"If anyone has read the review of INSTANT REPLAY I have submitted, where I mention the need to have a time machine to change history for The Monkees (!??!), THE MONKEES PRESENT is where I would race towards Mickey Dolenz and his song MOMMY & DADDY from this album, with great urgency and support. I would like to mention this song first, of all the others, because this song is very special. I honestly have not heard a track like this until 10 years (1978 ~ 1980) later with Kate Bush & Laurie Anderson's work. It really is that innovative and experimental. The only suggestion I would have for Young Dolenz, where I need that time machine to go back and talk to him (!), is the ending of the song. He had a really strong opening, but this track ends with him going back to where `Randy Scouse Git' had already gone, which slightly, somewhat disappointingly, hinders this track from being what it is. An absolutely groundbreaking song. I hear this song ending slightly more tribal (as the vocal and arrangement suggest) than maybe Mickey or Shorty Rogers thought to do, or had available. It is still an outstanding song from Dolenz despite, and one of the highlights from THE MONKEES PRESENT.I feel INSTANT REPLAY comes off quite a bit stronger than PRESENT, most notably for the Nesmith & Jones contributions, but PRESENT has gems on it. Most notably, and famously Mike Nesmith's `Listen To The Band'. A very true blending of country and rock that he had been pioneering since 1966 with `Sweet Young Thing' (co-written with Goffin & King). `Listen To The Band' deserves to be a classic, and a more well known song than what it was and is. The melody is irresistible, and the power of the song shines through. Nesmith later re-did this song with a more country - twang a year later with his own First National Band, but this version stands out as the definitive. The inclusion of the alternative mix allows a more audible account of the rhythm track without the brass arrangement that so defines the song in its final Monkees version. Another incredibly strong song is included in the bonus tracks. `Calico Girlfriend (Samba)', (which Nesmith also re-did later on) is such a great song in this rendition, it is a shame that it was not part of THE MONKEES PRESENT released album. It is TOO catchy. Should have been a single, especially considering the success Santana was to experience with the melding or rock and latin rhythms the same year. Capitalising on a trend or musical movement was not an impossibility with The Monkees song catalogue in 1969. They still had material that was very relevant to what was happening around them, and equally as good, if not better than what was around. `Calico Girlfriend' is a gem that should never have been buried, only to be rediscovered for its true value. It is not unlike Nesmith's `Silver Moon'(from his second 1970 solo album), which had HIT written all over it, and no less `catchy' than what the Mavericks or The Dixie Chicks have been offering very recently. Nesmith is one of the most underrated songwriters of his generation, and it is a shame. I really need a time machine. Bill Chadwick's `French Song' is quite interesting in its production. It bares mention, as does Scott & Willis's `Pillow Time'. THE MONKEES PRESENT is a much better representation of Mickey Dolenz's talents than INSTANT REPLAY shows, and with a bit more work on a bonus track from INSTANT REPLAY `Rosemarie' by Dolenz, and PRESENT's `Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye' by Dolenz & Klein, you'd have his standout tracks (along with the aforementioned Mommy & Daddy). THE MONKEES PRESENT is a bit more scattershot than INSTANT REPLAY, it has a few more misses, or near misses, than hits, but if you combine the two albums, you have what should have been SUCCESS written all over it. A much stronger album overall, even moreso than 1967's `Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.', which is the benchmark of their career. My suggestions for this combination of albums also include those mentioned in the INSTANT REPLAY review.Don't Listen To Linda (Boyce & Hart)
I Won't Be The Same Without Her (Goffin & King)
You and I (Jones & Chadwick)
While I Cry (Nesmith)
A Man Without A Dream (Goffin & King)
Someday Man (Nicols & Williams)
Carlisle Wheeling (Nesmith)
St. Matthew (Nesmith)
Mommy & Daddy (Dolenz)
Listen To The Band (Nesmith)
Calico Girlfriend (Samba) (Nesmith)
Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye (Dolenz & Klein)
Good Clean Fun (Nesmith)It is a bit heavy on the Nesmith side, but his songwriting was as good as anything that was being provided by outside writers, and it makes for some of the most pleasurable listening on these later Monkees albums without Peter Tork. A little more group unity would have been nice as far as the recording sessions, but the songs speak for themselves. The Monkees were a valuable part of the 60's, and they had Mike Nesmith."
In retrospect, it belongs in the top Monkees 5
J. K. Baxter | Near Philadelphia, PA | 01/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion, The Monkees Present marks the last "true" Monkees album of the group's original run. (The follow up "Changes" features only Dolenz and Jones. And you gotta have atleast THREE!)
This album has aged well, as it doesn't even have any of the sappier Davy Jones songs that sometimes cause you to embarrassingly skip over a track. (Although one comes close, more on that later.) Jones' "French Song" is actually rather enjoyable, sounding like something out of "Lupin III". And of course, Nesmith's "Listen To The Band" is, in my opinion, one of the five finest songs the Monkees ever recorded. The bonus tracks include an alternate take of this classic tune.
On to the other tracks, there are a few other decent numbers from Nesmith like "Never Tell A Woman Yes" which reminds a bit of the Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon". Nez also contributes "Good Clean Fun" and "Oklahoma Backroom Dancer" which both feature all the earmarks of his style, and do not disappoint.
Dolenz' "Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye" is one of his better late period songs, and has a bit of a western flavor to it. Dolenz' biting commentary on "Mommy And Daddy" was censored for the original release, but you can hear the true, superior version of the song as a bonus track here. Dolenz also sings the lead off track "Little Girl", which features the trademark Dolenz soothing vocals, and he closes the album with his lullaby "Pillow Time", not to be confused with the Headquarters bonus track.
Jones' "Looking For The Good Times", sounds quite a bit like the previous year's "Valleri", and "Ladies Aid Society" has that silly 60's novelty feel to it, and is a lot of fun. "If I Knew" is the only track that fails to impress here, as it's simply a cookie cutter Jones ballad that could just as easily have been on the first album.
Rounding out the other bonus tracks on the album, there is one other gem in particular, Nesmith's excellent "Calico Girlfriend Samba", which sounds alot like Nesmith's early solo work, and with good reason. He re-recorded this track (as well as Listen To The Band) with his First National Band. (I highly recommend seeking out discs of this great, forgotten group.) Also included are "The Good Earth", which is simply a spoken word poem by Jones, and a radio announcement from 1969 advertising The Monkees Present.
So this is the swan song of the Monkees as a trio, after becoming Tork-less with "Instant Replay" and then becoming Nez-less with "Changes". We wouldn't have a three Monkee line up again until 1987's "Pool It!" (Tork's return), and Nes would not return for a visit until 1996's "Justus". (Essentially, Headquarters 2.)
Four stars for The Monkees Present, and in ranking it next to the Monkees finest albums, I would likely rank them currently as: 1. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. 2. Headquarters 3. Head 4. The Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees 5. The Monkees Present
4 and 5 can be interchangable for me, depending on mood."
Trio's Final Fling
Brent Evans | Rockhampton, Australia | 05/19/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Plays the song and no one listens" . . .this was the situation that Michael Nesmith,Davy Jones,and Micky Dolenz found themselves in 1969.The Monkees tv show was about to start rerunning,their fan base was slowly eroding and they were on a ill-fated South American tour with Sam and The Goodtimers.Colgems gave them creative musical control,not caring what the end result would be.The final product turned out better than anyone had a right to expect.Orignally touted as a two record set,THE MONKEES PRESENT showcased the three remaining monkees with better than standard material.Davy gives us a memorable ballad(IF I KNEW),a Boyce and Hart rocker(LOOKING FOR THE GOODTIMES),a scathing novelty song(LADIES AID SOCIETY),an introspective song inspired from a French film soundtrack(FRENCH SONG),and an ecology poem(THE GOOD EARTH).Nesmith contributes three superb country rockers(GOOD CLEAN FUN,NEVER TELL A WOMAN YES,OKLAHOMA BACKROOM DANCER),one mock samba (CALICO GIRLFRIEND SAMBA)and an anthem for 69 (LISTEN TO THE BAND).Micky brings forth one lullaby written by his mother(PILLOW TIME),one jazzy mixture(LITTLE GIRL),a tune with his sister on backing vocals(BYE BYE BABY BYE BYE),and his best song since RANDY SCOUSE GIT(MOMMY AND DADDY. Check out the altertnate lyrics to this one. Bubblegum image,take that!)THE MONKEES PRESENT showed that the Monkees could function very well as a tio given the right support and encouragement .Unfortunately,Mike Nesmith felt that this album fulfilled all his Monkee obligations and bought out his contract with Screen Gems.Dolenz and Jones went on to do a contractual obligation album,the abysmal CHANGES,before calling it a day.THE MONKEES PRESENT went nowhere on the charts and the singles were not;yet it was a fine example of music for 1969,and a good note for the true Monkees to go out on."Weren't they good,they made me happy" . . ."
Weren't they good? They made me happy.
Johnny Heering | Bethel, CT United States | 10/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was the Monkees second album without Peter Tork, and their eighth album overall. It is a mixed bag of songs. It features four songs by each of the remaining Monkees. Micky Dolenz contributed four strong songs, most of which he wrote himself. The controversial "Mommy and Daddy" is the standout among Micky's songs (the CD includes an even more controversial version of the song as a bonus track). Michael Nesmith contributed four solid county-rock songs, including the chart singles "Listen to the Band" and "Good Clean Fun". The inclusion of "Listen to the Band" is odd, since it had already appeared on The Monkees Greatest Hits album, released a few months earlier (of course, it's appearance here does make for a better overall album). Davy Jones is, in many ways, the weakest link on the album. Apparently, Davy had trouble coming up with enough new material for the album, because two of his songs are leftovers from the Monkees More of Monkees. But I actually like those two older songs better than the two new songs he recorded for the album, which are pretty boring. On the whole, the album works pretty well, and Monkees fans should enjoy it."
Tell your Mommy and Daddy this is good!
Michael Harkins | Escondido, CA USA | 04/01/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I like the Rhino re-release of this Album. The artwork is much better, and "Mommy and Daddy" is stunning. The previously unreleased version of Micky's song is a revelation. That bubble gum image of the Monkees vanishes! I could not imagine hearing this song on one of their TV shows. Just think of what a comotion that would have caused! Of the 12 original songs, the three remaining Monkees all sing lead on four each. I think Mike leads the way with three strong efforts. "Listen To The Band" is one of my all time favorites, "Good Clean Fun" is just that, a fun song! And "Oklahoma Backroom Dancer" has a real nice flavor. Micky's "Little Girl" & "Bye Bye..." are good, but "Mommy and Daddy" is his best effort. Davy is nice and slow with his songs, if you like him that way. I don't, I think he's a bit boring here, except for one of the two year leftover old tracks "Looking for the Good Times." "Ladies Aid Society" is another leftover, and I now know why it was never put on one of their earlier albums. It's Bad! Overall, a good listenable CD, thanks to the wonderful folks at Rhino!"