As part of yesterday's Record Store Day offerings, the Missing Links trilogy (originally produced by Andrew Sandoval and Bill Inglot for Rhino Records in the late '80s/'90s) was made available as an exclusive, limited edition release courtesy of Friday Music. The LPs were pressed on 180 gram audiophile vinyl in multiple color variations, limited to 2,000 copies for each volume.
Volume 1 contains the CD bonus tracks that were not part of the original vinyl and Volume 2 features the CD bonus tracks not found on the original cassette. This in-store only release also marks the premiere appearance of the second and third Missing Links installments on vinyl.
Thanks a lot to longtime Live Almanac contributor Ben Belmares for providing scans of the albums he acquired.
Missing Links Volume Two
Missing Links Volume Three
In the summer of 1987, Rhino Records delighted Monkees fans when it delivered Missing Links, the first album to officially assemble unreleased Monkees songs long stored away in the vaults at RCA. Except for "Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears" and "If You Have the Time," both of which had been aired on the Saturday morning repeats in the early 1970s, and "Nine Times Blue," performed live by Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Davy Jones on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969, the remainder of the tracks were largely unheard (though some had floated around previously on bootlegs). Missing Links also featured what at the time was widely considered The Monkees' most famous lost song, "All of Your Toys," recorded during the Headquarters era and later shelved because of a publishing dispute. Initially available on LP and cassette, the collection was expanded in compact disc form in December 1988 with bonus tracks.
Two more Missing Links volumes followed: Volume Two arrived in 1990 and Volume Three in 1996. Volume Two, issued on cassette and compact disc only, included more previously unreleased tracks as well as versions of songs originally heard only on The Monkees TV show that were ultimately re-recorded by The Monkees under their creative control (the first recorded takes of "You Just May Be The One," "Valleri," and "Words," to name a few). Volume Three, available on CD only, continued this same approach of unreleased material and alternate versions. Bill Inglot and Andrew Sandoval's deep dive of the vaults that resulted in these finely crafted collections remain fan favorites.
All these years later, the original Missing Links trilogy is now slated to make a comeback for an exclusive, limited edition release on July 17 as part of a pandemic-adjusted Record Store Day 2021. Friday Music, which has previously tackled various Monkees reissues, announced today that all three Missing Links albums will be available on 180 gram audiophile vinyl in multiple color variations, limited to 2,000 copies for each volume. Of note, Volume 1 will contain the CD bonus tracks that were not part of the original vinyl and Volume 2 will feature the CD bonus tracks not found on the original cassette. This release also marks the premiere appearance of the second and third Missing Links installments on vinyl. Notably, the original cover of Volume 2 has been altered.
Record Store Day was founded in 2007 and has become an annual tradition. With a stated purpose of celebrating the culture of the independently owned record store, bands and labels will press unique items that are distributed exclusively to shops participating in the event. Thanks to Rhino Records, The Monkees have had several Record Store Day releases, all of which are collected in the archives of The Monkees Live Almanac. Be sure to search a list of this year's participating stores where you can pick up your selections, but be aware that the color of the vinyl inside your Missing Links copy will be a surprise.
Missing Links Volume Two
Missing Links Volume Three
Missing Links Volume Two was released in January 1990. Like the first Missing Links collection in 1987, the album consists of songs that were left inside The Monkees' vault in the 1960s.
This past weekend on Facebook, Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval recalled his work on Volume Two, which happened to be a seminal moment in his career.
Thanks to Sherri Hansen for uploading this great rendition of a Nez classic!
Nez demoed "Propinquity," a song he wrote for his first wife, Phyllis, in 1966:
He later recorded it during the famed Nashville sessions in 1968, but this version remained in the Monkees vaults until its appearance in 1996 on Missing Links Volume Three:
The song was given its first official release in 1971 on The First National Band's third album, Nevada Fighter:
A reworked version appeared on Live at the Palais in 1978:
Finally, this performance of "Propinquity" is taken from Live at the Britt Festival, a video and compact disc recorded on June 19, 1992 at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon:
"War Games" was composed by Davy Jones and Steve Pitts and was originally considered for inclusion on the soundtrack of The Monkees' 1968 feature film, Head. Pitts was a friend of Michael Nesmith's from Texas, and Nez introduced the pair to each other in late 1966. They eventually entered into a songwriting partnership, composing such tracks as "Dream World," "The Poster," "Smile," "Party," "I'm Gonna Try," and "Changes" (another song that was floated for Head, and at the time of its recording, the name of the film).
Two versions of "War Games" exist. The first was recorded in January 1968 under the supervision of Nesmith. Present at the initial sessions were Michael, Davy, Steve, and Bob Rafelson, who offered the visual image he was getting while hearing the track being produced. "It sounds to me like four spade chicks all dressed in American flags and all wigglin' their asses at the same time, goin' down the street," reported Andrew Sandoval in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation, after listening to the session tapes. "You dig what I mean? If you just start thinkin' on that, it sounds awful good." Nez replied with some hesitation. "Thanks Bob. That's very groovy. That's what we are playin', right?"
Sandoval discussed the first version of "War Games" in the liner notes of Rhino's 2010 deluxe edition release of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees:
(Sandoval notes in his book that Michael most likely overdubbed the Hammond organ part at a future recording session.)
In February 1968, Davy went back into the studio with Lester Sill and Shorty Rogers and remade "War Games" in a slower arrangement with horns and strings:
"War Games" wouldn't be heard until version 2 appeared on 1987's Missing Links. Version 1 would make its debut on the 2010 deluxe edition of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees.
Go ahead and take a moment to vote in the poll below to show your preference between the two versions of the song:
At the conclusion of the second season episode "The Christmas Show," which aired on December 25, 1967, The Monkees performed "Riu Chiu," a traditional Spanish carol dating from the 16th century.
An official studio version was recorded in October 1967, featuring Monkees producer Chip Douglas on vocals who was substituting for an absent Davy Jones. It went unreleased until 1990's Missing Links Volume Two.
It is likely that The Monkees learned the song from Douglas, who himself performed it with his former band The Modern Folk Quartet on their 1964 album Changes.
In a 2012 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Peter Tork revealed his admiration for "Riu Chiu."
"I would say my favorite song we ever did was 'Riu Chiu.' It's an a cappella song, all in Spanish, that we did only once before TV cameras, and the harmony blend was perfect. It's totally crackerjack!"
In the February 1969 issue of Monkees Monthly, a couple of readers posed questions about Micky and Michael's messages found on the back cover of The Monkees' fifth album, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees:
Here's Michael's message on the back of the LP, signed "Carlisle Wheeling":
Michael attempted several versions of the song "Carlisle Wheeling" during various Monkees sessions in 1967 and 1968. The song, however, was never issued on a Monkees album or collection until Rhino Records released Missing Links in 1988:
Nez later tackled the song with The First National Band and ultimately included it on their 1970 album Loose Salute:
Another fan asked about Micky's inscription of "MIJACOGEO":
Here's Micky's message on the back of the Birds LP:
In his youth, Micky's family had a dog named Mijacogeo. Coco Dolenz explained his name in the June 1968 issue of Fave, which was the subject of much family debate:
"We talked a long time on what to name him, and we just couldn't agree! Finally, Micky suggested 'Let's name him a combination of all our names!' So here's how Dad figured it out. The entire name is the dog's name, and the capital letters are the letters from our names: MI (is for Micky), JA (for Janelle, my mother), CO (for Coco, me of course), and GEO (for George, my father)! So the poor puppy's outasite name turned out to be MI-JA-CO-GEO, Mijacogeo!"
"Mijacogeo" was also one of two titles attributed to the last episode of The Monkees television series, also known as "The Frodis Caper."
Version One, recorded in July 1966 and produced by Nez, showcased ace session players like James Burton, Glen Campbell, and Hal Blaine. Peter is also featured in the mix, playing guitar. This version was only heard on the TV show during the first season, and didn't see an official release until 1990's Missing Links, Volume 2.
The second version, from the group's third LP, Headquarters, features The Monkees on the backing track and was produced by Chip Douglas.
Recap: Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith