were, of course, assembled more for their acting abilities than any musical ones, and a large percentage of their songs were simply disposable vehicles for a huge marketing machine, but the group eventually developed musical aspirations that yielded some strikingly good pop songs, including the astute "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and the pleasantly psychedelic "Porpoise Song (Theme from Head)," both of which are included on this varied collection. Also here are the Monkees
' first single, "Last Train to Clarkesville," which in retrospect was a pretty good debut (even if they didn't play their own instruments on it), and the finely nuanced "What Am I Doing Hanging Round." There are collections of the Monkees
on the market that are both more succinct and thought out, so there is no particular reason to seek this one out, but it does do a decent job of spotlighting a group that was, in hindsight, no worse than -- and in many cases, better than -- what passed for cool and hip at the close of the 1960s.