Thursday, June 30, 2011

On my turntable (Monkees edition): Changes

Hey Hey they're the Monkees?
I remember reading somewhere (or maybe I made it up?) that Changes (1970) would have been a decent Archies record, but as far as Monkees albums were concerned it was lousy.

By 1970 The Monkees had little (if any) support from Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures (to whom they were still under contract) but they were still doing well on Saturday morning tv. Producer Jeff Barry was brought back (he had done some of the early Monkees sessions) to record some new material to replace the tunes on the old episodes of the show, to freshen them up I guess.  By the early 1970's, Bubblegum music had become a musical ATM for studio pros that were were cranking out well-crafted 45s for youngsters with babysitting and paper route money to burn (which definitely set the scene for The Partridge Family, which would premiere on ABC in just a few months). In this respect , I reckon Changes was relevant to its time.

I've always thought "Oh My My" is a great track, and works as a strong opener for the album. Sadly, from the start of track two the album takes a bit of a nosedive. One exception is Micky's "Midnight Train", which I remember from the syndicated version of "The Chaperone" episode.
The spirit of '76: DJB&H

Six years after Changes failed to chart (it finally did chart in the 80's when reissued by Rhino), Micky & Davy returned with a new and very respectable album, the collaborative Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. Marketed as the "guys that wrote 'em and the guys that sang 'em", DJB&H hit the road in '76, playing the "golden hits of The Monkees" at state fairs & amusement parks (I heard that they actually played at the Bel Rae ballroom in MN). The DJB&H lp deserves recognition as part of The Monkees catalog, if only on the grounds that it is a far more sincere effort from Dolenz and Jones, who contributed songwriting and production to the project.

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