In advance of Michael Nesmith's string of concerts with his reconstituted First National Band, Andrew Sandoval has been sharing some wonderful essays about Michael's RCA albums through his Instagram account. They appear in full below, and be sure to click on the album covers for a look around each LP.
“Row upon row of man after man. Let this music be their music” – original liner notes to Magnetic South, 1970
In his solo debut as a recording artist, Michael Nesmith broke new ground with his new band, the First National Band. Taped at RCA’s Hollywood Studios in February 1970 directly after his departure from The Monkees, the album thematically opens Nesmith’s American trilogy of blue, red and white albums (with a trademark needle point sleeve designed by Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean). Magentic South brims with songs Nesmith stockpiled during The Monkees’ heyday. Five of the album’s songs had previously been taped in versions for The Monkees – “Calico Girlfriend,” “Nine Times Blue,” “Little Red Rider,” “The Crippled Lion,” and “Hollywood” – while “The Keys To The Car,” “Mama Nantucket,” and the Top 40 hit single, “Joanne,” reflected Nesmith’s most recent songcraft. Covers of “One Rose” and “Beyond The Blue Horizon” topped off this spirited and infectious long player.
As Nesmith reflected in the original liner notes for Magnetic South: “When Johnny Ware, now the drummer of the First National Band, first suggested I start a band my reaction was distant and a little negative. But he continued to talk and through the conversation I sensed some of the same spirit of the men who so profoundly influenced me. So, two days later Red Rhodes [pedal steel], John London [bass], Johnny and myself got together for a trial run and it all seemed to fall into place. Effortlessly and freely the music poured forth. And it was fun. Great fun. We played and sang and laughed for two weeks.” Issued in July 1970, Magnetic South was the first of two albums issued by The First National Band that year to critical accolades: "The music feels so good that you can just tell the musicians were smiling when they recorded it" - The San Diego Underground.
Michael Nesmith’s sophomore solo release, Loose Salute, continues along the country-rock road, rocking even harder in places than the First National debut, while adding a tinge of Latin rhythm. Taped from April through July of 1970, the album catches Nesmith in transition from honky-tonk hitmaker to studio born perfectionist. Side two of the album continues what was later tagged as the “saga of the Old West” that runs through the second half of all three First National Band long players.
Featuring ten songs, Nesmith revisits “Listen To The Band” and “Conversations” (originally titled “Carlisle Wheeling”) from his days in The Monkees, and explores proto-outlaw attitude on tracks like “Bye, Bye, Bye” and “Dedicated Friend.” His remarkable voice truly shines on the transcendent “Lady Of The Valley” and the unexpected “Tengo Amore.” Meanwhile, the album opens with his second hit single, “Silver Moon,” a winning and upbeat follow-up to “Joanne.” The song was actually a late addition to the album, being recorded in September specifically for the singles market. It ultimately found favor in both the Pop and Easy Listening charts.
Featuring guest musician Glen D. Hardin on “side” piano, Loose Salute is notably the first fully-produced album by Michael Nesmith since his 1968 experimental instrumental project on Dot, The Wichita Train Whistle Sings. Released in October 1970, hot on the heels of Magentic South, it drew a rave review from Rolling Stone (who called it, “…one of the hippest country rock albums in some time, certainly the most listenable”).
The final installment in Michael Nesmith’s American Trilogy, Nevada Fighter, chronicles not only our great nation, but the fragmentation of his First National Band. Recorded from August 1970 through January of 1971, the album augments the original band’s line-up (Red Rhodes, John London & John Ware – who had disbanded before release) with guest musicians such as James Burton, Ron Tutt, Joe Osborn & Glen D. Hardin (all Elvis Presley alums). Packaged in a sleeve designed by Dean Torrence, the album opens with the brooding “Grand Ennui” and revisits one of Nesmith’s earliest compositions, “Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun To Care).” This track was penned back in 1965 prior to Nesmith becoming a Monkee, and ultimately produced Nesmith’s fourth and final post-Monkees chart hit (issued in October 1971). The album’s title track, “Nevada Fighter,” was also a charting single in April 1971, reaching #70.
The album’s first side is all Nesmith originals, while side two features all cover songs that Michael made his own. These included Harry Nilsson’s “Rainmaker,” Bob Wills’ “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and Derek & The Dominoes’ “I Looked Away.” “Texas Morning,” a true standout, was penned by Michael Martin Murphey and Owen Castleman, who previously endowed Nesmith with the classic “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?” for The Monkees (when they were in a group featuring First National Band bassist, John London, The Lewis And Clarke Expedition). Despite a rave review in Record World (“His albums, always beautifully produced, just get better and better”) and two charting 45’s, Nevada Fighter (issued in May 1971) quickly faded with no band to tour behind the release. The First National Band were no more.
“The master of reverberation, sound effects & good humor strikes again. On Volume 1 (of another trilogy?) the Second National Band brings it all together.” – Billboard review of Tantamount To Treason
Issued in Jan ‘72 (and recorded during the back half of ’71), Michael Nesmith presents The Second National Band’s only long player: Tantamount To Treason, Vol. 1. An epic production that neatly bookends its predecessor, Nevada Fighter, it once again pairs a side of Nesmith originals with a contrasting side of covers.
Nesmith is backed on this “home brew” by the ever-faithful Red Rhodes on pedal steel, the one hold over from the First National Band (other than Papa Nes himself), in addition to Johnny Meeks on bass (of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps), Michael Cohen on keyboards (a friend from Nesmith’s pre-Monkees past), Jack Panelli on drums, and RCA labelmate Jose Feliciano on congas. The results are more joyous than the wasteland of liberty depicted in Wilson McLean’s cover art, but it is once again an ever-changing American landscape on display.
The LP opens with “Mama Rocker,” a thunderous start to an often-languid album of mood music. “You Are My One” is Nesmith’s most succinct lyric, containing only a repetition of the title over a series of mindbending changes. Richard Stekol’s “Wax Minute” is a standout (& fan favorite), the writer having also contributed to country rock innovator Rick Nelson’s Garden Party album in this era. “Talking To The Wall” recalls Nesmith solo production for Bill Chadwick (another pre-Monkees performing partner) on Dot, but reimagines the song for electric 12-string, pedal steel, and Michael Cohen’s Rhodes. Cohen himself contributes to the sound collage/song “Highway 99 with Melange.” Though the LP failed to find a home at FM radio, it has become one of Michael's best-loved cult albums. Many of the faithful have wondered what became of Volume Two? Though several more songs were taped at these sessions, including new versions of “Listen To The Band,” “Circle Sky,” and the Dave Dudley country classic, “Six Days On the Road,” there wouldn't be any seconds for the Second National Band. Indeed, Papa Nes would never have a fixed band (in name) again.
“One of the great advantages of being an artist is that I am able to utilize my craft periodically to write messages to myself. Basically that is what this album is all about.” – Michael Nesmith in the original liner notes to And The Hits Just Keep On Comin’
Seen plaintively holding a copy of Dee Brown’s 1970 book, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (which chronicled the struggle of Native Americans during frontier times) while surrounded by four women, Nesmith depicts a Felliniesque portrait of his contemporary success in the gatefold spread for And The Hits Just Keep On Comin’. In reality, March 1972 found Nesmith back on the road as a performer albeit with just the accompaniment of Red Rhodes on pedal steel. Still, as his footprint got smaller, his music and message achieved real purity. The singularity and simplicity of his circumstances ultimately created one of Nesmith’s most satisfying works.
Stripped of an overarching concept, what remained was just the singer and his songs. And nowhere were they better showcased than on the ironically titled And The Hits Just Keep On Comin’. Featuring ten Nesmith originals, the most he would offer on any LP until 1979’s Infinite Rider On The Big Dogma, the music served as the truest songbook album that Michael would ever issue (and his first to feature printed lyrics). The earliest numbers – “Two Different Roads” and “Different Drum” (both written pre-Monkees) – had been covered by Mary McCaslin & The Stone Poneys respectively. Songs from the back half of 1971 – “Tomorrow & Me,” “Lady Love,” “Listening,” “Harmony Constant,” and “Roll With The Flow” – could be the philosophical messages to himself, that Nesmith hints at in the liner notes. However, there is something of a tongue in cheek edge to the entire package. Papa Nes' quip, “I did it for me,” could in fact be the voice of the character he portrays on the gatefold. Certainly, the front cover view of a mansion with a rented Mercedes convertible juxtaposes the real sensitivity contained in his compositions.
A song from 1972, the eerie “Candidate,” is a political commentary in the Nixon era. While it sounds more like his work on Tantamount To Treason, it carries Hits through line of direct messaging. Ultimately, RCA pulled two newer songs – “Roll With The Flow” and “Keep On” – as a single in August 1972 to accompany the release of the album. “RCA has been really good to me,” he told John Griffin in the Forest Park Review after a March 1972 performance. “I’ve put out four, no five albums, none of which have been commercial successes and RCA has stuck with me all the time. I’m talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Nevertheless, Nesmith and his label had indeed found by year's end that the “hits” had ebbed. In July 1972 it was announced that Nesmith had formed a new union with Elektra Records to produce other artists and form his first label, Countryside. His three-year odyssey with RCA would play out on one more album in 1973.
“This is my sixth album since the whole Monkees trip went down, and I think I’m beginning to finally understand that it doesn’t make any difference at all….Once the superstructure is built, it’s very difficult to get past it into substance.” Recorded over four days in 1973, Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash marked the end of Michael’s obligations to RCA. The joy that was his escape from The Monkees in 1970 and into the First National Band dispelled into the harder realities of standing on his own in the shadow of his past. Michael’s liner notes to the album reveal that it was music, rather than logic, that kept him in the game.
Ably backed by a solid combo featuring the ever-faithful Red Rhodes, Nesmith delivers a solid, albeit succinct, eight songs as his fade out from the Big Victor. Songs like “Continuing” and “Release” speak to his ongoing efforts to transcend without significant public support. As the Stanford Daily wrote quite seriously in their review of the album, “It’s about time we forgave him for his past mistakes and crimes against rock music.” The balance of the Stash was a perfect blend of covers and Nesmith originals like “Some Of Shelley’s Blues” (which itself had been successfully covered by the Stone Poneys and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). Cindy Walker’s “Born To Love You” (a hit for Jimmy Newman in 1968) is brought down to earth in Nesmith’s rendition (when compared with the original). While “Prairie Lullaby” revives a 1932 recording by “the singing breakman,” Jimmie Rodgers. Nes also reimagines the bluegrass legend Bill Monroe’s “Uncle Pen” in a unique conceptual medley with “The F.F.V.” (or Fast Flying Virginian). A rare collaboration with writers Linda Hargrove and James Miner produced, “Winonah.” Michael would also write one of his most popular songs, “I’ve Never Loved Anyone,” with Linda Hargrove. Though he would never record it, it became a hit in 1975 for Lynn Anderson, reaching #14 on the Country charts. Instead, Nesmith’s focus during this period turned to producing artists for his newly minted Countryside label (his subliminal message on the cover - “BUY THIS RECORD” – notwithstanding).
Nesmith told Billboard that his goal was to “…learn to run a record company from [Elektra founder] Jac Holzman.” Michael put forth a model of making albums on Countryside with a house band (in a house provided by Elektra) for just $5k. “I’ve really become a habitué of the beer-bar and bowling alley circuit in L.A. and Orange County. And I’ve found there’s some excellent talent working these places because they can’t get jobs.” Ultimately, only two albums – Pure Country by Garland Frady & Velvet Hammer In A Cowboy Band by Red Rhodes – and six singles made it out before another kingpin, David Geffen, called time on the project post merging his Asylum label with Elektra. In 1974, Nesmith would in turn form his own independent label, Pacific Arts, and release The Prison, a book with a soundtrack.
Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement of the More Of The Monkees super deluxe edition by Rhino Records, Michael Nesmith has unveiled his first concert engagements for 2018 with a brand new lineup of The First National Band.
The First National Band was Nesmith's initial post-Monkees outfit that consisted of Red Rhodes, John London, and John Ware. The group released three acclaimed albums between 1970 and 1971, but their live performance history was fairly limited. Sadly, both Rhodes and London have passed away. The 2018 edition of the First National Band will consist of Christian Nesmith (guitar), Jonathan Nesmith (piano/guitar/vocals), Circe Link (vocals), Christopher Allis (drums), Jason Chesney (bass), Amy Spear (vocals), and Pete Finney (pedal steel).
In January, for two dates in California, Nesmith will bring the music of The First National Band back to the live arena with a series of shows focused on his early 1970s RCA recordings, including a concert on January 25th at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, where he debuted the First National Band in March 1970. A press release on Monkees.com reported the following: "Songs like 'Different Drum' (a Top 20 hit for Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys), 'Listen to the Band' (re-recorded by the FNB in 1970), 'Some of Shelly’s Blues' (covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and 'Silver Moon' will join lesser-known but equally transcendent album sides in a rebirth of what was labeled by critics as 'the greatest music that you never heard.'" It is expected that dates will be added nationwide.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval confirmed on Twitter that he will be involved in these concerts, and that he hopes live recordings will become a reality. "For me personally, this is the music of Michael's that I always come back to - revelatory, heartfelt and transcendent," Sandoval wrote on Facebook. "The albums - Magnetic South, Loose Salute, Nevada Fighter, Hits Keeps Coming, Ranch Stash & Tantamount - are brimming with brilliance. Those of you who have followed his story know that 'Papa Nes' became Nez, and went in new directions after this phase of his solo career. For these shows he will at long last call back to these records with full-blown country-rock backing and I am so excited to hear the results." Sandoval also noted on Facebook that John Ware is contemplating a cameo appearance.
Tickets for the California shows will go on sale on Friday:
January 23, 2018: The Coach House / San Juan Capistrano, California
January 25, 2018: The Troubadour / West Hollywood, California
Here is the full press release about the new activities surrounding the First National Band, courtesy of Monkees.com:
Almost fifty years ago, in May 1968, Michael Nesmith ventured to Nashville to record a series of groundbreaking sessions with local musicians. What they produced is now recognized as the foundation of the country-rock and alt-country movements.
"I could just feel this happening, that there was this 'thing,'" recalled Nez. "So, I headed off to Nashville to see if I couldn't get some of the Nashville country thing into the rock'n'roll or vice versa."
Nez's intuition was correct; he was on the leading edge of a new genre. His exploratory work caught the attention of legendary RCA A&R man Felton Jarvis who had produced the Nashville sessions with Nez. In February 1970, Jarvis signed Nez and his new band, the First National Band (pedal steel virtuoso Red Rhodes, bassist John London, and drummer John Ware), to a deal with the venerable imprint and produced their first record, Magnetic South.
Despite the eight innovative country-rock LP's Nesmith created between 1970 and 1978, he is one of the less heralded architects of the genre. The First National Band's three classic albums -- Magnetic South, Loose Salute, and Nevada Fighter -- spawned four charting singles, including "Joanne" which reached #21 on the Billboard Top 100. However, live success for the fledgling band was harder to come by and the musicians Nez collected to bring his country-rock dream to market soon scattered. Nez played out his remaining RCA albums with Red Rhodes and toured with him throughout the '70s. Yet the full-blown sounds of the First National Band were never to be heard on the concert stage again.
In January 2018, Michael Nesmith will bring this music back to the live arena with a series of shows focused on his RCA recordings, including a show on January 25th at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, where he debuted the First National Band in March 1970. Songs like "Different Drum" (a Top 20 hit for Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys), "Listen to the Band", "Some of Shelly's Blues" (covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and "Silver Moon" will join lesser-known but equally transcendent album sides in a rebirth of what was labeled by critics as "the greatest music that you never heard."
UPDATE 11/8/2017: Michael's Videoranch3D website has taken a moment to look back at the First National Band:
The Original Band
"[John] Ware wisely pointed out that if he and John [London] were my band, we could not only record but could tour in support of the records we made, something the Nashville first-call session guys seldom did for a new band. We would be a real band rather than a pure studio effort. ... [John] wondered who I might like to approach, and my first choice was Red Rhodes. I had no hope of him accepting, but he was my first choice. A pedal steel guitar player -- especially a magical-reality player like Red -- was critical-path for the music in my head."
-Michael Nesmith, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff
Pedal Steel Guitar
Nez first came across Red at The Palomino Club, a popular country western spot in North Hollywood, where Red was in the house band. Red played with Nez throughout the 1970s. It is impossible to imagine Nez's music without Red's playing. Red's final performances before his death were with Nez on his ...tropical campfires... album and tour in 1992.
John began working with Nez as a duo before they left San Antonio for Hollywood in the mid-60s. After joining The Survivors with Nez, he was Nez's stand-in on The Monkees. He met John Ware while working as a bass player for Linda Ronstadt.
Prior to joining the First National Band, John attended Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and met John London while playing in Linda Ronstadt's touring band. Years after the First National Band dissolved, he joined Nez for Live at the Palais, recorded at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne, Australia, in 1977.
UPDATE 11/21/2017: The concert at the Troubadour in Hollywood sold out in less than an hour, and as of November 21, there are no longer tickets available for the performance at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.
After much anticipation, Rhino Records has unveiled details surrounding the release of the super deluxe edition box set commemorating The Monkees' second album, More Of The Monkees. Pre-orders for this 3-CD collection, produced by Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval and available on December 15, 2017, begin today at Monkees.com. (UPDATE 12/9/2017: Rhino is now showing a release date of December 22, 2017. UPDATE #2 on 12/18/2017: Rhino has alerted customers that the set will now ship on December 29, 2017. UPDATE #3 on 12/22/2017: Despite the previously announced setback in the release date, emails from The Monkees Webstore are now providing shipping notification and a tracking number for the More Of The Monkees super deluxe edition.)
Limited to 4,500 numbered copies and boasting 91 tracks (55 of them previously unreleased), including the original mono and stereo mixes, alternate takes, backing tracks, and remixes, the set also contains highlights from The Monkees' January 21, 1967 concert at Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona. "This is the most exciting archival dig through The Monkees' vault since 2009's The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees deluxe edition," Sandoval told Monkees.com. "Every track is newly mastered for this set; the live material is the most historically significant of their career." (Sandoval confirmed on Facebook that the Phoenix live material has vocals and is in stereo.) A special 7" vinyl single, "I'm A Believer" (remix) / "(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” (vocals only), will also be included.
Here is the first look at the hardbound 7"x7" box:
And a big thank you to Rhino's John Hughes for sharing these exclusive photos of the packaging with the Live Almanac:
Over the last seven years, many of the classic Monkees albums have been afforded lavish treatment by Rhino's specialty Handmade division, beginning with The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees in 2010. A box for Head arrived later that year (both now sold-out), and Instant Replay (2011) and The Monkees Present (2013) followed. Due to the success of those projects, Rhino Handmade went back to the beginning of The Monkees' catalog, issuing The Monkees in 2014 (which is currently unavailable).
Originally released on January 10, 1967, More Of The Monkees became the biggest selling Monkees album (certified quintuple platinum by the RIAA) and was the longest to stay at #1 on the Billboard chart (an incredible 18 weeks). It contains the group's most successful single, "I'm a Believer," which spent 7 weeks at #1 throughout late 1966 and early 1967, along with songs that have long been associated with The Monkees ("Mary, Mary" and "Steppin' Stone," a Top 20 hit, to name two). The remainder of its tracks include selections that have been staples in the group's live show for decades, and it features contributions from songwriters like Michael Nesmith, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Jack Keller & Diane Hildebrand, and Neil Diamond. But the album also has a well-documented backstory that included a power struggle for creative control over The Monkees' music, one that pitted the band against music publisher Don Kirshner.
Kirshner, known as "The Man With the Golden Ear," was brought into the Monkees project in the summer of 1966. Initial rehearsals by The Monkees to play their music on record and as a live act had progressed through the spring of 1966, but deadlines were fast approaching to meet the pending debut of The Monkees television series on NBC in September of that year. The group's grueling schedule of filming, recording, and rehearsing caused Kirshner to streamline the process. He refused to allow The Monkees to play their instruments on record, instead having them provide only vocal work in the studio, and it was Kirshner who selected the songs The Monkees were to perform. Kirshner went on to supervise the first two Monkees singles and albums, a situation that built resentment, particularly on behalf of Michael and Peter.
Legend holds that in early 1967, Micky, Davy, Michael, and Peter discovered that More Of The Monkees had been released without their consultation, and went to a record shop to pick up a copy. Disliking the cover image (featuring The Monkees in J.C. Penney fashions for a cross-promotional effort) along with Kirshner's self-congratulatory liner notes, the stage was now fully set for a showdown between the two camps. An unsettled Michael Nesmith made his unhappiness clear about how The Monkees' music was being created in a January 1967 interview with the Saturday Evening Post, just as the group had started to appear live in concert. "The music had nothing to do with us," he said. "It was totally dishonest. Do you know how debilitating it is to sit up and have to duplicate somebody else's records?"
The Monkees quickly joined forces in the ensuing battle against Kirshner. During a tense meeting with the band and Kirshner in a Beverly Hills hotel room that same month, the situation between the two sides escalated. "The incident when Mike Nesmith put his fist through the wall at the Beverly Hills Hotel is very vivid and near and dear to my heart," Kirshner told Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval years later. "I had flown out to the Beverly Hills Hotel to give the boys a quarter of a million dollars apiece from some of the royalties on the first album. Mike had given me a lot of heat that he didn't like the records and he didn't like the albums. He wanted to do it his way. It was a little disconcerting to me because every album and single I put out was number one, but he had a right to his opinion." When Nesmith threatened to quit unless The Monkees were given some control over their musical output, Kirshner's attorney proceeded to remind Michael about his contract. Nez responded, by punching his fist through the wall, telling the attorney, "That could’ve been your face." "I was very impressed," Kirshner chuckled, "because I thought the Beverly Hills [Hotel] had pretty strong walls." Kirshner was later sacked and The Monkees soon began recording with a new producer, Chip Douglas, while also providing their own instrumental backing in the studio.
Looking back today, the "controversy" about who played what instrument on the earliest Monkees recordings seems trite as many of the top groups at that time (The Mamas & the Papas, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, etc.) also utilized ace studio musicians (The Wrecking Crew) just like The Monkees. But in 1967, along with the "manufactured" criticisms that had already befallen The Monkees, the infamous "they don't play their own instruments" story line became one that has, to this day, never fully dissipated.
But now, fifty years later and after the dust has settled, Rhino Records and Andrew Sandoval will afford us another opportunity to revisit the blockbuster More Of The Monkees album. Here is the complete track listing for the super deluxe edition, and you can listen to Sandoval go in-depth about the contents of the box on the latest episode of "Zilch."
1. She (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.40
2. When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door) [Remastered] [Mono Mix] 1.48
3. Mary, Mary (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.20
4. Hold On Girl (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.28
5. Your Auntie Grizelda (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.36
6. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone [Remastered] [Mono Mix] 2.34
7. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Remastered] [Mono Mix] 2.16
8. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 1.54
9. The Day We Fall In Love (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.25
10. Sometime In The Morning (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.31
11. Laugh (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.29
12. I'm A Believer (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.49
13. She (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.42
14. When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door) [Stereo Mix] [Remastered] 1.50
15. Mary, Mary (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.19
16. Hold On Girl (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.31
17. Your Auntie Grizelda (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.32
18. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone [Stereo Mix] [Remastered] 2.26
19. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Stereo Mix] [Remastered] 2.18
20. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 1.54
21. The Day We Fall In Love (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.27
22. Sometime In The Morning (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.32
23. Laugh (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.31
24. I'm A Believer (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.49
25. I'll Be Back Up On My Feet (First Recorded Version) [Remastered] 2.38
26. Of You (Mono Mix) [Remastered] 1.58
27. I Don't Think You Know Me (Second Recorded Version - Mono Mix) [Remastered] 2.20
28. Words (First Recorded Version - Mono Mix) 2.51
29. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Mono TV Mix] 2.56
30. Tear Drop City (1966 Mono Mix) [Remastered] 2.18
31. Sometime In The Morning (Alternate Mono Mix) 2.32
32. Valleri (First Recorded Version - Mono TV Mix) [Remastered] 2.32
1. Whatever's Right (Backing Track) 2.32
2. Valleri (First Recorded Version - Backing Track 1 & 2) 3.02
3 . (Theme From) The Monkees [Second Version - Backing Track - Take 1] 1.06
4. Words (First Recorded Version) [Mono TV Mix][Remastered] 2.49
5. She (Mono TV Mix) 2.36
6. I Love You Really (Version One) 0.13
7. I Love You Really (Version Three) 0.13
8. I Love You Really (Version Two) 0.12
9. Ladies Aid Society (Backing Track - Part One - Take 22) 2.40
10. Ladies Aid Society (Backing Track - Part Two - Take 1) 1.19
11. Ladies Aid Society (Original Mono Mix) [Remastered] 3.25
12. Kicking Stones (Backing Track - Take 11) 2.57
13. Kicking Stones (Original Mono Mix) 2.21
14. I Don't Think You Know Me (First Recorded Version - Mike's Vocal - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.21
15. Mr. Webster (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.52
16. Hold On Girl (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.46
17. Through The Looking Glass (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.34
18. Different Drum (TV Version) 0.39
19. Undecided 0.30
20. Sometime In The Morning (Backing Track - Take 1) 2.43
21. Sometime In The Morning (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.30
22. I Don't Think You Know Me (Backing Track - Take 4) 2.22
23. I Don't Think You Know Me (2017 Stereo Mix) 2.24
24. Your Auntie Grizelda (Session Excerpt) 0.54
25. Your Auntie Grizelda (Mono TV Mix) 2.37
26. Hold On Girl (Alternate Backing Track) 2.44
27. Hold On Girl (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.34
28. I'm A Believer (Backing Track - Take 4) 3.17
29. I'm A Believer (Alternate Vocal Take - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.41
30. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Backing Track - Take 3] 2.10
31. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Unedited Version - 2017 Stereo Remix] 2.55
32. Mary, Mary (Vocal Overdub Session) 11.04
1. (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love [2017 Stereo Remix] 3.18
2. Tear Drop City (Original Speed - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.22
3. Looking For The Good Times (Backing Track with Backing Vocals) 2.04
4. I'll Spend My Life With You (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.32
5. Apples, Peaches, Bananas And Pears (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.18
6. Don't Listen To Linda (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.29
7. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Mono TV Mix) 2.13
8. Laugh (Mono TV Mix) 2.33
9. The Day We Fall In Love (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.30
10. The Girl I Left Behind Me (Backing Track) 2.34
11. Mary, Mary (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.20
12. Valleri (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.38
13. Words (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.52
14. Your Auntie Grizelda (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.36
15. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow (With Peter's Narration - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.50
16. I Never Thought It Peculiar (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.27
17. Laugh (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.46
18. She's So Far Out, She's In (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.44
19. You Just May Be The One (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.06
20. I Wanna Be Free (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.54
21. Sweet Young Thing (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.25
22. Papa Gene's Blues (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.14
23. I Can't Get Her Off Of My Mind (Live In Arizona, 1967) 3.00
24. Cripple Creek (Live In Arizona, 1967) 3.08
25. You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover (Live In Arizona, 1967) 4.25
26. Gonna Build A Mountain (Live In Arizona, 1967) 3.17
27. I Got A Woman (Live In Arizona, 1967) 6.27
In 1994, Rhino Records began issuing the original Monkees albums on compact disc, digitally remastered with bonus tracks. The Monkees Present was part of the second wave of the campaign, released on November 15, 1994, along with More Of The Monkees and Head. The package featured liner notes written by Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval.
The Monkees Present was originally intended to be a double album with color artwork, but for various reasons that plan was shelved. The '94 CD reissue featured a colorized cover, and a previous blog post examined why the color artwork was ultimately scrapped.
In 2013, The Monkees Present was once again reissued, this time by Rhino Handmade as a 3-CD box set.
On July 18th, 1966 at RCA Hollywood, Michael Nesmith acted as producer during a recording session that resulted in several of my favorite Monkees songs. Beginning at 8pm that evening and working until midnight, Nez was assisted by engineer Hank Cicalo while leading members of the Wrecking Crew (including Glen Campbell) along with his fellow Monkee, Peter Tork, through multiple takes of "I Won't Be The Same Without Her," "Sweet Young Thing," and the first version of "You Just May Be The One."
Andrew Sandoval documented the session in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation, and for this blog post, we'll place the spotlight on Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "I Won't Be The Same Without Her":
Andrew Sandoval talks "50 Summers of Love," potential for a new Monkees album, and more on "Zilch" podcast
UPDATED @ 8pm EST: A great show by Andrew, and be sure to listen to Barry Mann's demo for "Love Is Only Sleeping" (at 5:26), a song The Monkees recorded in 1967, and appearing on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
Thank you very, very much to Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Peter's Facebook Team, and Andrew Sandoval for their continued support of The Monkees Live Almanac. I'm honored. Please visit the homepage to read the generous comments they shared with me about the site!
50 years ago today, The Monkees commenced work on "Pleasant Valley Sunday." Andrew Sandoval documented the June 10, 1967 session at RCA Hollywood, one day after The Monkees' triumphant concert performance at the Hollywood Bowl, in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
Gerry Goffin & Carole King's "Pleasant Valley Sunday" is one of Chip Douglas's most complex productions for The Monkees. Sadly, session tapes will not survive for this landmark date so it is impossible to follow this wonderful creation step-by-step. The basic track is most likely recorded with Chip Douglas and Eddie Hoh forming the rhythm section of bass and drums while Michael and Peter perform on electric guitar and piano. Union documents indicate Micky is also present for this session, and it is quite possible that he contributes some acoustic guitar to the track. Additional guitar overdubs will be recorded tomorrow.
Chip Douglas: "Mike played the lead guitar. That was my riff that I threw in there and taught to Mike. Not many guitar players can play it the right way. ... It's kind of an offshoot of the Beatles song 'I Want To Tell You' but in a different tempo and with different notes.
"I wish I could hear the original demo, because I can't recall if I got a [lyric] line right or not. It's in the bridge, 'creature comfort goals can only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see.' For 'make it hard for me to see,' for some reason I had the impression that I didn't do the right line in there, or changed it possibly. I couldn't understand that line, or something like that. One of those great mysteries.
"I do remember seeing Carole King up at the Screen Gems office from across the room after we did 'Pleasant Valley Sunday.' She kind of gave me this dirty look. I thought, 'Was it that line that I got wrong, perhaps? Or didn't she like the guitar intro?' It was faster, definitely, than the way she had done it. She had a more laidback way of doing stuff."
Michael Nesmith: "I remember that we went after the guitar sound. Everybody was trying to get that great big present guitar sound - Beatle [amplifiers] in the studio, playing really loud trying to get the sound, and it just ended up sounding kind of ... like it does. Kind of wooden. There was a tube-type of limiter/compressor called a UREI 1176, and boy you could really suck stuff out of the track. That was the first time that we really could do it. I think everybody got a little carried away with the 1176 on that record."
On June 11 and 13, 1967, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was treated to overdubs, including backing vocals from all four Monkees.
In a 1982 interview with Bruce Pollack, Peter Tork discussed the blending of Micky and Michael's voices throughout "Pleasant Valley Sunday":
"A notion of mine that I was really pleased with took over at one point, and that was having two guys sing in unison rather than one guy doubling his own voice. So you've got Mike, who was really a hard-nosed character, and Micky, who's a real baby face, and these two voices blended and lent each other qualities. It's not two separate voices singing together, it's really a melding of the two voices. Listening to that record later on was a joy. "
"Pleasant Valley Sunday" was issued as Colgems single #1007 on July 10, 1967, right in the middle of The Monkees' ultra-successful summer tour that year. It was backed with "Words," written for the group by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The single is considered to be one of their most successful (certified Gold just four days after release), and it's worth noting that radio gave attention to both sides. As a result, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" peaked at #3 in Billboard while "Words" topped out at #11. The songs were later featured on The Monkees' fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.