Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- This 1967 Stereo pressing boasts outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end
- These two sides are exceptionally (for this album) smooth, rich, sweet, and clear - and the vinyl is crazy QUIET for a Monkees album
- Forget the early albums, we've never heard any of them sound good - their fourth release is practically the only one with audiophile potential
- 4 1/2 stars: "To think that both this album and Headquarters came out the same year! Most bands would be lucky to have two albums this good come out their entire career. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. is a must-have for any fan of smart, fun, and exciting '60s pop. It doesn't get much better than this."
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We've been trying to find good sound on Monkees' albums for at least thirty years, with very little to show for our efforts -- until now of course. It seems the fourth album is practically the only one with potential.
One of the problems holding us back from discovering the best sounding pressings of The Monkees' albums is the fact that 90+% of the copies we come across are beat to death. The average Rolling Stones record from the '60s is in better shape.
We will, of course, keep looking, but it's highly doubtful that any copy of the first two albums -- you know, the ones that were at the top of the charts for so long they outsold The Beatles in 1967 -- will ever make it to the site. Doubtful, but hope springs eternal in the record biz. You never know what gems you'll discover until they somehow find themselves on your turntable.
What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1967
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the vocals, jangly guitars, and other instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is, of course, the only way to hear all of the above.
What We're Listening For on Albums by The Monkees
Less grit - smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on any Monkees album, including this one.
A bigger presentation - more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.
More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way the engineers wanted it to.
Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.
Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.
Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven't played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.
Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.
Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain't easy to play 'em either. You're going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area -- VTA, tracking weight, azimuth and anti-skate -- in order to play this album properly. If you've got the goods you're gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart / table / arm and you're likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.
Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any original pressing will play, and since only the right originals have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of imports, later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't sound good.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
She Hangs Out
The Door Into Summer
Love Is Only Sleeping
Hard to Believe
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky / Pleasant Valley Sunday
Don't Call on Me
Whatever the reason for the decision, the resulting album is one of their best... To think that both this album and Headquarters came out the same year! Most bands would be lucky to have two albums this good come out their entire career.
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. is a must-have for any fan of smart, fun, and exciting '60s pop. It doesn't get much better than this.
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