The Monkees TV show was a holiday staple, growing up. Seemingly on permanent rotation on BBC1 as a kid, along with The Banana Splits and Adam West and Burt Ward in Batman, The Monkees' music was ingrained in me from a young age and never went away. In 1990, as a 19-year old far away from home, I bought a cheap cassette compilation of The Monkees and it proved a trusty friend. As with many budget priced collections, it wasn't exactly a greatest hits - no Last Train To Clarksville, Daydream Believer or Porpoise Song - but it included three of my most-loved Monkees songs in Valleri, Pleasant Valley Sunday and (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone. In May 1990, a few months before I'd left home, the latter had scraped to #58 in the UK charts, courtesy of a cover version by The Farm. The previous year, I'd seen The Monkees - or three of them at least, as Mike Nesmith hadn't returned to the fold at that point - reunited and grinding it out live on stage at Bristol's Colston Hall. It was simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, but my love for the songs never diminished. My appreciation for Mike Nesmith's country leanings blossomed belatedly and repeated listening to the cassette grew my love for What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round and particularly Listen To The Band. Twelve songs in just over 30 minutes, all killer, no filler. Even Pixies would be happy with that.
Side One (15:37)
1) I'm A Believer (1966)
2) Pleasant Valley Sunday (1967)
3) Sometime In The Morning (1966)
4) What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round (1967)
5) You Just May Be The One (1967)
6) Valleri (1968)
Side Two (15:23)
1) (Theme From) The Monkees (1966)
2) (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone (1966)
3) Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) (1966)
4) Shades Of Gray (Cover of Will-O-Bees) (1967)
5) Words (1967)
6) Listen To The Band (1968)
Here's a completely bonkers version of Listen To The Band from the 1969 TV Special 33 ⅓ Revolutions Per Monkee, which manages to out weird psychedelic trip movie Head. Mind bending stuff.