It was ironic that The Monkees were highly critisised for being a manufactured group, since they never proposed to be anything else!
They were originally intended to be nothing more than the cast for a television programme for the crazy 1960's, where the music was secondary, but the latter soon overtook the former, and - for a couple of years - The Monkees were massively popular, even though they rarely performed on their own albums (aside from the vocals). So, many of their contemporaries who'd slaved for years without success hated the group's collective guts, and one can empathise with them.
My sister and I used to watch the television show as children, and grew to love some of the songs featured - we'd record them onto tape, so pieces like "Daydream Believer", "Star Collector" and "Words" became very familiar to us.
This debut album is mainly made up of songs composed by the talented Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, although Mike Nesmith - with his significant country leanings - pens two of the best tracks, “Papa Gene’s Blues” and “Sweet Young Thing”.
Whether one regards the group as fake or not, there’s no denying the tunefulness The Monkees often exuded, as the smash it “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Saturday’s Child”, and “Take A Giant Step” demonstrate, even if there is a certain similarity to them all. The closing “Gonna Buy Me A Dog” is stupidly funny, adding a touch of the TV programme’s flavour.
It’s interesting to note that - apart from his appearance on guitar in “Papa Gene’s Blues” - Peter Tork makes absolutely no contribution to this release, and even Nesmith, the most talented of the quartet, does not participate instrumentally at all.
This album was a No.1 hit and worth seeking out, as it represents the start of a very under-rated career. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor