Missing Links, Vol. 3

by: The Monkees

Rhino treats the Monkees' catalog with a seriousness akin to the Beatles' Anthology series, but it's nonsense to pretend that the group's outtakes and rarities are deserving of such fanatical scrutiny. There are a lot more than anyone suspected, though, and Missing Links, Vol. 3 presents 24 more, again proving that the bottom of the Monkees' barrel has the same mixture of fun and boredom as hiding in a barrel as a stowaway. There are too many trivial cuts here from the late '60s -- that goes for both the slight pop/rockers and Nesmith's less slight country-rockers. On the other hand, there are some good 'uns, like the Dolenz-sung acoustic 1967 demo "She'll Be There," which recalls early British Invasion acts like Peter & Gordon; different/rare mixes/takes of "Circle Sky" (one of Nesmith's best compositions), Jeff Barry's "She Hangs Out," and Neil Diamond's "Love to Love"; "How Insensitive," Nesmith's imaginative country rearrangement of an Antonio Carlos Jobim (!) standard; and "Merry Go Round" and "Zor and Zam," insanely experimental outings for a teeny bopper group. Thrown into the mix are novelties like commercials and an Italian version of the Monkees' theme: icing the cake with an inconsistency that makes the nearby presence of a CD remote button a necessity. ~ Richie Unterberger

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