eview by Steve Leggett
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart's brand of West Coast sunshine pop made them one of the most successful songwriting teams in the 1960s, and although the duo only managed one big hit as performers, 1967's "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," they almost single-handedly provided the Monkees with most of their hits (including the theme song to their TV show), and wrote hit singles for several other artists and groups, plus wrote the theme songs for the TV soap opera Days of Our Lives and the period-successful teen variety series Where the Action Is, all of which kept the royalty checks rolling in. Boyce & Hart parted ways, both as performers and as a writing team, at the end of the decade (they teamed with ex-Monkees Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones to perform and record for a bit in the mid-'70s as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart) and there really hasn't been a good anthology of their compositions to date. This set comes closer than most to presenting the songwriting craft of the pair, leading off with Boyce & Hart's lone hit as performers, "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," then following with versions of "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" (a hit for Paul Revere & the Raiders and also done by the Monkees, the extra-snotty version here is an earlier one by the Flies); "Last Train to Clarksville" (the Monkees' first big hit -- here it's done by the Standells in a similar arrangement with slightly dirtier-sounding lead guitar); a pair of television themes (Paul Revere & the Raiders' "Action" from the show Where the Action Is and the Monkees' "[Theme From] The Monkees"); and earlier successes like Jay & the Americans' "Come a Little Bit Closer," Little Anthony & the Imperials' "Hurt So Bad," Fats Domino's "Be My Guest," and Chubby Checker's "Lazy Elsie Molly," among others. Again, it's not really the perfect anthology this songwriting duo probably deserves, but the inclusion of rarer versions of some of the big hits is a plus, and at 26 tracks, it's the most complete to date.
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