Earlier today, Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues issued their third studio effort, Relax Your Mind, as a digital download via CD Baby. (A physical compact disc release is coming shortly.) The album was inspired by American folk and blues musician Lead Belly, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
Peter's brother, Nick Thorkelson, features as a guest on Relax Your Mind, playing piano while also providing lead vocals on "He Never Said a Mumblin' Word" and "On a Monday." Thorkelson also composed "A Better World," a bonus track originally featured on the exclusive f.y.e. CD of The Monkees' 2016 album, Good Times!
Peter has released three other albums under the Shoe Suede Blues banner: Saved By The Blues (2003), Cambria Hotel (2007), and Step By Step (2013).
Below are Peter's liner notes as posted on CD Baby, where you can preview and download the album:
Huddie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly, (or Lead Belly as his family prefers to spell the name), was a singer-guitarist of unusual power and authenticity. His legendary adventures and his collection of field hollers, chain gang songs, blues, children's ditties, and, yes, pop songs, brought him eventually to live and perform in and around New York City among a crowd of folk singers and minstrels of various stripes, including Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, Josh White, and, maybe most notably, Woody Guthrie.
My brother Nick and I grew up with Lead Belly records, and these songs have been a part of our musical lives and inspiration for us since we were in our early teens. When we get together, whether family gatherings or performances, we still play Lead Belly songs.
I dived into the Lead Belly archives this year picking out favorites for a tribute CD with Shoe Suede Blues, and we even got to include Nick for a day during our recording. That's him, in case you couldn't tell, singing “On a Monday” and “He Never Said a Mumblin' Word,” and on keys throughout; any piano and organ you hear is him.
As I worked on the demos for the songs, I paid a lot of attention to the rhythm. So in some cases songs of hardship, heartbreak, mayhem, and death are pretty upbeat. Incidentally, on one of Lead Belly’s standards, “Irene,” we think we’ve done something original. None of the band members had heard, or even heard of, reggae in three quarter time.
I'm sorry I couldn't include more Lead Belly songs. There are so many he wrote or collected and arranged, and so many stories he could tell, that there will never be a satisfactory short collection. He was a giant in the folk and blues world.
The latest release from 7a Records, Micky Dolenz & The Metropole Orchestra: Out of Nowhere, is now available on both compact disc and as a limited edition 180 gram vinyl picture disc. 7a co-founders Iain Lee and Glenn Gretlund recently posted audio samples on SoundCloud.
On April 15, 2017, Micky performed with the American Metropole Orchestra at Rice Auditorium in Salem, Oregon, as part of the Smith Fine Arts Series. The orchestra was led by conductor Keller Coker, and he was assisted by Wayne Avers (Monkees/Dolenz musical director and guitarist). The show was recorded by 7a in order to preserve this unique performance and commemorate it with a special live album release.
And now, thanks (as always) to Ben Belmares, you can take a look at the LP version of Out of Nowhere below. Thanks, Ben!
Now available from Friday Music is Headquarters: Stack-O-Tracks on 180 gram clear vinyl. The LP features the instrumental backing tracks for each song from The Monkees' third album.
Thank you very much to Ben Belmares for providing scans of his copy that arrived today.
The LP and CD editions of Michael Nesmith At the BBC Paris Theatre are now available from 7a Records. Remember that the vinyl picture disc is limited to 500 copies, so don't wait to order! A big thanks, as always, to Ben Belmares for providing the scans of the picture disc LP below to the Live Almanac.
Monkee Flips was a 1984 singles and rarities compilation album issued by Rhino Records. Labeled as the "Best of The Monkees, Volume Four," it followed the two Arista compilations (released in 1976 and 1982, respectively) and Rhino's 1982 Monkee Business picture disc. Monkee Flips was available in both LP and cassette formats, and was one of the first Monkees albums I owned. It was reisused in 1986 during The Monkees' 20th Anniversary.
Thank you very much to Ben Belmares who provided the scans seen below.
This afternoon I'm featuring two albums that I purchased as a brand new Monkees fan after watching the Pleasant Valley Sunday MTV marathon in February 1986. Monkee Business and Monkee Flips were the earliest Monkees-related releases on Rhino Records. I've profiled both albums previously on the blog, but thanks to Ben Belmares, I can post upgraded scans of each LP. Let's take a look at Monkee Business first.
Monkee Business was a singles and rarities compilation issued by Rhino Records in 1982 as a picture disc, and the first Monkees collection on the Rhino label. A cassette version was also made available.
The album was reissued in 1986 during The Monkees' blockbuster 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour. The second pressing contained a mono mix of "Someday Man" with studio chatter at the beginning, which wasn't heard on the 1982 edition. (This chatter can now be heard on CD via the Instant Replay deluxe edition). Copies from 1986 can be identified by "RE-1" in the runoff groove. The first and second pressings also featured other variations.
Thanks again to Ben Belmares for the great scans!
7a Records co-founder Iain Lee has delivered the scoop to The Monkees Live Almanac regarding their first ever Michael Nesmith-related release!
Michael Nesmith at the BBC Paris Theatre will be issued as a limited edition 12" vinyl picture disc and as a CD digipak. The compact disc version will be accompanied by a 12-page booklet that includes a rare 1975 interview with Michael, an essay by Iain, and an interview with Dave Pegg from the Fairport Convention, who played with Nez in the past.
Recorded in London on November 27, 1975, the concert had been tucked away in the archives of the BBC until 7a licensed the master tapes, which have been digitally remastered. Nesmith has approved its release, too. The album features Nez performing alone with his guitar, singing First National Band-era songs along with cuts from his then upcoming LP, The Prison. Here is the complete track listing:
Silver Moon (5:11)
Some of Shelly's Blues (4:18)
Dance Between the Raindrops (8:35)
Marie's Theme (7:10)
Closing Theme (Lampost) (4:51)
At The BBC Theatre will arrive on September 15, 2017 in the United Kingdom and a week later in the United States. Pre-order links are available below.
A big thank you to Iain and his partner at 7a, Glenn Gretlund, for sharing these details with the Live Almanac. Don't forget to follow 7a Records on Facebook and Twitter. You can read more about 7a's past releases in the archives of The Monkees Live Almanac.
As always, Ben Belmares delivers with scans of the vinyl edition for the newly issued Summer of Love collection. Thanks, Ben!
Originally advertised as being pressed on "red & white splatter vinyl," note that the sticker of the official release denotes the color scheme as "pink & green splatter."
As previously reported, Summer of Love, advertised as a collection highlighting the psychedelic side of The Monkees, will be released on July 18, 2017. It will be available on both Red/White Splatter Vinyl and Compact Disc. Rhino Records issued an official press release to announce the compilation.
Here's the track listing for the LP and CD, both of which are slated (at least initially) to be a brick & mortar retail exclusive:
Reaction to the Summer of Love compilation from the Monkees fan community has been mixed, with a sizable portion taking issue with certain songs ("She" and "Saturday's Child," in particular) being selected to represent the group's "psychedelic" output in lieu of other options, such as "Daily Nightly," "The Door Into Summer," "Do I Have To Do This All Over Again," "Auntie's Municipal Court," etc. Rhino's John Hughes commented on Facebook about the track listing:
"This [the Summer of Love compilation] was meant to satisfy a few different masters - a marketing focus on 1967 specifically, leaning towards the psychedelic side to make it somewhat unique from other comps,
but it had to have enough 'familiar' songs for the casual fan. We did our best."
On this day in 1967, The Monkees' third album, Headquarters, was released. Read more about this landmark Monkees LP in the Live Almanac's archives.
Rhino Records celebrated the release of Michael Nesmith's book, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, with a compact disc that highlights Michael's musical career. Videoranch also issued a vinyl LP in conjunction with the book. A big thanks to Ben Belmares who provided scans of his copy of the vinyl album!
On March 3, Friday Music issued a limited edition (gold) vinyl version of the soundtrack to The Monkees' 1968 feature film, Head, entitled Head Alternate. This release features alternate versions of songs that appeared on the original soundtrack, such as "Can You Dig It" with a lead vocal by Peter Tork, a remixed "Daddy’s Song" with the slow verse sung by Davy Jones as seen in the movie, alternate stereo mixes of "Porpoise Song," "As We Go Along," and "Circle Sky," and a rough mix acetate of "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again." All of these alternate versions have been previously available on various CD releases by Rhino Records.
Once again, Ben Belmares delivers for The Monkees Live Almanac with his scans of this new release. Thanks, Ben!!
Live at The Palais was released by Michael's company Pacific Arts in August 1978. Recorded in Melbourne at the Palais Theatre during a brief tour of Australia in 1977, the set reunites Nez with First National Band drummer John Ware. Notably, some of the songs on Live at The Palais featured new arrangements in comparison to their studio counterparts.
Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork performed at the Palais this past December during a stop on The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour.
The LP cover features a photo of Nez with his Black Gibson Les Paul custom guitar. This is the same guitar he played when The Monkees recorded "Pleasant Valley Sunday" in 1967, producing the classic riff that became the cornerstone of the song. The guitar was also seen on 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee during The Monkees' performance of "Listen to the Band," and again in 1969 when Micky, Davy, and Michael performed live on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. Nez was last seen using the Les Paul with The Monkees at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in 1986.
Live at the Palais can be downloaded on iTunes or at Videoranch.
A big thanks to Ben Belmares who supplied the scans seen below:
These are the actual album covers in its unused, pristine state, before it was pasted onto the cardboard LP jacket
Thanks to Scott Nelson for the heads-up!
PRE-ORDER: HEAD-ALTERNATE (180 Gram Audiophile Translucent Gold Vinyl/Limited Anniversary Edition/ Gold Foil Cover)
A live recording of a Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart show, Concert in Japan (recorded on July 20, 1976 at Yubin Chokin Hall in Tokyo, Japan), was released as a vinyl LP set in Japan in 1981. At the time, the live album was never given a formal release in the United States or elsewhere. A big thanks to Ben Belmares for sharing his photos of the original Japanese LP:
Concert in Japan was finally issued on compact disc in the United States in 1996 during The Monkees' 30th Anniversary, featuring liner notes by Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval. Once again, Ben Belmares was kind enough to save me the time of scanning my copy of the CD and provided everything below:
Here's one from 1986 and The Monkees' 20th Anniversary, courtesy of the great website Monkee45s.net.