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The Monkees Present - Micky, David & Michael

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Album Review

The Monkees Present was initially planned as a double LP with each member of the group taking a side for himself. When Peter Tork left the band, the idea was scrapped, but the idea of every Monkee for themselves wasn’t. Apart from the two Boyce and Hart songs that were rescued from earlier sessions from 1966 (and probably should have stayed in the can), all the songs were recorded in late 1968 and 1969 by Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, and Mickey Dolenz separately. While it could have made for a scattered LP that made no sense musically, instead Nesmith’s intricate country-rock, Jones’ jazzy, showy ballads, and Dolenz’ alternately crazed and intimate songs managed to fit together quite well. It helped that each member was operating near the peak of their skills. Nesmith’s "Listen to the Band" is a slight song but a brilliant sonic experiment, and "Good Clean Fun" rollicks like the best country music should. Jones’ "If I Knew" is sweeter than lemonade with extra sugar, and "French Song" shows off his impressive skills as a theatrical balladeer to great effect. Dolenz seems to be operating on some kind of insane plane of existence as he croons through the manic "Little Girl" like he’s barely holding on, howls through the pounding "Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye" like a manic pixie, channels his inner Nilsson on "Pillow Time," and basically loses it on the quite intense "Mommy and Daddy." Both musically and lyrically, he takes some real chances on these tracks: something he’d never do again. The level of commitment and craft the members invested in the album was impressive considering they had lost their TV show and really had no reason to exist anymore. Soon after the album’s release, Nesmith quit the group to make his own excellent solo albums, while Jones and Dolenz were left to carry on. As a last gasp though, The Monkees Present is better than it could have been, and a solid note for the band as a creative unit to go out on.[The 1994 Rhino reissue adds a demo of Nesmith’s "Calico Girlfriend" (done samba style), a spoken word effort by Jones, a hilariously square radio promo, and enlightening alternate versions of "Listen to the Band" (with expanded instrumental sections) and "Mommy and Daddy" (with different lyrics that were far too chilling to unleash on any lingering pre-teen fans the band may have accidentally still had).]

Customer Reviews

Listen to the Band

The Monkees Present is an album that showcases the individual styles of the three remaining Monkees, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and David Jones. (Peter Tork had left the band in early 1969.) Long ago abandoning the early pop sounds of "I'm A Believer" on their classic third album, Headquarters, this album continues in that direction, as the Monkees sound more mature, grown-up and dare say it, serious. Take one listen to the alternate version of the Dolenz-penned "Mommy and Daddy" and remind yourself that this is in fact the Monkees you have playing on your iPod or stereo. Or how about Nesmith's clever testimonial to the Monkees, "Listen to the Band," with its lyrics foreshadowing his imminent departure from the band ("Weren't they good they made me happy/I think I can make it alone"). Only Jones fails to exceed expectations, turning in the pretty but shallow "If I Knew" and "French Song." His "Looking For the Good Times" is pure Monkees pop, however, and the harmonies provided by Dolenz still sound fresh today. Other gems include Dolenz' underrated "Little Girl" and Nesmith's country ditty "Good Clean Fun," one of the two singles culled from this album in 1969. Download: Little Girl Good Clean Fun Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye Looking for the Good Times Listen to the Band (the first version clocking in at 2:43...this was the single version) Mommy and Daddy (the alternate version clocking in at 2:08) Avoid: Never Tell a Woman Yes Ladies Aid Society (the worst Monkees song, period) The Good Earth (it's just a poem recited by Jones)

Better than the TV Show Tie-Ins!

Those of you remebering the pre-fab four from TV might only remember "Listen to the Band", but the rest of this album rivals Headquarters for content and creativity. Though Peter Tork is missing from the line-up, each one of these original songs (plus the Bonus Tracks) are shockingly well produced even by Monkee standards. None of the albums released during the original run of the TV show can touch this beauty! Released shortly after the TV series was cancelled, this rare album is a keeper, especially if you have an original Colgems 1969 pressing.

Essential Tracks Here

Listen To The Band (Nesmith) / Good Clean Fun (Nesmith) / Mommy And Daddy (Dolenz) / Looking For The Good Times (Boyce-Hart)
Pillow Time (Scott-Willis) / If I Knew (Jones-Chadwick) / Oklahoma Backroom Dancer (Murphy)


Formed: 1965 in Hollywood, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '10s

"Hey hey, we are the Monkees/You know we love to please/A manufactured image/With no philosophies." In 1968, the Monkees addressed their own reputation in the song "Ditty Diego (War Chant)," which summed up the bad rap they'd received in the music press since they first emerged in the summer of 1966. The Monkees were talented singers, musicians, and songwriters who made a handful of the finest pop singles of their day (as well as a few first-rate albums) and delivered exciting, entertaining live...
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