees in your collection and thought you might, maybe, possibly someday get a "greatest hits" CD, just get this instead and pick your favorites.
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Record labels are always finding new ways to sell you stuff you've already got, this much is clear. I've got all the albums in this set as individual releases, with the bonus tracks, sleeve notes and memorabilia bells and whistles. However, I think that the greater majority of music consumers are perhaps less interested in that additional stuff, and just want the music, and this Warner series (alongside similar series by Sony / BMG and EMI) give you pretty much just the music, in mini repro album sleeves and housed in a tidy slip case. At this price, you really can't argue with the value represented here; some surprisingly durable music, from a band that were, to all intents and purposes, a 'manufactured' phenomenon. The hits are largely bulletproof, but there are a treasure trove of additional gems, such as 'What Am I Doin' Hangin' 'Round', 'Your Auntie Grizelda', 'I Don't Think You Know Me', 'Take A Giant Step' - all classic sixties pop, and utterly wonderful. Too, too good to pass on...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
These are like miniature versions of the LPs, a great idea. Really pleased with them ,they are really good value.
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