The Monkees want to wish you a Merry Christmas, 1967
12.25.2013
07:50 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Christmas
Monkees


 
The Monkees singing a beautiful a capella version of the traditional Spanish Christmas carol, “Ríu, Chíu,” from their TV Christmas special in 1967.

And no, that’s not a joint that Peter Tork is holding, it’s a stick of incense.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Monkee Mike Nesmith is one of the great underrated musical geniuses of our time
12.04.2013
12:57 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Monkees
Michael Nesmith


 
As longtime DM readers know, my Monkees fandom is not casual. It runs pretty deep. So it came as quite a surprise to me to find out that not only was there a box set of their 1969 Instant Replay album, it came out a long time ago. There’s even been a subsequent box set and I hadn’t heard of that one, either. I’m also friends with Andrew Sandoval, the ace producer behind all the amazing and lovingly compiled Monkees’ releases. How this slipped past me is a mystery, but thanks to Jason Elzy at Rhino, I have now been enlightened (which is to say fab Jason sent me one recently).

I could go on about what a great package the Instant Replay box is—it’s quite good as these things go with a clear plastic “window” overlay on the front of the box which is the same size as a 45rpm record (two are included in the set), three CDs with TONS of unreleased Monkees material and Andrew Sandoval’s always superb liner notes—but what I want to concentrate on is what a goddamned musical genius Michael Nesmith is!

It pains me, just pains me, to consider how little credit this guy gets as a musician and songwriter—I’m sure it doesn’t bother him that much, he’s an extremely wealthy man, accomplished in many fields, but I’m upset for Papa Nez, goddamnit!

If you know how the Monkees records were made, Headquarters aside, it usually wasn’t so much of a “group” effort as it was Micky or Davy singing on a track produced by the finest musical talents in Hollywood (usually the Wrecking Crew) and written by the likes of Boyce & Hart, Goffin and King, Neil Diamond, etc. or Mike Nesmith working on his own stuff (often with the very same musicians his fellow Monkees worked with—”Sweet Young Thing” was written by Nesmith, Gerry Goffin and Carole King—but he was much more hands-on with his recording sessions. Generally speaking, that’s what happened, and Nesmith’s more countryfied contribution to the Monkees’ overall gestalt, I’d argue, can stand alone, and be evaluated apart from the Monkees context.

In other words, what would an overall career box set retrospective of Nesmith’s work look like? (Note to Papa Nez, if you are reading this: Hire Andrew to do this for you!) It would be pretty amazing, I’d wager and would do a lot of the work towards establishing Nesmith’s rightful place in the 60/70s Laurel Canyon/country rock pantheon, something critically denied to him because, of course, he was on a kids show. MOJO readers would eat it up.

This Instant Replay box set is absolutely bursting at the seams with little-known or previously unheard gems, including the majority of Nesmith’s sessions recorded at RCA Studios in Nashville in 1968. As pointed out in the liner notes, Nesmith, the group’s most prolific member had quite a stack of incredible unused songs, but why they were never chosen for release at the time is baffling. In terms of the country rock hybrid sound, Nesmith—clearly—was a visionary of the form. He can be credited as much as ANYONE—including The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, even CSNY—with inventing the sound. Mike Nesmith was doing country rock dating to 1966’s “Papa Gene’s Blues” on the first Monkees album. Give the man a lil’ credit where some visionary credit is definitely due!

Here’s a sampling of the Nesmith songs heard on the Instant Replay box (might not necessarily be the exact version, everything isn’t on YouTube):

“St. Matthew”: This one kills me. My favorite song at the moment. I listened to this on repeat for most of last week:

“I Won’t Be The Same Without Her”:

“Some of Shelly’s Blues”:

“Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun to Care)”:

“The Crippled Lion”:

“If I Ever Get to Saginaw Again”:

“Carlisle Wheeling”:

“Hollywood”:

 
The gorgeous “Nine Times Blue” on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969:

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
When Neil Young met The Monkees and completely tore the roof off the sucker…
12.02.2013
11:46 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Neil Young
Monkees
Davy Jones


 
Although the story about Stephen Stills auditioning for the Monkees is apparently at least somewhat apocryphal—Stills says that he only wanted to sell the group’s management some of his songs—he did play guitar on one Monkee’s song, the Head soundtrack’s “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?

Stills longtime musical partner Neil Young, however, was a Monkee himself—well, so to speak—for four numbers.

Young plays guitar on Head‘s gorgeous “As We Go Along” and he also played on a few tracks recorded by Davy Jones in a session produced just days after he left The Buffalo Springfield: The lovely, but slight “Smile”; a backing track for the never completed “That’s What It’s Like Loving You” and the simply incredible “You And I,” which appeared on the underrated Instant Replay album in 1969.

This features some of the best, most blistering Neil Young guitar work like… ever. Such a great pop song. Why was this not a massive, massive hit?
 

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
An elegy for Davy Jones: Carole King’s demo for ‘Porpoise Song’
03.01.2012
08:32 am

Topics:
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Monkees
Carole King
Davy Jones

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In light of the unexpected passing of Monkee Davy Jones, here’s Carole King’s original demo for Head’s “Porpoise Song” (co-written by Gerry Goffin). The Gregorian chant thing she’s got going here (it’s the Mass of the Dead, remember this was the song playing during Micky Dolenz’s “suicidal” jump off the bridge in the beginning of the film) seems like a fitting thing to post in Jones’ honor.

Sound quality is what it is, but no matter, this is still pretty amazing. Listen LOUD!
 

 
Thank you Simon Wells!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Monkee Davy Jones dead at 66 of heart attack
02.29.2012
10:11 am

Topics:

Tags:
Monkees
Davy Jones


 
Sad to hear that Monkee Davy Jones has passed away, as was just posted by TMZ:

An official from the medical examiner’s office for Martin County, Florida confirmed with TMZ they received a call from Martin Memorial Hospital informing them that Jones had passed away.

Jones is survived by his wife Jessica and 4 daughters from previous marriages. He was 66-years-old.

It’ll be a Monkees kinda day here at DM headquarters…

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Entire Monkees series re-released in two new DVD box sets
Head: The Monkees’ ‘Ulysses of a Hip New Hollywood’
The Monkees on ‘The Johnny Cash Show’
The Monkees’ FBI File
The First National Band: Michael Nesmith’s criminally overlooked post-Monkees country rock classics
After the Monkees gave us ‘Head,’ there was ‘33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee’

Below, Jones sings Nilsson’s “Daddy’s Song” in Head and dances with famed choreographer Toni Basil.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Entire Monkees series re-released in two new DVD box sets
09.28.2011
04:46 pm

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Monkees
Andrew Sandoval


 
Since Dangerous Minds is a safe haven for Monkees fanatics—Monkees producer and historian Andrew Sandoval is the guest on the DM talkshow this week— I would be remiss in my duties if I did not inform you fine people that all 58 of the original Monkees episodes have been re-released this week on DVD by Eagle Rock Entertainment and Rhino. This is the first time in nearly a decade that the entire series has been available. The old Rhino box sets were selling for obnoxious amounts of money. 

These two new box sets are fairly no-frills affairs, but they’re priced pretty low, so no complaints there. Aside from every weekly episode of the series, there is the 16mm pilot episode, select audio commentaries, and the Monkees’ Saturday morning TV commercials for Kelloggs. The picture quality is pretty okay, but from time to time you’ll see a stray hair or dust. Audio-wise, the supposed 5.1 surround track is a complete waste of time and the stereo option isn’t all that much better (I recommend just making it mono). It’s really a shame that they didn’t go back and do new transfers and proper audio upgrades (the content here, menus and all, mirrors the old Rhino releases). Then again, if you’d like to own the entire series, now you can, and the price is right for these new tri-fold box sets (both with liner notes from Andrew Sandoval).

Of special interest for Monkees fans is the chance to see the ill-fated final Monkees TV special featuring all four original Monkees. 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was Peter Tork’s final outing with the group until 1986. Musical guests on that show included Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Little Richard, and The Buddy Miles Express.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Carole King’s ‘Porpoise Song’ demo
Head: The Monkees’ ‘Ulysses of a Hip New Hollywood’
The Monkees on ‘The Johnny Cash Show’
The Monkees’ FBI File
The First National Band: Michael Nesmith’s criminally overlooked post-Monkees country rock classics
After the Monkees gave us ‘Head,’ there was ‘33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee’

Below, the “Making the Monkees” documentary from the Smithsonian Channel:
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Monkee Business with Andrew Sandoval
09.20.2011
12:14 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Monkees
Andrew Sandoval

 
Record producer, historian, DJ, musician and sonic archaeologist Andrew Sandoval—who has worked with The Kinks, The Zombies, Elvis Costello, Love and many others, as well as producing the Grammy-nominated Where the Action Is! box set—discusses his work with the Monkees reissues, the amazing new Criterion version of Head and the future of the box set and the reissues market. Andrew’s radio show is “Come to the Sunshine” on Luxuria Music.
 

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Dangerous Minds Radio Hour Episode 18

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Another solo DJ excursion from Richard Metzger, spinning tunes from the Monkees, Lydia Lunch, Hawkwind, Mick Farren, Ru Paul, Liam Lynch, Big Daddy Kane, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Lene Lovich, Blur vs. The Pet Shop Boys, Eels, Jeff Beck, the Dandy Warhols, Super Furry Animals, obscure 70s glam rocker Brett Smiley and more.

01. Monkees: Tema Di Monkees
02. Monkees: PO Box 9847 (alt stereo mix)
03. Malvina Reynolds: Little Boxes
04. Lene Lovich: Lucky Number
05. Lydia Lunch: Carnival Fatman
06. Hawkwind: Silver Machine
07. Mick Farren: Aztec Calendar
08. The Tomorrow People: Delia Derbyshire, Dudley Simpson, Brian Hodgson & David Vorhaus
09. PJ Proby: You Can’t Come Home Again If You Leave Me Now
10. Blur vs Pet Shop Boys: Boys & Girls
11. Ru Paul: Ping Ting Ting
12. Liam Lynch: My United States of Whatever
13. Monkees: Zilch
14. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Mister Bobalina
15. Big Daddy Kane: Warm It Up Kane
16. Jeff Beck: Hi Ho Silver Lining
17. Brett Smiley: Va Va Va Voom
18. Eels: That’s Not Really Funny
19. The Dandy Warhols: Bohemian Like You
20. Super Furry Animals: The Man Don’t Give A Fuck
 

 
Download this week’s episode
 
Subscribe to the Dangerous Minds Radio Hour podcast at iTunes

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion