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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

O' Canada! (Canada Loves The Monkees, The Monkees Love Canada)

In 1967, as The Monkees were seeking to have more involvement in the records released under their name, their golden-eared musical supervisor Don Kirshner tried to retain and consolidate his authority by issuing a new Monkees single, "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"/"She Hangs Out," without the knowledge of The Monkees themselves, nor of their producers.  The single was only issued in Canada, immediately withdrawn, and the whole mess led to Kirshner's immediate dismissal from The Monkees' machine.

Well, Canada loomed large in The Monkees' legend yet again this week, as a Canadian radio outlet streamed The Monkees' new album Good Times! in its entirety, a week before its May 27th release date.  Only three tracks from this album have been made available for public consumption so far; the Canadian stream was the first opportunity for Monkees fans to hear the whole album.  Er...provided said Monkees fans happened to be in Canada at the time.

Tragically, many of us do not live in Canada.  (My kingdom for a Tragically Hip reference, since that would link to both the Canadian band and to Michael Nesmith, whose Elephant Parts inspired that band's name.)  But we do all live in a global village, connected by this series of tubes we call the Internets.  With international contacts, hands across the border, eyes and ears in every corner of the globe (and every curb of the cube), even some luckless Americans have been able to hear Good Times! start and end, without Dollar One to spend.

Good Times! is a fantastic album.

That's about all you're gettin' outta me for now.  Blogger Andrew Hickey's review reveals that he's undecided about the album:  is it The Monkees' best album since Head in 1968, or is it The Monkees' best album, period?  All I can add is that it's been well worth the wait and the anticipation, and I can't wait to play it in public once the US blackout lifts next week.  Good times?  Yes.  Oh yes.  O' Canada!