Even before the May 13 reissue of Michael Nesmith's And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' arrives from 7a Records, the Monkees-focused label has announced a second 50th anniversary reissue from the late singer-songwriter. On June 3, 7a will reissue 1972's Tantamount to Treason Volume One on vinyl and in an expanded edition on CD.
Tantamount to Treason Volume One was actually Nesmith's first album of 1972, preceding Hits by roughly six months. The LP was the first and only one credited to Michael Nesmith and The Second National Band following the dissolution of his First National Band. Joining him in this loose band was his longtime collaborator and FNB member Orville "Red" Rhodes on pedal steel as well as Michael Cohen (keyboard/synthesizer), Johnny Meeks (bass), Jack Ranelli (drums), and Jose Feliciano (congas).
As Nesmith had done previously on Nevada Fighter, he sequenced the album as one side of original songs and one of covers. His four psychedelically-tinged originals ranged from atypically heavy ("Mama Rocker") to trippily mellow ("Lazy Lady") and hypnotic ("In the Afternoon," "You Are My One"). Side Two's covers were eclectic, ranging from the George Jones chestnut "She Thinks I Still Care" to Pee Wee King's "Bonaparte's Retreat," a No. 4 hit for Kay Starr in 1950 that was successfully revived as a top five country entry for Glen Campbell in 1974. "Talking to the Wall" was penned by Nez's old friend Bill Chadwick (author of numerous songs for the Monkees such as "Zor and Zam" and "If I Knew"); Nez had produced Chadwick's own rendition for a 1969 Dot single. Richard Stekol's "Wax Minute" became a fan favorite and found its way into Nesmith setlists decades later. Michael Cohen's "Highway 99" was melded to a sonic "Melange" while the main body of the song featured a delectably wry vocal from bandleader Nesmith and impressive turns for the SNB.
Though Tantamount to Treason Volume Two never materialized, Legacy Recordings' 2018 digital expanded edition premiered a mini-Volume Two in the form of five outtakes. All five received their physical premiere from Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music on 2021's Different Drum: The Lost RCA Victor Recordings and now debut on vinyl (and are reprised on CD) with 7a's upcoming edition. These encompass reworkings of beloved Monkees classics penned by Nez ("Circle Sky," "Listen to the Band"), Earl Green and Carl Montgomery's truckin' tune "Six Days on the Road," the spontaneous jam "Tan My Hide," and an alternate instrumental track of the album's "You Are My One" with a brisker tempo and bossa nova feel.
7a's remastered Tantamount to Treason Volume One is adorned with a new painting by the original album's cover artist Wilson McLean, depicting an older Nesmith surrounded by colorful new imagery. The CD comes with a 32-page booklet, including liner notes, previously unpublished photos, and lyrics. The vinyl version is pressed on 180-gram aqua splatter vinyl and includes four of the five bonus tracks on Side Two, dropping the alternative "You Are My One."
Look for both the CD and vinyl reissues on June 3 at the links below!
Michael Nesmith, Tantamount to Treason Volume One (RCA Victor LSP-4563, 1972 - reissued 7a Records, 2022)
- Mama Rocker
- Lazy Lady
- You Are My One
- In The Afternoon
- Highway 99 With Melange
- Wax Minute
- Bonaparte's Retreat
- Talking to the Wall
- She Thinks I Still Care
- Six Days on the Road
- Circle Sky
- Listen to the Band (Alternate Version)
- Tan My Hide (Instrumental)
- You Are My One (Instrumental) (*)
(*) bonus track on CD only
Tracks 10-14 first released digitally in 2018, first released on CD on Different Drum: The Lost RCA Victor Recordings, Second Disc Records/Real Gone Music RGM-1044, 2021