Iâ€™ve always been a fan of the Monkees. I watched the show when it came on the first time, and later when it was in reruns. I got most of their albums handed down to me from my brothers, and the ones I didnâ€™t have, I got later. (Yes, even the one where the Monkees were down to just Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones.) During their initial period of popularity, there was a big scandal when it was discovered that they didnâ€™t play their own instruments (which was kind of a crock, considering that Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork were both accomplished musicians before they joined the group). I didnâ€™t care one way or the other. I still liked them.
This CD came out in 1992, at a time when you couldnâ€™t swing an animal of your choice without hitting yet another tribute album. I donâ€™t know any of these bands, which isnâ€™t saying much. After all, if you read my site you know the kind of stuff I listen to!
Anyway, on to the music. The first song, â€œThe Day We Fall in Love,â€ is done by a guy named Deacon Lunchbox who (if I remember the liner notes correctly) died before this CD was released. If you want to hear a schmaltzy romantic ballad performed by a guy who sounds like Yosemite Sam, hereâ€™s your chance!
Next we have the Monkeesâ€™ first big hit, â€œLast Train to Clarksville,â€ by Big Fish Ensemble. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s that great a version, but I threw it in here because just about everybody knows the song.
Hereâ€™s â€œPleasant Valley Sundayâ€ by Magnapop, one of those grrl groups. (Do people still say â€œgrrlâ€? Did they ever really say it?)
Our next selection is Peter Holsapple doing â€œYou Just May Be the One.â€ Holsapple takes this in a more rocking direction. I always liked this song, and after this rendition, I still do!
â€œWhat Am I Doing Hanginâ€™ Round?â€ was one of Nesmithâ€™s countrified songs and this group, Those Big Belt Buckles, actually give this one a bluegrass feel.
Finally, we couldnâ€™t end without the â€œTheme from the Monkees,â€ performed in a surf rock way by the Flying Subs.
I would have liked to see the Monkees perform live, even in one of their revival tours. I heard a story about one of their shows — I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s true, but somebody around here could probably verify it: They used to do skits in between some of the songs. In one, the stage is totally bare except for Davy, playing the guitar. Micky walks in and asks Davy what heâ€™s doing. Davy replies, â€œPlaying the guitar.â€ â€œYou canâ€™t do that!â€ Micky yells. â€œDonâ€™t you know the Monkees donâ€™t play their own instruments?â€ Davy says, â€œItâ€™s not my guitar. Itâ€™s Peterâ€™s.â€
If youâ€™d like to hear more reinterpretations of the Pre-Fab Fourâ€™s hits, you can get the whole album here.