Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith have shared a musical journey together since 1966 when The Monkees first hit the NBC airwaves and the group’s chart-topping debut album arrived in stores on the Colgems label. When COVID-19 unexpectedly struck one year ago, Dolenz and Nesmith were preparing to take to the road once again for An Evening with The Monkees; once the virus rendered that impossible, Dolenz got to work on a celebration of his dedicated friend’s classic songs. The result is Dolenz Sings Nesmith, due on May 21 in CD and LP formats from 7a Records.
Does that cover look familiar? For his first studio album since 2012’s Remember, Micky took inspiration from his late friend Harry Nilsson and specifically, 1970’s Nilsson Sings Newman. (Remember was also titled after a Nilsson ballad.) That LP featured Harry’s renditions of songs by Randy Newman, and boasted a cover by Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean. Here, Micky reinterprets a baker’s dozen of Nesmith compositions on vinyl and fourteen on CD. These encompass Monkees-era deep tracks (“Carlisle Wheeling,” “Don’t Wait for Me,” “Nine Times Blue,” “Circle Sky,” “Propinquity,” “Tapioca Tundra”), First and Second National Band cuts (“Little Red Rider,” “Only Bound,” “You Are My One,” “Grand Ennui”), and solo works (“Keep On,” “Marie’s Theme,” “Tomorrow and Me”) as well as what’s arguably Nesmith’s signature composition, “Different Drum.” Written in 1964 and first recorded by The Greenbriar Boys, it became a top 20 hit on the Billboard, Cash Box, and Record World charts in The Stone Poneys’ timeless Linda Ronstadt-led rendition.
Micky confirms in 7a’s press release that “I think I first mentioned it to Nez years ago, I don’t know where the idea came from, maybe from my friend Harry Nilsson and his Nilsson Sings Newman album. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, Dolenz Sings Nesmith’.” The album was produced and arranged by Michael’s son Christian Nesmith and recorded between September 2020 and February 2021. The album is the latest in a long line of Dolenz releases from 7a, including The MGM Singles Collection; An Evening with Peter Noone and Micky Dolenz; the orchestral concert album Out of Nowhere, and Live in Japan. Micky also teamed with Christian Nesmith and Circe Link for a 2016 EP on 7a titled after their re-recording of The Monkees’ dreamy “Porpoise Song.” In late 2019, 7a debuted Nesmith’s Cosmic Partners: The McCabe’s Tapes, the label’s third live release from Nez.
It’s a good time to be a Monkees fan: Dolenz Sings Nesmith joins author Andrew Sandoval’s top-to-bottom upgrade of his definitive tome The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story (available to reserve now through Monday, March 15 at Beatland Books) as well as Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music’s release of Michael Nesmith’s Different Drum: The Lost RCA Victor Recordings.
Dolenz Sings Nesmith extends the musical partnership of the two artists, and gives fans something to enjoy while they wait patiently for The Monkees’ long-anticipated return to the road. It arrives from 7a on May 21, and you’ll find the track listing and pre-order links below. 7a Records recommends that U.S. customers consider ordering from Deep Discount at a substantial savings from the current price at the U.S. Amazon storefront.
- Carlisle Wheeling
- Different Drum
- Don’t Wait for Me
- Keep On
- Marie’s Theme
- Nine Times Blue
- Little Red Rider
- Tomorrow and Me
- Circle Sky
- Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun to Care)
- Tapioca Tundra
- Only Bound
- You Are My One
- Grand Ennui (CD-Only Bonus Track)