Archive for May 9th, 2013
The Monkees’ eighth album, The Monkees Present, was a grab bag unlike any other previously produced by the group. By October 1969, The Monkees was off the air and remaining Monkees Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith were soldiering on for their second album without Peter Tork. February’s Instant Replay, the first sans Tork, had managed a respectable showing at No. 32 on the pop chart, but in the post-Head days, hit singles were far from guaranteed for the group. Yet the somewhat fraught atmosphere led the band to pursue their most adventurously creative visions yet. Following deluxe box set editions of The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees, Head, and Instant Replay, Rhino Handmade has unveiled latest next box in its definitive Monkees series: a 3-CD celebration of The Monkees Present. This new box set, due in late July, coincides with the band’s upcoming tour, the second in a row for Micky, Peter and Mike following a well-received 2012 jaunt.
As Rhino puts it in the press release, The Monkees Present “is one of the group’s most varied, from the iconic single ‘Listen To The Band,’ to Micky’s anti-war anthem ‘Mommy And Daddy,’ Davy’s lush ‘French Song,’ and Michael’s Nashville-tinged barn-burner, ‘Good Clean Fun.’” Indeed, The Monkees Present found the three Monkees taking their music in various directions, but unlike the (delightful) hodgepodge of Instant Replay, The Monkees Present almost entirely consisted of new compositions. Dolenz and Nesmith were becoming more confident songwriters, with Nesmith offering the triumphant “Listen to the Band,” which he would later re-record with his First National Band. Nesmith also wrote the countrified “Good Clean Fun” and the ballad “Never Tell a Woman Yes,” and brought a song by Michael Martin Murphey to the table (“Oklahoma Backroom Dancer”). Dolenz contributed three songs, including a couple in a jazz bag, and Jones even co-wrote “If I Knew” with Bill Chadwick. Invoking simpler days for the band, two Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart “oldies” appeared with “Ladies Aid Society” and “Looking for the Good Times.” Dolenz and Jones shared vocals on the latter.
After the jump: more details, including the full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »
Outside of horror circles, the 1971 film Willard – about a misfit with an affinity for rats – is best known for its 1972 sequel, Ben, which featured an oddly sweet, wildly successful theme song sung by Michael Jackson (his first solo No. 1 hit). The films themselves were considerably less cuddly, a point driven home by a 2003 remake of Willard. The titular loner, stuck with an overbearing mother and money-hungry boss, was played by Crispin Glover in the film. It was perfect casting for the quirky actor/musician, who in fact covered Jackson’s “Ben” for the film.
Throughout the suspenseful adaptation of Willard was a great score by Shirley Walker, whose work on the animated adaptations of Batman earned her critical acclaim, including a Daytime Emmy. Willard was one of Walker’s last scores before her untimely passing in 2006, and its belated CD release (limited to 3,000 units) is sure to be a hit with her fans. (Alas, Glover’s “Ben” was not available to license for this disc.)
La-La Land also offers up a new edition of Bandolero!, a James Stewart-Dean Martin Western scored by Jerry Goldsmith with his usual flair for such action-packed genres. It’s not the first release – Intrada released first an unused album mix on CD in 1993, and paired it with the complete score in 2004 some weeks after Goldsmith’s passing – but it’s back in print for new audiences to discover, and features one new bonus track in the form of the main title cue, sans whistle. Remastered by Mike Matessino, who co-produced with Nick Redman, Bandolero! is limited to 2,000 copies.
Order links and track lists for the new titles are after the jump. (LLL also has corrected copies of Goldsmith’s score to The Challenge back in stock this week.)
Between 1967 and 2009, San Francisco’s Blue Cheer spread its metallic gospel of hard riffs and heavy psychedelia around the world. Though the band only had two Hot 100 singles (No. 14 “Summertime Blues” and No. 92 “Just a Little Bit,” both in 1968), its influence was mighty in the evolution of the metal genre. The band called it a day for the final time, though, in 2009, following the death of original member Dickie Peterson. On the band’s website, Andrew “Duck” MacDonald wrote, “Blue Cheer is done. Out of respect for Dickie, Blue Cheer [will] never become a viable touring band again.” On May 28, though, fans can savor the final incarnation of the pioneering band thanks to Rainman’s release of Blue Cheer Rocks Europe. This 2-CD set chronicles Blue Cheer’s complete April 11, 2008 performance for Germany’s Rockpalast television show from the group’s final tour.
That last tour featured the lineup of Peterson (bass/vocals), McDonald (guitar) and Paul Whaley (drums). Despite a lineup that evolved over the years, all three were veterans of the band. Blue Cheer was formed in 1967 by Peterson, Eric Albronda and Leigh Stephens, but before the year was out, Albronda departed the band for a management/production role, and Paul Whaley took his place. (In those crucial early months, the band also briefly functioned as a six-piece unit, but quickly adopted the power trio format.) Blue Cheer, reportedly so named for an Owsley-favored LSD, made an immediate splash when the first song on its first album Vincebus Eruptum, became a hit record. That amped-up cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” would be the band’s calling card, and the album also peaked at a not-unimpressive No. 11. Sophomore LP Outsideinside also yielded a minor hit with Peterson’s own “Just a Little Bit,” but Blue Cheer was experiencing backstage upheaval. For 1969’s third studio effort, the group was billed as New! Improved! Blue Cheer, with Randy Holden taking the place of Leigh Stephens. It would be Holden’s only recording with the band; by 1970’s eponymous set, Blue Cheer had morphed into a four-piece with only Dickie Peterson remaining from the original lineup. Even the four-piece line-up was fluid, and by 1972, Blue Cheer was no more. 1971’s Oh! Pleasant Hope was its final studio release until 1984.
After the jump: we pick up the story and look at the new live release! Read the rest of this entry »