Good Times!

May 1, 2017

Almost a year ago I purchased “Good Times!”, a new CD by the three surviving Monkees. I’m ashamed to say that at the time I just threw the CD into the car and promptly forgot all about it. Fast-forward to Easter 2017 and during my annual car spring-clean I rediscovered it.

After the less-than-stellar reunion LPs/CDs “Justus” and “Pool It”, where they tried too hard to be contemporary, “Good Times!” sounds like a proper Monkees album and is certainly their best since “Headquarters” fifty (count’em) years ago. “You bring the summer”, written by Andy Partridge features all three Monkees (Davy Jones died five years ago but does feature here posthumously on one track) and could have been a hit in any decade. Michael Nesmith’s “I know what I know” and “Me & Magdalena are his best songs in years. Mickey’s “I was there (and I’m told I had a good time)” is catchy too. Even the liner notes are interesting, and there are some free stickers (!?!). Good value from Amazon at £4.99.

Wanted

April 1, 2016

As a fan of odd comics these titles are currently on my “wants” list. I’ve managed to collect all of the Dell Monkees comics and quite a number of the UK “Lady Penelope” weeklies that contain Monkees strips. However I’ve never seen this Gold Key comic featuring their 1968 movie. “Head” contains some fantastic music amongst the often mediocre sketches. I particularly like their versions of Carole King’s “As we go along” and “Porpoise Song”, Mike’s “Circle Sky” and Davy singing Nilsson’s “Daddy’s Song”. Although care has to be taken with that one. Davy is dancing with Toni Basil whilst set and clothes flash alternately between black and a migraine-inducing white.

Head by Rich Meyer

Here’s another one that looks interesting. I’d like to read it just for the Monkees backup strip.

Mothers by Rich Meyer

Charlton comics were always oddly numbered. “The Flintstones Pebbles and BamBam” survived for five issues until in issue six it suddenly became “Team-Up”. If you were a toddler who’d been given a subscription to the Flintstones comic you were in for a shock. I just want issue 7 as it features E-Man’s girlfriend and former exotic dancer Nova.

Team up by Rich Meyer

Likewise with Miss Bikini Luv 625. She finally got her own comic after featuring for a year or so in Charlton’s “Gorgo”. However the series had originally begun a decade earlier at number 500 as “Robin Hood”. From issue 524 it changed to “Wild Western comics”. After a hiatus it continued from number 581 as “‘Lil Scamp”. It was re-named as “Jungle Warfare” from number 610 (but still had “‘Lil Scamp” back-up stories to use up inventory). Miss Bikini Luv ran from number 623 to 627. All these comics are extremely rare/completely unobtainable.

Miss Bikini Luv 625

And then there were two

August 1, 2015

Two Monkees

The Monkees don’t look their (combined) 143 years in this cropped and oft-repeated image. Looking at the lineup for the Moseley Folk Festival I feel about 143 years old however. Apart from the Monkees there’s only one other band I’ve heard of…..

MFF

Bakers Dozen

March 1, 2012

I bought this book three years ago but have only just got round to looking at it. If most “proper” record shops had closed by 2009 there must be very few left now. And I suspect even Amazon is beginning to struggle to shift CDs. They no longer get as much money from me. I do still have the benefit of a nearby Second-hand Record Shop though. I think I’ll pop in on Saturday to see if he has any LPs by (the late) Dory Previn or any Judge Dread singles. A while back I got an LP which contains possibly the most annoying song ever made.

 PS: So, could this really be the most annoying song ever made? Or is it this “song”?

PPS: I was going to write something about Davy Jones who died recently but there are countless others more qualified than I to do that. The Monkees were a ground-breaking band who managed to succeed despite the four conflicting personalities that were thrown together into the 1960s pop pressure cooker. The 1980s comeback tours were a triumph and the later low key solo concerts were always entertaining. Perhaps it will take the death of the youngest member of the band to produce a re-evaluation of their fab music.

Davy Jones    1945 – 2012

I’ve just held a personal minute’s silence and Davy asking “What number is this?” and the band replying “7A !!!!!!” popped into my head……………….

Alternate Title

October 12, 2010

I suppose I was around the age of 10 when I first joined the UK Monkees fan club. Years later I joined another Monkees fan club. In the 1970s and 1980s there were dozens !! Unsurprisingly the membership has long since lapsed but in fact, I never stopped being a fan. Oh, and being in a Monkees fan club in your late teens was a great way to meet girls !!. But they would say things like “Which is your favourite Monkee ?”. I didn’t really have an answer to that. I just saw them as a band that made great (and often under-appreciated) music. Music was most definitely of a secondary consideration to the girls. They were far more interested in the character and personality (and looks) of each of the pre-fab four and had umpteen pictures of their favourite fantasy in scrapbooks and on bedroom walls. So, eventually, if asked I would say my favourite Monkee was Micky. He sang all the best songs. One of the first songs he penned for the band was the album track “Randy Scouse Git” which appeared on the Monkees third LP “Headquarters” in 1967 and which obliquely referred to his visit to the UK and meeting the Beatles and his future wife.

She’s a wonderful lady and she’s mine all mine
And there doesn’t seem a way that she won’t come and lose my mind.
It’s too easy humming songs to a girl in yellow dress
It’s been a long time since the party and the room is in a mess.

The four kings of EMI are sitting stately on the floor
There are birds out on the sidewalk and a valet at the door.
He reminds me of a penguin with few and plastered hair
There’s talcum powder on the letter, and the birthday-boy is there.

Why don’t you cut your hair ?
Why don’t you live up there ?
Why don’t you do what I do
See what I feel when I care ?

Now they’ve darkened all the windows and the seats are naugahyde.
I’ve been waiting for an hour I can’t find a place to hide.
The being known as Wonder Girl is speaking I believe.
It’s not easy trying to tell her that I shortly have to leave.

Why don’t you be like me ?
Why don’t you stop and see ?
Why don’t you hate who I hate
Kill who I kill to be free ?

Repeat chorus, drum solo, drop drumsticks etc

The song was so catchy that it was released as a single in the UK (but never in the USA) and reached the top 10. But the powers that be thought that perhaps “Randy Scouse Git” wasn’t the most user-friendly title. Of course it was what Alf (Warren Mitchell) called his idle son-in-law Mike (Antony Booth) on the TV sitcom “Till death us do part”. Micky had heard the phrase and probably not even asked what it meant. You can just imagine the following conversation:-

Record executive 1: “What we need is an alternate title.”
Record Executive 2: “By jove that’s it !!”

Here is an alternate Alternate title.

As recently as the 1990s a friend from the USA was surprised to discover the track had been re-named in this way when I sent her a UK single.

It’s amazing to think they could sell a monthly magazine that just contained the lyrics of the current hits but they did. This magazine and similar ones like Disco 45 continued well into the 1980s.

PS: The “b” side of “Alternate Title” was “Forget that girl”. Sung by Davy it is one of the best tunes the Monkees ever recorded. You got value for your money in those days. Considering how many times I must have played that single on an old gramophone meant for 78rpm records I’m amazed it still sounds so good…and loud… There seems to have been a period around 1966/1967 when singles released on certain labels had the volume boosted. This made certain songs positively boom out of the jukeboxes of the time. It’s particularly noticeable on some Stones records, also DDDBM&T and a couple of Monkees singles…..especially this one and “A little bit me, a little bit you”.

PPS: Which as usual sent me off on a tangent hunting out some of those “loud” 45s and checking if they included any Tamla Motown singles. (As if I haven’t got far more important stuff to do….). Then I thought I’d look to see how many cover versions of “Alternate Title” had been made. Surprisingly few. The UK bands Bad Manners and Carter USM had a stab at it along with one or two bands no one has ever heard of on Monkees tribute albums and that’s about it. Of course, The Monkees sang it often enough on their TV show for the tune to still be so recognisable today.