This is Now : Missing Links 3: Review
>From Record Collector No. 201, May 1996, page 158.
The Monkees: “Missing Links Vol. 3”
(U.S. Import: Rhino R2 72153) (52.00)
What makes Rhino’s “Missing Links” series
better than the Beatles’ over-hyped “Anthology”?
The fact that the label knows what its audience
wants, and delivers.
Like its two predecessors, “Missing Links Vol.
3” is a wonderful mix of out-takes, radio jingles
and rarities, lifted straight from the 60s master
tapes without a hint of 1995 myth-making.
There’s no after-the-fact jiggery-pokery with the
tapes, no attempt to overdub missing Monkees
onto what were effectively Nesmith solo sessions,
or to add a 90s studio band onto Micky Dolenz’s
acoustic demos. This is the way the Monkees
were, in all their manufactured, multi-tentacled
Truth is, each new out-take collection makes
the TV terrors sound like a better band. By the
time Rhino reach “Missing Links Vol. 10”, they’ll
be bigger than the Beatles. The stylistic varia-
tion on this set is remarkable: we already knew
that Mike Nesmith was a pioneer of progressive
country, but Latin country, as he merges Antonio
Carlos Jobim into his vision of cowboy
cosmicness? We’d pegged Peter Tork as the Ringo
of the group, but where does that leave the Syd-
styled weirdness of “Merry Go Round”, or the
fuzz guitar folk-rock of “Tear The Top Right Off
My Head”? How about Micky Dolenz as a seller
of Dylanesque talking blues (“Midnight Train”)?
Or Davy Jones, many Monkees’ fans musical
bete noire, measuring one part vaudeville to two
parts summer pop on the winningly coy “Penny
Nesmith is the star of the proceedings, as
you’d expect, previewing his solo career with a
slow, bluesy “Little Red Rider”, an exquisite dry
run through “Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun To
Care)” and an upfront mix of “Circle Sky” from
the ‘Head’ movie. But the Monkees were never a
one-man-band – or a bunch of TV comics, though
they had that angle covered as well.
Other gems on this album include the TV
theme sung in Italian; a decent mix, at last, of
the Neil Diamond song “Love To Love”; a 1966
alternate take of “Through The Looking Glass”;
even a Dolenz R&B showcase backed by the R&B
horns of Sam & the Goodtimes, and with the hot-
lick king himself, James Burton, on lead guitar.
It’s almost all previously unreleased, and it’s
packaged with the care and devotion to detail
that you’d expect from a label who have always
treated the Monkees as something out of the
ordinary. You can keep your ’95 remakes of “A
Day In The Life” and “Penny Lane”; this is the
way archive releases should sound.
– Peter Doggett
(Record Collector is a magazine printed in the U.K.)