Archive for May 17th, 2013
The recently-announced, and hotly-anticipated, Rhino Handmade box set of The Monkees Present isn’t the only one of the band’s albums on the reissue docket. Following last year’s similar edition of 1987’s Pool It!, Friday Music will, on May 28, reissue The Monkees’ 1996 reunion album Justus in a CD/DVD package combining the original 12-track CD with a DVD of the original Rhino Home Video tie-in program.
Justus marked the first studio album to feature all four Monkees – Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith – since 1968’s Head soundtrack. It also celebrated a landmark anniversary of the band’s very first album. The Monkees first turned up in shops on October 10, 1966; Justus arrived on October 15, 1996, a little more than thirty years later. Unlike that debut album, however, Justus was entirely the work of the four Monkees. Not only was the group credited as producer, but Dolenz played drums, Tork handled bass and keyboards, Jones contributed percussion, and Nesmith wielded guitars for the album. In addition, every song was written by one of the four Monkees. In many respects, Justus was a belated sequel to 1967’s Headquarters, the first album over which the band exerted musical control of its own destiny.
Although Justus marked the return of “Papa Nez” into the fold, Mike only contributed one original song – the quirky “Admiral Mike,” sung by Micky. He took his only lead vocal on the album with the opening track, a rocking rewrite/remake of “Circle Sky” from Head. But his backing vocals were heard throughout. Generally, each Monkee sang lead on the songs he wrote. Dolenz was responsible for the most songs, writing and singing lead on “Never Enough,” “Unlucky Stars,” “Dyin’ of a Broken Heart,” “Regional Girl” and “It’s My Life.” He and Jones co-wrote “You and I,” first performed with the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart unit on that group’s 1976 Capitol LP. (A song of the same name also appeared on The Monkees’ Instant Replay.) Here, it was transformed into a true Monkees track, with Tork and Nesmith both playing on it. Jones wrote and sang “Oh, What a Night” and the album-closing ballad “It’s Not Too Late.” And Peter Tork took the reins for “I Believe You,” also writing “Run Away from Life” for Jones to sing. Recorded in Hollywood between June and August 1996, Justus was a true group effort.
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Omnivore Recordings is going back to Bakersfield. Building on the success of such projects as Honky Tonk Man: Buck Sings Country Classics, Don Rich Sings George Jones, Buck Owens Live at the White House, Buck Sings Eagles, and (this author’s personal favorite!) the Buck Owens Coloring Book and Flexi Disc, Omnivore is mining the rich, rough-and-tumble country-and-western legacy of that California town for two new releases due on July 23.
Buck Owens’ iconic band The Buckaroos are celebrated with The Buckaroos Play Buck and Merle, in which they pay tribute to the two Bakersfield heroes they knew so well, Messrs. Owens and Haggard. This disc brings together the band’s The Buck Owens Songbook (1965) and The Songs of Merle Haggard (1971) on one CD. It will be joined by Don Rich and the Buckaroos’ 1971 album That Fiddlin’ Man in its very first ever appearance on compact disc.
Buck Owens’ guitarist and all-around right-hand man Don Rich often made room in the set for one of his many specialties: the fiddle. On tunes like “Orange Blossom Special,” Rich proved his virtuosity on the instrument, and in 1971, Capitol Records collected ten fiddlin’ tracks from the Buckaroos’ catalogue as That Fiddlin’ Man. Though a few tracks have appeared on CD before, Omnivore is reissuing the album in its original sequence for the very first time, complete with the groovy psychedelic cover artwork! In the spirit of the original release, the label has added another ten tracks of The Buckaroos, Don Rich, and his fiddle, making for a definitive survey of his style. In total, the new compact disc presents 20 tracks drawn from 13 different albums recorded between 1963 and 1970. The expanded edition of That Fiddlin’ Man includes a full-color booklet with new liner notes, photos and information on the source of each track. It should prove a fine companion to Don Rich Sings George Jones, the recently-excavated solo album that spotlights his underrated work as a vocalist. Rich’s life ended too soon when he perished in a motorcycle accident in 1974 at 32 years of age, but his music has proven in the timeless tradition of truly classic country.
Hit the jump to sing along with The Buckaroos!