Live At The Britt Festival
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- As a member of the first-ever manufactured group, Michael Nesmith needs little introduction. Aside from his ground-breaking projects in the field of music video and film production, he has enjoyed a solo career since he left the Monkees that has encompassed many styles of music, but has always been supported by his wonderful songwriting.
- Nesmith had just completed the recording of his comeback album “Tropical Campfires” in the summer of 1992 when he was invited to play at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. Seizing the opportunity to play live with the excellent studio band that he had recruited, Nesmith not only trialled his new songs but also treated the audience to a selection of his own greatest hits.
- The concert features fabulous renditions of “Papa Gene’s Blues” (from the Monkees’ first album), four songs from the “…And The Hits Just Keep On Coming” album (performed with a full band for the first time ever), the chart hits “Joanne”, “Silver Moon” and “Rio”, and “Different Drum”, a hit for Linda Ronstadt and more recently for Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet.
- The booklet features extensive newly-written annotation by Nez himself as well as photos from the concert.
|| ||Two Different Roads|
|| ||Papa Gene's Blues|
|| ||Some Of Shelley's Blues|
|| ||Tomorrow And Me|
|| ||The Upside Of Goodbye|
|| ||Harmony Constant|
|| ||Silver Moon|
|| ||Five-Second Concerts|
|| ||Yellow Butterfly|
|| ||Moon Over The Rio Grande|
|| ||Laugh Kills Lonesome|
|| ||I Am Not That|
|| ||Rising In Love|
|| ||Different Drum|
Uncut, June 2008
“Articulate country pop”
Having taken charge of his career when he formed his Pacific Arts communication company in 1975, Nesmith spent the 1980s focusing on video and film production, funding Repo Man and even trailblazing the concept of MTV. Tropical Campfires saw him return to music after more than a decade with an ambitious, calculated… mix of pop, Caribbean, Latin and country styles. That same year he also recorded a simpler and more pleasing live set, exquisitely underpinned by Red Rhodes’ pedal steel, rounding up his best loved songs across 25 years, The Monkees’ “Papa Gene’s Blues” included.
Trinity Mirror, 04/05/08
Mike Nesmith is the only member of The Monkees to go on to find solo success. In 1992, after recording his Tropical Campfires album, he and his band were invited to appear at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. As well as songs from the album they also perform some earlier material, including my favourite Nesmith compositions Joanne, Silver Moon, Rio and Different Drum.
Retro Music Review, March 08
Edsel’s fourth Nesmith reissue is the 1992 concert album, Live At The Britt Festival. Having just wrapped up recording on Tropical Campfires, Nesmith took his studio band to the festival and gave the crowd an evening they would not soon forget. His comical and self-effacing intro to the latter half of the set, where he plays tunes from the new LP, is priceless. It’s interesting to note that the crowd greets these songs not only with acceptance, but with absolute delight. The band sounds fabulous, on both the Tropical Campfires material and on Nesmith classics such as “Papa Gene’s Blues” and “Different Drum.” In fact, the old songs benefit immensely from a fresh approach. Who knew “Papa Gene’s Blues” could actually be improved upon? John Jorgenson, Red Rhodes, Joe Chemay, John Hobbs, Luis Conte, and Nesmith do indeed improve upon it, bringing the presentation closer to the arrangement heard on Wichita Whistle. The vocal harmonies on the chorus are gorgeous. “Propinquity,” from the 1971 Nevada Fighter LP, is another exquisite love ballad. Nesmith’s words are, as always, deeply felt and true right down to the bone. There is a wonderful contradiction in the melancholy tone of the song, set against a tale of newly discovered romance. “Propinquity” runs just under 6 minutes, and is by no means the longest song on the record. “Juliana” and “Joanne” are both longer, but still, none of these tunes seem to outstay their welcome. Nesmith has a way with long songs, making every moment so important, so enthralling, so heartfelt. The shortest track on this disc, clocking in at under 2 minutes, is something called “5 Second Concerts,” in which Nesmith plays master of ceremonies to pianist John Hobbs, introducing clever little ditties such as “Moonlight And Day Sonata” (Beethoven meets Cole Porter), “Jaws The Knife” (Steven Spielberg meets Bobby Darin), and “There’s No Business Like Star Wars” (Ethel Merman meets Chewbacca). It is this kind of creative perversity that sets Nesmith apart from other artists. He is a singular voice. He may not see the world the way record executives and promo people would like him to see it, but thank goodness for that.
Hifi World, August 2008
Nesmith, the chap who used to be in the US-pop band The Monkees, has had an interesting solo career. He released an array of excellent country rock albums in the seventies, for example. This live gig at Jacksonville, USA in 1991 shows the man at his best. You’ll also be able to hear how funny he is as a person, via his between song patter. For a live gig, the recording is excellent.
Michael Nesmith Facts
- He had already released two singles under the name Michael Blessing before he auditioned successfully for The Monkees.
- He was the first Monkee to have his compositions recorded for the group’s albums.
- He is the only Monkee to have a solo hit in the UK, with “Rio”.
- He has written several songs that do not feature the title anywhere in the song: Papa Gene’s Blues, Good Clean Fun, Some Of Shelly’s Blues, Propinquity, Carlisle Wheeling.
- Linda Ronstadt recorded “Different Drum” and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band recorded “Mary Mary” while he was still in the Monkees.
- His mother invented Liquid Paper, the correcting fluid. Figures vary as to how much he inherited when she died…
- He is considered to be one of the pioneers of country rock (along with Gram Parsons), a style adopted by The Eagles and many others.
- He invented the notion of making pop videos with a storyboard. He misunderstood Island Records’ boss Chris Blackwell’s request for a “film of ‘Rio’” in 1977, when the single climbed into the UK Top 30. Blackwell simply wanted a film of Nesmith singing the song, but Nez interpreted it as a request for a film dramatising the lyrics.
- He invented the concept of MTV. After making several films for songs from the “From A Radio Engine” and “Infinite Rider” albums, he noticed that there were very few outlets for these films to get shown more than once. He also noticed that the growth in record companies making increasingly more expensive promo videos coincided with the growth in cable TV channels in the US, with hours of airtime to fill. The promo videos represented hours and hours of content, already created and sitting on a shelf. Nesmith created a programme called “Pop Clips” for Nickelodeon – the concept was then sold to Time Warner who developed it into MTV.
- He won the first video Grammy for his programme “Elephant Parts”.
- He spent much of the 80s in TV and film production – notable films include “Repo Man” and “Tape Heads”.
- He has written and recorded two “books with soundtracks” (“The Prison” and “The Garden”). The listener plays the record while reading the book.
- He was a good friend of “Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy” author Douglas Adams.
- His website (www.videoranch.com) is home to his current project Videoranch 3D, a virtual environment on the internet that hosts live performances at various virtual venues inside the Ranch.