Friday, June 30, 2006

Papa Nez

The liner notes to this tribute begin: "As much as anyone who ever drew breath on earth Robert Michael Nesmith is responsible for country rock. As much as Gram Parsons, as much as Gene Clark or the Lovin' Spoonful or Elvis on Sun Records, the Youngbloods, Chris Hillman, Rubber Soul, the Downliners Sect or anyone or anything." I don't intend to argue about that, but having skirted one controversy, let me say this: I like the Monkees alot more than the Beatles.

Nesmith himself is an interesting chap beside music and something of an unsung figure. I've got some of his solo work but not the stuff that really makes him a contender in the Father of Country Rocks stakes, another one for my to-do list. Details of this CD (from 1994) "A Loose Salute To Michael Nesmith" are on the Dren Records site and although many of the links no longer seem to work there are plenty of names to explore. I had really only heard of Last Train Home and Sid Griffin (producer of the recent Parsons doco Fallen Angel, he also wrote the notes quoted above) but there are some others who spark interest. The songs range from straight out honky tonk (Last Train Home's Good Clean Fun) through to the countryfied psychadelic and the pop (Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde, 'Here I Am.") Even the songs that aren't my usual thing fit in rather seamlessly and the whole listening experience gets a big thumbs up. I don't know how easy it is to get, probably not very. I got mine when it showed up on eBay.

A few stand outs for following up:

The Rust Kings call themselves Appalachian Stompgrass, which sounds rowdy but they do some really beautiful slower numbers, which you can hear here. Noice!

Meredith Ochs
and her band the Damn Lovelys ("'70s left-coast-flavored twang-pop") does the Monkees' song Listen to the Band.

Buddy Woodward and the Nitro Express open the CD in appropriate 60's pop with banjo fashion. Not content to simpply cover Mike on a tribute CD, he also wanted to play him on TV. Music here also very much worth checking out.

The website for Sixty Acres at the Dren site is a dead end, this is the best I can do. Listenable guitary alt.twang.

Frog Holler's acoustic stylings on Different Drum is promising as is is the rest of their music, here.

Sid Griffin
, well, just go check out the website. Recently of the Coal Porters.

There are some more, but I need a few hours sleep before Germany-Argentina!

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