Micky Dolenz always attracts a crowd whenever he's performing one of his hits-packed shows. Whether Dolenz is playing a large theatre or an intimate nightclub, the consummate entertainer brings the goods. Now, the Monkees specialists at 7a Records are unveiling a particularly exciting treat: a brand-new live album from Micky, and his first to be recorded with an orchestra. Micky Dolenz & The American Metropole Orchestra: Out of Nowhere will hit stores on November 17 in the U.K. (and one week later in the U.S.) on compact disc as well as a limited edition picture disc on 180-gram vinyl.
Out of Nowhere follows Dolenz's last live release (2015's A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock & Roll on the Broadway Records label) as well as his past releases on 7a including the label's inaugural release, The MGM Singles Collection, and a number of singles including his first solo 45 in 33 years, "Chance of a Lifetime" b/w "Livin' on Lies." This new live album was recorded with The American Metropole Orchestra on April 15, 2017 at Rice Auditorium in Salem, Oregon. Conductor Keller Coker was joined by Dolenz's musical director Wayne Ayers for this special performance. Note should also be made of the fine background singers who are prominent throughout.
The 13-song setlist focuses almost entirely on Monkees classics, reinvented thanks to the presence of the 30-piece orchestra. The instrumental opener "Lip Sinker" sets the stage for Dolenz's entrance with his old band's debut single and first chart-topper, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart's "Last Train to Clarksville." As anyone who's attended recent Monkees shows, solo performances, or even his recent concerts with Michael Nesmith (set to be repeated next year), Dolenz is in robust voice. The arrangement on "Clarksville" hews closely to the familiar version, with the orchestra making its biggest impression via the powerful brass. The Metropole gets a bigger chance to shine, though, on the enlarged chart for Carole King and Gerry Goffin's "Sometime in the Morning," as the orchestral colors add a widescreen pop sensibility to the beautiful ballad. The duo's "Porpoise Song," in full psychedelic orchestral splendor, is a bold, gorgeously ethereal delight.
Though still heavily guitar-driven, Boyce and Hart's garage rocker "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone" adopts a new feel thanks to the orchestration - so much that one wishes the arrangement was even more radical. For a true taste of the orchestra's powers, an instrumental of The Beatles' "Hey Bulldog" delivers the goods. The artist's sense of humor is showcased on Leiber and Stoller's "D.W. Washburn" (enlivened by some appropriately woozy horns) as well as in the between-song patter, some of which might be familiar to longtime fans. He's clearly energized by The Metropole, however, turning in a lively "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and an affectionate cover of "Since I Fell for You," the 1945 pop standard famously covered by Lenny Welch in 1963, enhanced by a bed of lush strings and a saxophone solo that lends a supper club ambiance despite the large venue.
Dolenz ends with the rip-roaring, 1-2-3 punch of the sing-along "Daydream Believer" (so ideally suited to the strings, woodwinds and horns), a loose, raucous "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and a boisterous "I'm a Believer," leaving the audience - and listeners - clearly ready for more. One hopes that 7a's release will lead to more orchestra engagements for Dolenz. In the meantime, Out of Nowhere will be available on November 17 in the U.K. and November 24 in the U.S. on both CD and a 180-gram vinyl picture disc limited to 500 units. It can be ordered at DeepDiscount.com as well as at the Amazon links below!
- Lip Sinker (Introduction)
- Last Train to Clarksville
- Sometime in the Morning
- D.W. Washburn
- A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
- (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone
- Hey Bulldog (Instrumental)
- Porpoise Song
- Randy Scouse Git
- Since I Fell for You
- Daydream Believer
- Pleasant Valley Sunday
- I'm a Believer