And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’. Michael Nesmith titled his 1972 RCA album ironically – when it “bubbled under” the Billboard 200 at No. 208, it actually bested its predecessor by three slots – but the LP did feature the former and future Monkee’s rendition of one major favorite, “Different Drum.” The 1965 tune became an enduring hit for the Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt in 1967, establishing Nesmith outside of The Monkees. Since 1968, he’s released 16 albums. Now, 12 of them – every album from 1970-1994 including the compilation The Newer Stuff – are being collected on a deluxe new box set from Demon Music Group’s Edsel label. The 12-CD box Songs, due on March 29, brings together Nesmith’s complete RCA and Pacific Arts output for the very first time.
Songs begins with 1970’s Magnetic South, the first album credited to Michael Nesmith and The First National Band and the first solo album of his post-Monkees career. (1968’s The Wichita Train Whistle Sings was issued on the Dot label and isn’t included in this collection.) A collection of pioneering country-rock tunes with a hazy, psychedelic flavor, the LP yielded the band’s first of three hits, “Joanne” (No. 21 Pop). Nesmith, pedal steel great Red Rhodes, drummer John Ware, and bassist John London recorded two more albums together: Loose Salute (featuring the hit “Silver Moon”) and Nevada Fighter. 1971’s Tantamount to Treason Vol. 1 introduced The Second National Band, with Rhodes the only holdover from the first line-up. The next year’s And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’ (spotlighting early Nez tunes from the Monkees period and even earlier) featured only Nesmith and Rhodes, while 1973’s Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash ended Nesmith’s tenure with RCA.
As of 1974’s The Prison, Nesmith’s albums would arrive on his own Pacific Arts label. The Prison was part of an ambitious audiovisual project, intended for listening while reading a novella written by the songwriter. Though recording would become less frequent for the innovative artist, Nesmith would continue to push the envelope with his future albums, sometimes in tandem with video or prose projects. 1977’s From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing notably introduced the fan-favorite single “Rio,” for a which a music video was produced. The video would prove instrumental in the forming of MTV. 1989’s The Newer Stuff premiered eight previously unreleased tracks (recorded in 1980) along with previously issued cuts; only the eight “new” tracks are included on Edsel’s reissue. 1992’s …Tropical Campfires… reunited Nez with Red Rhodes for the ninth and final time. The box set concludes with 1994’s The Garden, a belated thematic and stylistic sequel to The Prison.
Songs is housed in a slipcase, with each album presented in a mini-LP sleeve. The accompanying 32-page booklet includes all of the original liner notes and credits, as well as brand-new liner notes from Monkees aficionado, broadcaster, and 7a Records co-founder Iain Lee. The four bonus tracks appended to past reissues of this material have been reprised (non-LP B-side “Rose City Chimes” on Magnetic South; the instrumental “First National Dance” on Loose Salute; and “Cantata and Fugue in C&W” and “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette” on Tantamount to Treason Vol. 1).
Look for Michael Nesmith’s Songs, filled with richly evocative country-rock and memorable, often experimental pop on March 29 from Edsel. You’ll find pre-order links below!
Includes the following albums:
- Magnetic South (1970) – Michael Nesmith & The First National Band (plus bonus track)
- Loose Salute (1970) – Michael Nesmith & The First National Band (plus bonus track)
- Nevada Fighter (1971) – Michael Nesmith & The First National Band
- Tantamount to Treason Vol. 1 (1972) – Michael Nesmith & The Second National Band (plus bonus tracks)
- And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’ (1972)
- Pretty Much Just Your Standard Ranch Stash (1973)
- The Prison (1974)
- From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing (1977)
- Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma (1979)
- The Newer Stuff (1989)
- …Tropical Campfires… (1992)
- The Garden (1994)