Monkees – Head: Deluxe Edition

January 01, 1970

(Rhino Handmade)

 

www.rhino.com/handmade

 

Whoever still subscribes to the idea that The Monkees were a
purely manufactured product of the ‘60s pop world obviously never heard of Head.

 

Conceptualized in 1968 by producer Jack Nicholson and
acclaimed director Bob Rafelson – -who went on to create such masterpieces of ‘70s
cinema as Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens — the cult
film project marked the quirky television band’s full-blown debut foray into
the realm of countercultural rockism they only flirted with on albums like Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. With a whimsically
askew “action/adventure” acid dream that fell somewhere between Help! and Psych-Out, the movie flopped dreadfully at the box office but earned
The Monkees the street cred amongst the rock ‘n’ roll elite they never thought
they would ever attain.

 

Meanwhile, the film’s soundtrack, the first Monkees album to
NOT go gold, is largely considered to be the band’s creative apex. Interspersed
between bits of film dialogue and incidental music composed by Beatles film
composer Ken Thorne were intriguing detours into psych-garage, Indian raga and
the California country rock that would later become guitarist Mike Nesmith’s
calling card during his rich solo career in the 1970s. Also present was a mind-blowing
array of collaborative guests, including Leon Russell, Bill Chadwick, Dewey
Martin, Harry Nilsson, Jack Nitzsche, Buddy Miles, Gerry Goffin and Carole
King, Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Ry Cooder.

 

This 3-CD deluxe box set from Rhino Handmade is a
collector’s dream that expands upon the intrepid catalog label’s 1995 reissue
to include an elongated version of the original LP containing stereo mixes of
almost ever song on the album, a rough stereo mix of “Can You Dig It”
with the song’s author Peter Tork on lead vocals instead of Mickey Dolenz, and
previously unreleased mixes of “Daddy’s Song” and “Swami — Plus
Strings”. Disc two is loaded with even more outtakes and rare gems,
including pretty much the entire album in mono, 1969’s “California, Here
It Comes” (a song that was played briefly over the end credits of the
Monkees’ TV special from that year, 33
1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee
), and an incredibly sought-after live set from a
1968 show at Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City that features some electrified
versions of such Headquarters highlights as “You Just May Be The One”, “Sunny Girlfriend”
and “You Told Me”. The last disc is a radio interview with frontman
Davy Jones that was previously released in ’68 as a promotional LP from the
Colgems label. And housing this mammoth is a gorgeous 7″ x 7″ hardcase box
adorned with the mirrored Mylar finish replicating the original vinyl release
that also houses a limited edition 7-inch of instrumental versions of “Porpoise
Song” b/w “As We Go Along”, a hardcover booklet containing
extensive liner notes and some pretty dandy color photos thrown in there as
well.

 

If you are a hardcore fan of The Monkees’ Head, this becoming box set is well
worth its hefty price tag as it delivers a definitive version of a bizarre,
brilliant and bona fide rock ‘n’ roll oddity.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Porpoise Song”, “Circle Sky” (Alternate Stereo Mix),
“Can You Dig It” (Peter’s Vocal –Rough Stereo Mix),
“”Daddy’s Song” (Mike’s Vocal), “Sunny Girlfriend”
(Live), “California
Here It Comes” RON HART

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