Well what have we here, a new vinyl/CD release? Even better a new Micky Dolenz vinyl/CD release you say?
Speaking only for me that’s an incredibly good way to brighten up a somewhat dull and rainy week full of otherwise generally grim news. Between the tragic happenings going on in Russia and the still lingering Covid pandemic any new music release is the perfect way to sooth the soul.
Just two days ago I happened to have received the new Micky Dolenz mini-album “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” on the 7a Records label in the mail and after giving it a good listen and I must say I’m impressed.
What’s a mini-album you may ask? Well technically it’s a four song e.p. and not an album. An e.p., for those who don’t know or remember, is an old-school reference to the extended play 45 releases of long ago that usually consisted of four songs vs the normal two songs that comprised a 45 r.p.m. single release.
An e.p. is basically a bonus release and that’s exactly the right word for “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.”
So why would Micky Dolenz release only a four-song e.p.?
Well the four songs on “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” are actually left over from last year’s superb Dolenz album “Dolenz Sings Nesmith”. I guess Dolenz and 7a Records, who released both the e.p. and the album, decided to hold these four songs back as they would probably have made “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” a tad too long and they must have felt it worked best as it was released.
Luckily for us Dolenz/Nesmith/Monkees fans the four new songs on this new e.p. not only meet but in one case may exceed what was on the “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” album.
(Note: “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” is available to purchase on CD as well as a lovely looking 10-inch blue vinyl pressing. I of course got both. My vinyl sounds great and may even sound a bit better than the CD. Both are great though and well worth having in either format.)
Song-by-song here’s my quick first impressions of this groovy new release:
“Soul-Writer’s Birthday” – what a treat to get an unreleased 1967 composition of a Mike Nesmith song that was never used for the Monkees or in his solo career.
I like the tune but I’ll have to give it a couple more listens to gain a lasting impression. I read online someone said it sounded like 1966 Monkees. To me it does remind me of the sixties but not the early ’66 Monkees.
The song sounds more to me like a cross between the song “She’s About a Mover” and oddly enough “Star Collector” from The Monkees fourth album “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.” A bit more rock and roll than the other songs on this e.p. but fun.
“Some of Shelly’s Blues” – this is a lovely take on one of Nesmith’s best tunes that Nesmith first recorded for the Monkees and again later for a solo album.
I swear the ghost of Peter Tork must have visited this session as the song is filled with what sounds like banjo to me. Whatever instrument it is it really adds a lot to the song and reminds me of a slower version of the banjo Tork played on the Monkees Nesmith song “You Told Me” from the “Headquarters” album.
Plus the pedal steel guitar solo just sounds so good on this track.
Truly a superb take on a terrific song. Too bad this one wasn’t on the album proper as it’s one of my favorite songs from the whole project.
“The Crippled Lion” – a slower almost mournful approach to this song which works really well. Micky sounds great and the orchestration really lends itself to this arrangement making it a little bit more melancholy than Nesmith’s earlier Monkees or solo version but truly lovely.
Another song that would have fit perfectly on the “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” album so I’m really glad it was finally released here.
“Grand Ennui” – while not quite new, this song was featured as a bonus track on the CD of last year’s “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” album, it’s still a terrific take on a terrific Nesmith song and makes its vinyl and digital debut with its release on this new e.p.
This song has a more blues feel to it with a rock punch as well. Very well done and I consider it a part of the album proper as it was on the CD I have of the album from last year. Great to hear it again here though.
So there you have it. Another superb batch of terrific Mike Nesmith covers by his bandmate and musical brother Micky Dolenz. It’s great to have these four wonderful bonus tracks and now that all the songs from the “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” sessions are out it’s time to ask where’s volume two?
There’s more than enough excellent songs from Mike Nesmith’s esteemed catalog to make a sequel that could stand up to this superb collection of well-performed and produced Nesmith gems.
I sure hope that Nesmith’s son Christian who produced the “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” sessions can get together with Micky Dolenz and comb through Nesmith’s catalog one more time as they’re efforts are stellar and well worth the time and energy to produce another album’s worth of goodies.
If you’re looking to buy this new “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” or even the full “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” album, the best place to track them down in physical form is through either Dolenz’ own Website https://mickydolenz.com/ or through http://www.deepdiscount.com.
(Note 2: You can also buy them through Amazon as well but Deep Discount usually has a better price and more stock on hand as all of 7a Records releases are made in England and imported to the United States.)
Also, if you order through Dolenz’ Website you can get a signed photo with your order if you so choose (see photo above) which is a nice treat for any Dolenz fan.
So whatever medium you choose be it a physical CD or vinyl or even a digital download or stream it’s well worth your time giving this new collection of songs a listen.
As usual take a gander above at both my vinyl and CD versions of “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The E.P.” and until next time be well and stay safe!
See you soon.