This past weekend, longtime fan Scott Erickson shared a very special item from his personal collection with The Monkees Live Almanac: a cassette tape of music sent to him by none other than Peter Tork.
Scott's story about the tape goes all the way back to the late 1980s when he had the opportunity to interview Peter for a radio show.
"When I was in my teens, I produced a radio show for a local AM station," Scott told the Live Almanac. "In 1989, I contacted Peter's 'people' to get an interview and he agreed. Peter later sent me a cassette containing 3 songs that I could use on the air. He had just finished mixing a live album recorded during his run at The Speakeasy in New York City in 1988. The live songs included on the tape were 'Sea Change,' 'Vagabond John,' and 'Miracle.' The live album was never released.
"Back then I was in the habit of always checking both sides of cassettes to make sure I didn't miss anything. And much to my surprise, there were 2 unused and unreleased backing tracks on the other side for 'Gettin In' and 'Sea Change'. I don't think Peter even knew they were there!"
Scott relayed that very few people have heard this unique tape, so the Live Almanac is honored to be able to share snippets from it in this very special audio sampler. Enjoy, and thanks again Scott!
Don't forget that Peter released official recordings of "Gettin' In" on The Monkees' 1987 album Pool It! as well as his 1994 solo album, Stranger Things Have Happened, which also included "Miracle" and "Sea Change."
By Justin Rakowski
Salt Lake City – December 6, 1969. As The Monkees walked off stage, nothing would ever be the same. At least in terms of their original run as a quartet, that was unceremoniously reduced to a trio earlier in the year. Apart from a few contractual obligations, Michael Nesmith was no longer a Monkee. This left Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones to continue on in some capacity. In addition to making a few promotional appearances under the guise of The Monkees throughout 1970, Micky and Davy undertook what would be the final Monkees album of the original Colgems era. Released in June of 1970, Changes unfortunately did nothing to bolster their fading popularity. While the single "Oh My My" barely cracked the Billboard Hot 100, Changes failed to grab the attention of what remaining fans they had and did not chart in its initial production run.
As decades passed and different waves of Monkees reunions cropped up, leading to more positive reevaluations of their career and musical output, Changes still held a somewhat “black sheep” quality when compared to The Monkees' other Colgems records. Growing up in the 1990s, I was too young to remember the massive resurgence in popularity the group experienced during their 20th Anniversary in 1986. Luckily, I discovered the "Pre-Fab Four" through Nick at Nite reruns during the mid-90s, leading me to hunt down every album released through the Rhino Records reissues on CD. Even as a young Monkees fan, Changes carried a stigma like no other Monkees LP had and initially I barely gave it a listen. Over the course of the ensuing years, my appreciation of the album grew slightly, but it still never reached the level of importance as their other albums.
In 2012, I met the woman who I would fall in love with and ultimately marry a few short years later. On one of our first dates, I discovered that she was quite familiar with a good number of Monkees songs, albeit the ones that were featured on the show, as she too watched the Nick at Nite reruns. Naturally, I gave her copies of all their albums, excited to see which one she would hold dear to her heart. After making her way through everything, I was shocked to find that she adored Changes and had memorized the lyrics to every song featured on the album in only a few short days. Her love for the album was contagious and I now started to listen with a different set of ears and appreciate it for what it was – a solidly written and performed set of catchy bubblegum songs that acted as a perfect bookend to a period that started with an album (The Monkees) that was essentially a solidly written and performed set of catchy bubblegum songs.
Through all of this, as many Monkees fans know, the multitrack recordings for all of the Jeff Barry-produced songs from the 1970 sessions are missing. Unfortunately this also includes two tracks, "Which Way Do You Want It" and "Ride Baby Ride," that were recorded but ultimately left off the final pressing of Changes. Given all these facts, we’ve been told time and time again that a Super Deluxe set of the album would be impossible given the lack of content. Once a Super Deluxe set of Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. is released in the coming years, the journey that Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval started nearly a decade ago will have ended. As a fan of both The Monkees and Andrew, I am incredibly grateful for the amount of dedication from them to bring us such wonderful sets and can’t wait to have a shelf with all the Super Deluxe sets next to each other, providing us with perhaps the most complete auditory history of a band’s output. But, the set will feel quite lonely if Changes isn’t there in some capacity to bookend everything as it did almost 50 years ago when it was first issued.
With all of that in mind, I propose a solution. When the time comes to make a decision on the merits of a Super Deluxe set of Changes and the missing tracks that still have not been found, here is a track listing that could fill three CDs and properly tell the story of The Monkees' Colgems-era output, including Davy’s final contractual obligation for Colgems that resulted in his self-titled album released on Bell Records in 1971. With that being said, I present you with…
CHANGES (SUPER DELUXE EDITION)
23. Oh My My (Mono Promo Film Mix)
24. 99 Pounds (Stereo Remix)
25. Midnight Train (Demo)
26. I Never Thought It Peculiar (No Strings and Backing Vocals)
27. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Mono Mix without Overdubs)
28. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Mono Mix with Overdubs)
29. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Stereo Remix)
30. Time And Time Again (Take 1)
31. Time And Time Again (Mono Mix)
32. Time And Time Again (Stereo Mix)
33. Post Cereals "Monkees Cereal Box Records" Commercial
34. Kool-Aid "Nerf Ball" Commercial
35. Kool-Aid "Buzzer" & "Snake In A Can" Commercial
36. Together (Davy Jones With Sam & The Goodtimers - Live on Music Scene - December 22, 1969)
37. Interview With Davy Jones on Music Scene (December 22, 1969)
38. Oh My My (Live At The Palace Theater - Cleveland, Ohio - July 27, 1997)
39. Midnight Train (Live At The Mayo Performing Arts Center - Morristown, New Jersey - Aug. 27, 2015)
BONUS VINYL 45
"Acapulco Sun" EP by The Monkees
Oh My My
Do You Feel It Too?
Thank you very much to Justin Rakowski for submitting his essay to The Monkees Live Almanac! I would also like to acknowledge John McCutcheon's wonderful website Monkee45s for some of the scans seen above.
While prepping this piece for the Live Almanac's blog, I contacted longtime Monkees fan, collector, and author Ed Reilly to see if he could share some unique Changes-era pieces from his collection to complement Justin's work. The items below come from Ed's collection - thanks, Ed!
Bell Records released the original Monkees albums in Japan throughout 1973 and 1974:
Michael "Jakko" Jakszyk (born Michael Lee Curran) is an English musician, record producer, and actor. He has released solo albums as a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist and has been the lead singer for King Crimson since 2013. In 1986, Jakko released the single "Judy Get Down"/"This Old Man." The A-side featured an uncredited performance by Davy Jones on backing vocals. Davy was listed as "Mystery Guest Star" in the musician notes on the rear side of the single's picture sleeve. Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics collaborated with Jakko in the '80s, and he also contributed to "Judy Get Down."
I first heard this song in 1987 on a mixtape that I received from Jodi who was the co-president of the Monkees/Boyce & Hart Photo Fan Club, of which I was a member from 1986 to 1991 or so. You can see the track listing below. I thought I was swimming in riches with the material included on this tape! I recall "Judy Get Down" being a particular favorite.
Side A featured the songs from the bootleg Davy & His Band: Ninth Album, while Side B included solo material from Micky, Davy, and Peter in the '80s. I still have that tape!
"Judy Get Down" is available for download on iTunes, but the audio file above is an MP3 of the song that I received from a fellow fan some years ago. The 12" single version featured an extended mix with Davy's vocals playing a prominent role:
In January 1988, Davy Jones released Incredible!, an album featuring new material, a cover of the late 1950s song "Hippy Hippy Shake," and a re-recording of The Monkees' 1968 hit, "Valleri." The tracks were completed between February 1986 and July 1987 in Memphis, Sydney, Las Vegas, and New York City.
Fans were treated to an early reveal of the sessions when "After Your Heart" appeared as a single (with "Hippy Hippy Shake" as the B-side) in Australia in 1987. Both songs were performed live during Davy and Peter Tork's tour of Australia early that year.
Along with Davy himself, a host of individuals played on Incredible!, including members of The Grass Roots and The Monkees' 1986-1987 touring band, as well as the Staton Brothers, a group of songwriters and musicians that Davy had always admired. Co-produced by Davy, Mark Clarke (The Monkees' touring bassist in '86 and '87 who also worked with Billy Squier and Uriah Heep), Joe Hardy and Robert Merrill, the set featured contributions from "Daydream Believer" songwriter John Stewart ("She Believes"), the Staton Brothers ("Look Inside Yourself"), and Wreckless Eric ("You're Only Dreaming). Wreckless Eric, aka Eric Goulden, wrote "(I'd Go The) Whole Wide World," which appeared on The Monkees' 1987 LP, Pool It! Davy contributed his own "I'll Love You Forever," another song previously heard on Pool It! in a different version. "I'll Love You Forever" had also been consistently performed live on the 1986 and 1987 Monkees tours.
Davy issued Incredible! via Dome Press, which was responsible for his popular 1987 autobiography, They Made a Monkee Out of Me. It was only made available on cassette. The restrained roll-out of the album remains a mystery to this day, especially since at the time of its release The Monkees had just experienced an extremely successful comeback while celebrating their 20th Anniversary. "I just plain didn’t care to put that much energy into promoting Incredible," Davy later said. "Perhaps I should have. I just saw it as something to do for personal enjoyment and for the fans. Lord knows I spent enough money producing it." Incredible had the potential to reach a larger audience, but Davy himself seemed unmoved about the idea. "The '80s were so busy for us [The Monkees]. A lot of good things were set aside. My mind was on performing in 41,000 seat stadiums and having Monkees records all over the Top 40."
Incredible! was released on CD in a very limited fashion in the late 2000s, and it can be streamed and purchased (with bonus tracks) at Davy Jones Bandcamp. Apparently the master tapes have been lost as the downloads appear to be taken from the original cassette.
A while after Incredible!, a cassette single comprised of "Don't Go" and "Hanging By A Thread" was released in late 1989. Recorded in 1987, "Hanging By A Thread" was written by Jerry Goldsmith, who enjoyed a career as a noted film composer. Davy performed the song live in concert during the 1989 North American/Japanese Monkees tour, and in solo appearances in the early 1990s.
Who had this album and/or cassette in their collection in the '80s?? Thanks to Scott Catton for submitting a scan of the fairly rare cassette version.
Self-released in 1988, the album (which was only ever available in cassette form) can be downloaded here.
A big thanks to Lisa Manekofsky for sending in these scans of vintage RCA catalogs featuring Monkees titles. The second image below is from a cassette catalog. For easier reading, click on each image and then click on it again.
Though I haven't received an official email from Rhino, the ordering page for the deluxe set has changed its release date from 11/22/2011 to 11/29/2011. So, it appears we'll have to wait an extra week for the set. This is most likely due to new and improved audio sources being found by producer Andrew Sandoval for tracks from the TV special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee. Andrew noted the following this weekend on his Facebook page:
"I was able to access a new source for the audio of the 33 1/3 special at the last moment which was an improvement. However, due to time and space issues (every disc of this set is maxed out) only so much could be restored, recovered and replayed."
Perhaps space issues is the reason why "I'm a Believer" and "Listen to the Band" from 33 1/3 aren't being included on this Instant Replay set. Hopefully we'll hear the other upgraded 33 1/3 audio on a future box set.
Don't forget to check yesterday's blog post for a picture of what's inside the Instant Replay deluxe edition. It looks great!
In the meantime, here's another Instant Replay picture to hold you over, courtesy of Ed Reilly. The original Colgems cassette!