Boyce & Hart

Albums, Vol. 1

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Italy's Oxford label has a license to the complete A&M Records output of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and assembled their three LPs, various singles, and B-sides on two separate CDs. Vol. 1 is made up of the 1967 albums Test Patterns and I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight together with a couple of jingles and stylistically and historically related demos tied in with the Monkees. The producers have arranged the two albums in reverse chronological order, which is a little odd but understandable. I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight is a more ambitious and accomplished album and, indeed, one of the great overlooked albums of the late '60s. Test Patterns isn't as good a record as its successor, being a little less original and more indebted to the Beatles (among others) in some very obvious ways. The two bodies of song fit together well in any order, however, and the bonus tracks -- a couple of Coca-Cola commercials plus a pair of Tommy Boyce solo sides, plus demos of the "Monkees Theme," "I Wanna Be Free," and "Let's Dance On." The sound on the demos is understandably substandard, but everything else here (all in stereo, which gives the listener some fun moments on "Out and About") is state of the art in terms of clarity and presence, and the annotation is as thorough as the kind of work done by Glenn A. Baker on various Monkees releases.