Title: Take a Giant Step
Artist: The Monkees
Album: The Monkees
"Last Train to Clarksville" was the big hit in 1966 for the "Pre-Fab Four" known as The Monkees, but I'm more intrigued by this Gerry Coffin & Carole King-penned follow-up single which shows a bit more originality and won't be measured (fairly, I think) against The Beatles' "Paperback Writer."
Of course, The Monkees were never meant to be taken seriously, having been formed solely for the purpose of starring in the eponymous American television series that aimed to capitalize on the success of Beatle-mania. But The Monkees are actually pretty talented as individuals and Micky Dolenz has a really distinctive voice with a husky tone quality unlike anyone else of the time. The fact that Dolenz was positioned behind the drumkit for most of the series (despite not having ever played them before) probably accounts for the fact that Davey Jones is most often thought of as the band's leader and primary singer. But it was Dolenz who was responsible for the lead vocals on "I'm a Believer," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," and the two tracks mentioned in this post.
"Take a Giant Step" has a really pleasant combination of keyboard colors (harpsichord, organ and celesta) and some very effective three-part vocal harmony. I really like the pauses and dynamic changes which give the song more dimension than your typical Monkees tune. The solo section doesn't quite achieve the sense of psychedelia it is aiming for perhaps but I'm sure it sounded good accompanying whatever hijinks were unfolding on the small screen. :)
See, I was right!