Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Colgems Upload - The Monkees Present

Eight days late, but worth the wait, is the latest Colgems LP upload of "The Monkees Present."

You can access this LP at

This was a strange time indeed for Colgems and Micky, Peter and Davy. With Peter Tork gone, and with continued obligations to produce music and go on tour, the remaining Monkees did both, although interest continued to wane.

Still regarded as one of the most popular rock groups in the country, the trio tried to blend soul and rock and pop on concert swing, using soulsters Sam and the Goodtimes as backing band.

It didn't work, and they often played to half or two-thirds empty houses.

But they were still ubiquitous on major network TV. If they weren't appearing on the Johnny Cash Show, they were on the Glen Campbell Show, and if they weren't on either of these, they were on Hollywood Squares or Laugh-In.

Reruns of their series was a rousing success on CBS on Saturday morning, so Colgems continued to have the trio churn out product.

"The Monkees Present" was actually the culmination of a project that had festered when Tork was still a band members. Originally, the project was slated to feature two records, and each Monkee would have a side--six songs--to showcase his talent.

When Tork left, that project was left in limbo, but so many tracks had been recorded, that Colgems execs could basically pick and choose exactly what they wanted from Micky, Mike and Davy.

And what they picked was OK.

The album boasted several tracks from each band member, each produced by the band member, and often helped along by another producer.

And like every Monkees album--even the bad ones--there were one or two standouts.

"Listen to the Band" was originally debuted on the Monkees TV special, "33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee," and it appears on this album in a shorter version than on that TV show. It was also a single from this album.

It stands as one of the best of Mike Nesmith's Monkee compositions, even with the canned audience at the end.

Micky's "Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye" and "Mommy and Daddy" sound like the same song to me, but each has its merits. "Mommy and Daddy," in fact, Bubbled Under the Hot 100, and years later we heard the original, which was much more inflammatory than probably Colgems executives wanted to hear, so this is a shorter, nicer version.

Davy is on this album, but I don't think he really added much to the entire affair. His songs, the best of which is "French Song," are boring. After a strong effort on "Instant Replay," he, too, sounds bored here.

And then there is Nesmith's "Good Clean Fun," another charted song which actually was added to one or two episodes of the TV show. Years ago, I called this "pop flop," but I think it has aged well.

Nesmith continued to fill his obligations as a Monkee--including his appearances on TV shows with his bandmates and in print ads for the then unknown "Nerf" ball--but his mind was clearly set on a solo career, and he left the band right after this recording.

Micky and Davy soldiered on, and the mess that ensued will be heard next month.