Two songs tackled by Davy Jones during recording sessions for 1969's The Monkees Present went unheard for nearly 44 years until a super deluxe edition of the album arrived from Rhino Handmade in 2013. "Opening Night," written by Davy's friend Charlie Smalls (who had appeared as a guest on The Monkees television series in 1968 and who later went on to become the composer and lyricist of The Wiz), was recorded on May 1, 1969 at RCA Hollywood:
Andrew Sandoval detailed the session for "Opening Night" in his book The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation. Note that Andrew talks about the possibility that members of Sam & The Goodtimers, The Monkees' 1969 touring band, took part in the recording of the song:
"How Can I Tell You," written by Davy and Bill Chadwick, was recorded at the same time as Chadwick's "French Song," a song that was ultimately included on The Monkees Present when it was released on October 11, 1969. The song features Frank Bugbee and Louie Shelton on acoustic guitar, Michael Rubini on piano, Max Bennett on bass, and Hal Blaine on drums. Here's more about the June 27, 1969 session for "How Can I Tell You" from Andrew Sandoval's book:
The Monkees, reduced to a trio after Peter Tork's departure, appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on June 17, 1969 (their visit being taped the previous day). They sang two songs, "Daydream Believer" and "Goin' Down," and were backed by their 1969 touring band, Sam & The Goodtimers. Here's the audio of their performance, courtesy of the Live Almanac's YouTube channel:
Between songs, Carson conducted an interview with The Monkees, a segment that seemingly grew cringeworthy as Micky talked about things like Robitussin cough syrup and holograms. Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval documented the event in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
Videotape of this appearance no longer exists. In the 1960s, NBC infamously erased old programming because tape was expensive, a move that later infuriated Carson after he asked for classic clips for a retrospective show and nothing was available. "No one was doing reruns, there was no home video, there was no cable TV, there was no other outlet," Carson's nephew Jeff Sotzing said in a 2012 interview. "There were only 3 television source outlets; ABC, CBS, NBC, that was it — they didn’t have any place to re-run them." It was after this occurrence that Carson requested that his shows be permanently archived. Sotzing went on to say that less than 1% of Tonight Show material from 1962 to 1972 has been accounted for, and to date, The Monkees' appearance is not part of the small amount of footage from that era to have survived.
Here's a cool find from JD over at Monkee45s. He recently posted a collection of United Kingdom press releases for Monkees albums. Here's one for Instant Replay, and note the mention of Sam & The Goodtimers:
Haven't visited Monkee45s? Take some time to check out JD's website!
This rare clip (courtesy of the Live Almanac's YouTube channel) features The Monkees on radio station KLEO promoting their concert at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita, Kansas on May 10, 1969. They reference their backing band that year, Sam & The Goodtimers.
These photos come from The Monkees Present deluxe edition booklet courtesy of Andrew Sandoval.
This one comes from the Music Box booklet:
You might recognize the photo above - it was cropped to exclude Michael and became the cover of the last original Monkees album, Changes, in 1970.
Here's the audio of the entire 1969 Joey Bishop Show performance with Sam & The Goodtimers. Micky, Mike, and Davy showcase "I'm a Believer," "Someday Man," and "Listen to the Band" during their April 24, 1969 guest appearance.
In late July 1969, The Monkees traveled across the border for several lucrative concert dates in Mexico. On July 27, Micky, Davy, and Mike - with Sam & The Goodtimers - played an afternoon show at a huge stadium near Guadalajara. The show is sparsely attended for a number of reasons, as seen in the photo above. Various shots appearing on the back cover of The Monkees Present album were taken during this performance.
This article was originally published in the April 19, 1969 issue of the Charleston Gazette. Discussed throughout both pieces are the concert at the Civic Center, Sam & The Goodtimers, future plans for The Monkees, and "Michigan Blackhawk" as a B-side?! Thanks to Larry Shockley for the heads-up!
Check out these great photos from a Monkees concert at The Dome in Virginia Beach, Virginia on June 13, 1969. I haven't seen many pictures from this era that show Micky behind the drums. The photo of Michael was most likely taken during his acoustic rendering of "Don't Wait For Me." And you can also see a member of Sam & The Goodtimers, the band that backed The Monkees on tour that year, to the left of Micky below.
In this mid-2000s interview with Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval, Michael discusses Sam & The Goodtimers, The Monkees' 1969 appearances in Mexico and some curious behind the scenes experiences there, the phenomenal success of The Monkees in 1967, and working with Jack Nicholson on the soundtrack for Head. (This podcast was originally available at Monkees.com.)
Thanks to the Rare Monkees YouTube channel, an outtake from the 1997 Monkees documentary featuring Micky Dolenz discussing the 1969 tour, Sam & The Goodtimers, and more has been added to the '69 page here on the site.
I have posted three audio clips from the 1969 concert bootleg tape on the Live Almanac's YouTube Channel. Don't get excited, though, and think this is the long lost holy grail of Monkees recordings. If you haven't heard this tape before, the quality is worse than horrible. You can make out some of the music (along with the hiss, buzzing and dropouts). The tape is the only one from the '69 tour that has surfaced, and it has been floating around the trade circles for years.
I decided to post the clips for the curiosity of it all. The audio is believed to have been recorded in Wichita, Kansas on May 10, 1969 at the Century II Convention Center. There are some better recordings of The Monkees performing with Sam & The Goodtimers (but not many), and they can be found on the 1969 tour page. (You can also hear a rare radio station promo appearance there that features The Monkees promoting the Wichita show.)
I'm a Believer
Pleasant Valley Sunday
A lot of visitors to the site share a very common interest. By far the most visited page at the Live Almanac so far is the 1969 North American Tour.
Now only if tapes would be found so we could hear it.
For what it's worth, Micky Dolenz said in an online interview several years back that the 1969 show was never recorded.
E.C.: Were there dates on the Monkees 1969 tour with Sam & The Goodtimers recorded for a live album and were the Monkees given dubs of it?
Micky Dolenz: No, we never recorded that…I recorded Sam & The Goodtimers as an act, and was trying to sell them to a record company. But we never recorded - I wish we had, it was funny, it was really great having that band, they were a great band.
But in interviews Joe Alterio did in the late '90s with former members of the Goodtimers, they say the exact opposite and that the show was indeed taped. More to come on this item in a future update...