10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A lot of Monkees for your money!,
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
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.