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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.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Monkees: Michael Nesmith's farewell



It's been a week since Michael Nesmith joined Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork on stage at The Pantages in Los Angeles for a show that was presumed to be Nesmith's final live appearance as a member of The Monkees. I've been listening to an audience recording of that show, and it looks like Papa Nez did indeed go out on a high note.

I don't currently have any great insight to add to the volume of stuff I've already written about The Monkees, but I was struck by the near-perfect list of songs chosen for the last Micky, Peter, and Michael show. For those who don't frequent Monkees Live Almanac with the insane frequency I do, I want to share those set lists here:

FIRST SET:

Last Train To Clarksville
Papa Gene's Blues
Your Auntie Grizelda
Saturday's Child
She
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
She Makes Me Laugh
The Girl I Knew Somewhere
Sometime In The Morning
Me & Magdalena
Shades Of Gray
Randy Scouse Git
For Pete's Sake
You Bring The Summer
Listen To The Band
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?

SECOND SET:

Mary, Mary
Circle Sky
Porpoise Song (Theme From "Head")
Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?
Words
Sunny Girlfriend
(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
You Just May Be The One
You Told Me
Birth Of An Accidental Hipster
Goin' Down
D. W. Washburn
Tapioca Tundra
Daydream Believer

ENCORE:

Pleasant Valley Sunday
I'm A Believer

What a splendid summation of The Monkees' recorded legacy! The late Davy Jones is in there as well, represented by recordings of his original vocal tracks on "Daydream Believer" and "Shades Of Gray," with the band playing live. Sure. any Monkees fan could come up with a long, long list of songs we'd wish to add (from "Valleri" to "Love Is Only Sleeping" to one or another of the Missing Links tracks recorded in the '60s but unreleased until after CDs were invented). But it's tough to quibble with this list as is, and damned near impossible to top it. And four songs from The Monkees' great 2016 album Good Times! This, my friends, is a good 'n' proper send-off.

It's worth noting that The Monkees are still on tour. Even without Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork have been knockin' em down on this 50th Anniversary Monkees tour, and I wish they'd play Syracuse awready. But this September 16th show? This was special in a way no other show could be. And The Monkees lived up to that show's promise.

Just like they always have. Play, Magic Fingers!