Headquarters This is where things get really interesting. Donny Kirshner gets the sack and The Monkees are in charge of their own music. Nesmith brings in (Turtles bassist) Chip Douglas to produce. This album is garage band perfection. The Monkees prove themselves to be more worthy than the suits and provide the soundtrack to their second TV season with this (and the next) album. The album only suffers from not including the songs "All of Your Toys" and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere." AOYT was not included because it was written by Bill Martin and he was not published under Screen Gems. TGIKS was only offered as the b-side to the "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" single but I consider it the greatest song to come out of the whole proceedings. And that's saying a lot. There's so much joy in that track and Peter Tork's harpsichord solo is killer. The new deluxe edition coming in July will include these songs.Album highlights: You Told Me, You Just May Be the One, Shades of Gray, For Pete's Sake, Mr. Webster, Sunny Girlfriend, Early Morning Blues and Greens, Randy Scouse Git.
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones LTD If you are going to buy one official Monkees album, I would recommend it be this one. For this The Monkees decide that augmenting the recordings with session musicians is the way to go. Micky Dolenz is replaced by Eddie Hoh on the drums and instead plays guitars and Moog synthesizer (the first appearance of one on a rock record ever). The results are fantastic. The Monkees are in command and experimenting just as successfully as anyone else in 1967... (um except as well as maybe you know who)...This album only suffers from the non-inclusion of the single Daydream Believer/Goin' Down. Album Highlights: Salesman, The Door Into Summer, Love is Only Sleeping, Cuddly Toy, Words, What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round?, Pleasant Valley Sunday, Daily Nightly, Star Collector.
The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees This could have been another PAC&J LTD but missed the mark by splitting into camps, not working as a group and not including any of Peter Tork's contributions. The individual Monkees became producers and pooled their work under the umbrella title "Produced by The Monkees." They do a good job though the best results will span this and the next 3 albums. "Daydream Believer" is included as a ringer. Nesmith continues to shine with very original sounding pieces.Album highlights: Auntie's Municipal Court, Tapioca Tundra, Daydream Believer, PO Box 9847, Valleri, Writing Wrongs, Zor and Zam.