Saturday, August 18, 2012

Can You Dig it?: 15 songs that would be great to hear on the Monkees2012 Tour

Amazingly , the 3 surviving Monkees have announced a 12-date late Fall Tour of the US. This is the first time Michael Nesmith has toured the US with the band since 1969!

I thought it would be fun to examine some possibilities for the setlist. 

Mike told Rolling Stone that they will have a portion of the show that focuses on "Headquarters", the album where the band fought for and won musical control. They played and sang almost all of the parts on that album (producer Chip Douglas played a lot of the bass). 
When they toured in 1967, they played as a quartet, only having the opening act back them for the solo spots each Monkee did. Mike says that they plan to perform the "Headquarters" material as a musical trio, much like they did in 1967, and then have the backing band on for the other part of the set.  Mike also said they want to play some deeper cuts. This is all very exciting news for the real fans of the band. The ones that place the Monkees in as high regard as other pop bands of the era. Michael Nesmith wrote some excellent songs. It will be a thrill to finally hear him perform them live!

Of course the band will play the hits. We will hear "I'm a Believer", "Last Train to Clarksville", "Pleasant Valley Sunday", probably "Stepping Stone", and I expect "Daydream Believer" in some form (possibly a video feed of Davy singing much like the Beach Boys did this summer for Dennis and Carl Wilson features?)

Here are 15 songs I think would be cool to have in the set. I've also listed my "odds" on hearing them (IMO)

1. "Papa Gene's blues"
Even early on the producers of the series and the albums recognized Nesmith's talent and of course Mike had the drive to push for his own music. I believe we will hear this great tune, a great early example of country rock  

ODDS of hearing: Good !

2. "The Kind of Girl I could Love"
  Another rollicking Nesmith country rock tune, would probably sound good in a medley with the previous selection. This one is a maybe...


 ODDS of hearing: FAIR

3."Sweet Young Thing"

A Carole King/Gerry Goffin song sung by Nez on the 1st album. I think there is a good chance we hear this one.

ODDS of hearing" GOOD

4. "You Told Me"

Well this one fits in with the "Headquarters" criteria discussed. The lyric is a bit of a downer. "love &lies" and all, but it's a cool folk rock tune (ala the Byrds).

           ODDS of hearing: FAIR

5. "Sunny Girlfriend"

    Another "Headquarters" tune. Peter often has told the tale of playing an early show in the band's career where they really locked in together on this tune and Davy Jones came up to him smiling and yelled "We're gonna form a group!" meaning "we can do it!" "We can control our musical destiny!". The band obviously has a fondness for it and they did play it on their brief 1997 UK Tour.

             ODDS of hearing: EXCELLENT!

6. "The Girl That I Knew Somewhere"

  Original a b-side (!) Mike generously lets Micky sing his composition. This was the first song they recorded after taking over control of the music from Don Kirshner, the beginning of the "Headquarters" era. Peter Tork is excellent on the harpsicord. the band is fond of it. I know they played it on the 2001 tour.

    ODDS of hearing: GOOD  

7. "You Just May Be the One"
  another great Nesmith song from "Headquarters" and one of my favorite Monkees songs.

 ODDS of hearing: Good

8.   "The Door into Summer"      

 From the "Pieces, Aquarius,  Capricorn & Jones, LTd." album.
I must confess, my heart would soar to hear this one live. What a great vocal from Nesmith.
Doubt that it has ever been done live. I won't get my hopes up...

ODDS of hearing: SLIM 

9. "What am I doing Hangin Round"

Another great NEZ performance. memories of this one being featured in the TV show. Another one that would be a thrill to hear live.

       ODDS of hearing: EVEN

10. "Words"

Kind of a duet between Micky and Peter. They did do this one on the 2011 tour
Might not be cheery enough for the fans expecting "those zany Monkees" 

  ODDS of hearing:EVEN

11."Good Clean Fun"
      Another great Country rock romp from Nesmith. YouTube has footage of the band playing it on the 1987 tour with Peter singing it and playing banjo, so maybe they will revisit it with Mike.

       ODDS of hearing: FAIR      

12."Tapioca Tundra" 
More fun wordplay from Nesmith mixed with some "naughty chords" as George Harrison used to call diminished and augmented chords. This actually made the Top 40 and is another one I would be elated to hear live! Apparently performed on the 1969 tour so I am holding out hope....

  ODDS of hearing:FAIR

13."Listen to the Band"
  This one is a sure thing. It will come near the end and really raise our spirits to another level!

 ODDS of hearing: IT's a SURE THING!

14."Circle Sky"

    a band favorite from "Head" album and movie that both the band and the fans have to seemed have grown more fond of over the years.
This might have been the last song they recorded as a quartet. The band liked playing it so much they re-recorded it for their 1996 reunion album "Just Us"

           ODDS of hearing: ALMOST a SURE THING!

15. "Writing Wrongs"
    An experimental tune that has grown on me over the years. If you've ever seen the video promo for the Beatles "A Day in the Life" you see that Mike Nesmith attended the session where they recorded the orchestra parts. You see him talking with John Lennon. Mike Nesmith kind of  reminded me of John Lennon mixed with Will Rogers. I think that song influenced this one. It also reminds me of the pop art experiments the Beatles did like "What a Shame Mary Jane" and "You Name my Name Look Up the Number". Oddly, in the credits for the album most of the personnel is listed as unknown. I can picture them playing this with Peter on piano and organ, Mike on guitar and Micky on drums. I really don't hear bass on it. Would love hear it live mixed with some cool visuals would be mind blowing!

     ODDS of hearing: SLIM 

of course there are others that stand a good chance of being played: "The Porpoise Song", "Mary, Mary", "Can You Dig It", "Randy Scouse Git" "For Pete's Sake" & maybe even "Auntie's Municipal Court" !     Anyway it's fun to speculate! enjoy the show!

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