7a Records Strikes Again – “Demoiselle” by Micky Dolenz is a Gem of an Album That Highlights Rare Solo Material from the ’90s

Well, what have we here? Another Monkees related release from 7a Records?
First we had the lovely “Dolenz Sings Nesmith – The EP” by Micky Dolenz from early in 2022 followed by two great solo releases by Mike Nesmith (“And the Hits Just Keep On Comin'”, “Tantamount to Treason, Vol. 1”– both 50th anniversary packages) then the recent superb “Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart” reissue and now we have a brand new 7a Records release by Micky Dolenz called “Demoiselle”.
“Demoiselle” consists of rare demos of eight songs composed by Dolenz mainly from the early ’90s that would have made the basis of a solid solo album. These eight demos had been issued previously on a CD (available only through Dolenz’s Website) but now are being made available again by 7a Records.
(Note: several of these demos ended up being recorded for The Monkees 1996 reunion album called “Justus”)
As a bonus 7a Records has added three more Dolenz demos/studio tracks plus a live version of the pop standard “Since I Fell for You” to their release of “Demoiselle” making this new release a must have for Dolenz fans.
I had heard of the original release of “Demoiselle” that was sold in 1998 on Micky Dolenz’s Website but for some reason never managed to get a hold of one. I think it sold out fairly quickly but back in the late ’90s I wasn’t that game for ordering from Websites so I never really bothered pursuing getting a copy.
As luck would have it 7a Records has come to the rescue and made that CD available again with bonus tracks plus a superb package that includes their usual detailed liner notes.
I’ve said it before but it’s too bad that Micky Dolenz never really had much of a solo career post Monkees at least until recently. The material on “Demoiselle” shows that he was a decent writer and as far as his voice is concerned he, to this day, sounds much like he did when he was belting out songs for The Monkees in the 1960s.
Because of Dolenz’s limited solo material this release fills in the gaps and provides a picture of what he might have done as a solo artist in the ’90s.
I just received the new CD a few days ago and here’s a look at my impressions of each track on “Demoiselle”:
My Heart is Failing Me – Written by “It Never Rains in Southern California” songwriter and performer Albert Hammond, this track reminds me of 1986 era Paul McCartney. It would have fit nicely on McCartney’s “Press to Play” album. Production wise it sounds very ’80s but a solid song with great vocals. Nice tune and worthy of single release.

Lonely Weekends – This sounds very much like a Mike Nesmith influenced song with it mariachi flavor. Fun tune and of course sung well by Dolenz. Too bad there’s not much solo work from Dolenz from this time period as I would love to hear a fully-produced version of this song.

Never Enough– I love this version of the song and I think it’s even better than the Monkee’s version from their 1996 “Justus” reunion album. I like the more laid-back approach and this sounds more fluid than the Monkee’s version.

Dyin’ of a Broken Heart– Another track that was re-recorded for 1996’s “Justus”album. Unlike the previous “Never Enough” I prefer The Monkee’s version of this track but this version is okay. A little bit too synthesized for my tastes but not bad.

We Were Not That Bad – I really like this song. This would have been a solid song on any solo album from Micky and one of Dolenz’s better songwriting attempts. Interesting that he mentions in the liner notes that it was inspired by The Beatles “Blackbird” and is basically that chord structure backwards. Too bad a full album of Dolenz’s compositions never came out because he’s actually a decent writer.

Piston Power – Another strong Dolenz composition with a little boogie woogie/rock feel. Nice vocals and vibe to this track. Just a fun song that I would have loved to hear in a fully produced version.

Put a Hold on Your Heart – Another Albert Hammond song. This song is very reminiscent of Human League’s song “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” which has the same lick. Not a bad song but not as strong as the first Hammond song on the album.

Regional Girl– Another “Justus” song that takes a lighter approach than The Monkee’s version. Overall I prefer The Monkee’s approach but this version is fun and well-sung.

Torch for Hire – The last of the none-Dolenz compositions. A very nice track. Sounds a bit ’80s but a really solid song that Dolenz sings well. Again a fully produced version would have sounded amazing.

It’s the Season – Nice tune. It’s the oldest written self-composed track on the album as it comes from the late 1970s. To me this song sounds very Monkee-like especially Dolenz’s vocal. More a riff then a song but still very nice

Since I Fell for You – A terrific live version of this classic song. Dolenz sings the song extremely well and it’s a great tune. A little odd to have it amongst all the other demos written by Dolenz but certainly a lovely track to listen to any time.

Beverly Hills– Another nice Dolenz composition that was released on a single by Dolenz in Japan in 1982 when he toured there during their Monkees resurgence. Even though the song has been released previously by 7a this is a terrific tune and one of Dolenz better self-composed songs.

There you have it, a really solid and enjoyable album from Micky Dolenz. If you’re a Monkees fan I’m sure you’d be happy to get your hands on a copy.
I have to say 7a Records has outdone themselves with quality music releases in 2022 and I hope this pace continues. I’m guessing that it will as a photo of an upcoming new Davy Jones release is featured in the last 7a booklet so it looks as if 2022 is the year of the solo Monkees music releases!
As usual check above for photos of this groovy new album.
Until next time be safe and well and see you soon!

Once Upon a Summer Night … Memories of Olivia Newton-John

There are some voices from the past that are so evocative of a certain time and place that hearing them always transports you back in time.

I listen to a lot of music, as you may well know if you read this blog, but there are only a select few voices that elicit such a major response in my psyche. One of those voices belonged to Olivia Newton-John.

Looking back the performers I listened to between 1978 and 1984 seem to have a stronger pull on my heartstrings than any other time period before or since. Nostalgia yes, certainly, but it’s more than that for me.

I think those formative years between the age of 12 and 18 are a magical time in a person’s life. Everything from that time period seems heightened now – the people, the food, the dress and especially the music. Music reminds you of everything that was going on around you at the time you were listening to it – good  or bad.

So a couple of days ago when I heard that Olivia Newton-John had died I had one of those unexpected pangs in my chest. I mean it’s not like I was a rapid fan of her music but apparently something about her voice and her spirit had penetrated deeper than I had ever suspected.

I don’t want to be sad here. I think it’s best to celebrate someone’s life rather than dwell in sadness so I’m going to fondly look back at some of my favorite Olivia Newton-John music.

Even though I became more fond of Olivia’s music post 1978 my remembrances of her music date back to the early seventies with such songs as “Let Me Be There” (from 1973), “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” (1974), “I Honestly Love You” (also 1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975) and “Please Mister Please” (also 1975) all of which I heard on the radio and enjoyed immensely.

It wasn’t until I saw the movie “Grease” in the summer of 1978 that I began to actually buy any of Olivia Newton-John’s records.

In fact I distinctly remember bopping out of a local theater during the opening week of “Grease” in June of 1978 , along with my older brother Tom who drove me to see the film, and riding to the nearest Kmart where I bought the 45 of “You’re the One That I Want” in the picture sleeve (yes, I still have it!).

I absolutely loved that 45 and played it to death that summer. Even though I didn’t buy the full “Grease” soundtrack I did start to acquire the next few Olivia Newton-John albums as they came out.

Really all of Olivia’s hits from that period are so ingrained that they just make me feel. I feel happy and sad and nostalgic whenever I hear her voice but most of all I feel as if I’m that same person again who sat near an old Magnavox stereo in the late 1970s’ blaring those hits out into the summer nights of my youth.

Songs from that period like “A Little More Love” (1978), “Deeper Than the Night” (1979), “Magic” (1980), “Xanadu” (1980), “Suddenly” (1980), “Physical” (1981), “Make a Move on Me” (1981) and “Twist of Fate” (1983) all remain sealed in time in a plastic bubble in which every warm summer night or cool winter evening is there waiting for me like a beacon in the night to rediscover and enjoy.

After 1984 I gradually began to pay less attention to Olivia Newton-John’s recordings but her effect on  my psyche never went away. There was something about her smile and her genuinely kind spirit that whenever I hear her voice or see the odd interview I am taken back to how much comfort and joy I felt listening to her music.

In 2015 I was fortunate enough to see Olivia Newton-John perform live in Las Vegas. I am so glad I did. Not only was her lovely voice intact but she sounded just as good as she did in the early seventies when I first heard her on the radio.

Not only that but the warmth and grace she exhibited on stage was a pleasure to witness. She spoke with several audience members and I thought wow she seems to be one of the most down to earth performers I’ve ever encountered.

Trust me I’ve interviewed over 150 famous musicians in my time writing for a local newspaper and performers with her warmth and grace are very rare.

One of my favorite Olivia CDs is a recording of that very same Las Vegas show (see above) and it’s a really nice overview of her entire career and one of my favorite of her recordings as it brings back fond memories of that terrific performance.

Well there you go. Just a few random thoughts on a truly unique talent. I will always love her biggest hits and now that she’s passed I think the memory of her voice and talent will grow even more special to me as time goes on.

Anyway I thought I’d post photos the seven Olivia Newton-John CDs in my collection – above. Each and every one is a gem and I’m planning on giving them all another spin soon.

Take a gander at the photos above and as you do take these last few warm summer nights of 2022 and try and listen to and appreciate the angelic voice of a truly special talent that made millions of people around the world hopelessly devoted to her special magic.

Until next time be well and see you soon …


FIRST LOOK: “McCartney – I, II, III” Limited CD Box Set

Welcome back to my little side of the Web.

It’s been a bit since I was here so I thought it was time to say hello again – hello.

Today’s post may very well fall under the heading of “Totally Not Necessary But Cool Anyway” but what the hey, you only live once. As a collector I’ve been down this road before and here I go again (yes a blatant McCartney reference.)

This Friday a lovely set of three Paul McCartney albums is being re-released on both CD and vinyl. All three of them  – “McCartney”, “McCartney II” and “McCartney III” – feature McCartney as not only the sole songwriter but also the sole instrumentalist and vocalist (well mainly, Linda McCartney helps with background vocals on “McCartney” and “McCartney III” has a few tracks with McCartney’s band) – thus the McCartney titles.

I happened to receive this set in the mail a couple of days early (that usually never happens) so I thought folks might enjoy seeing what this set looks like.

Now you may ask so what’s so interesting about buying more copies of three albums I already own?

Are these new versions of those albums? No. Are there cool new bonus tracks to get excited about? No. Is there some new and wonderful mastering of these albums perhaps that will make it worth buying these albums yet again?  Well, no actually.

So who is this set for you may ask and why buy it? 

Well the answer is simply McCartney fans. Obsessive McCartney fans. You can’t see it but my hand just went up.

Seriously though this set may well in fact attract some younger fans who are just discovering McCartney’s wonderful solo catalog I’m afraid this set feels like it’s aimed at the obsessives who, like me, like label minutia and release variations. Though you probably already know that if you’ve read any of my previous blog posts.

Now that’s not to say that this isn’t a lovely set – it is. In fact it’s superbly put together and as far as presentation goes it gets an “A”. 

To start off with it comes in a nifty hardbound small case (okay, the cover art isn’t exactly stellar but serviceable) and the three albums are presented in mini-lp sleeves that replicate the original UK vinyl releases fairly well.

(Note: I only bought the CD version of this set as it was priced reasonably and I LOVE mini-lp versions of McCartney albums on CD)

All three albums sport their original gatefold covers and best of all they also sport the original LP labels from Apple and Parlophone which I don’t think have ever been released on CD. They may be incorrect, it’s been a long day and I’m getting old lol, but I don’t seem to recall that being the case.

The “McCartney II” CD also comes with a small fold-out poster that replicates the original inner LP sleeve and the “McCartney III” CD  contains it’s normal booklet.

There are also three small photo cards that have introductions on the back by Paul McCartney in which he recalls the circumstances in which each of the three albums were made. He briefly tells why he decided to go it alone with all three instead of using other musicians to flesh the tracks out.

Again nothing new really just an all around lovely small box set of all three of his homemade albums.

I really hadn’t intended to buy this set but after seeing that it included the reproductions of the original record labels I thought this made a nice variation to have on CD and really I would think that this may be the last time these albums make it onto CD.

(Note 2: I’ve said this very thing before when these albums were released as part of McCartney’s archive collection so who knows they may end up sneaking these out on CD one more time but I really doubt it. I think.)

If you’ve already purchased the McCartney archive issues of “McCartney” and “McCartney II” then you’ll already have these masterings so there’s really nothing new sound wise. “McCartney III” also sounds the same as the original CD release from just a few months ago so that again is really nothing new.

The main purpose of this post is for the obsessives out there like me who are on the fence about buying this set and want to see what you get if you buy it. 

Well there’s plenty of photos above and below so feast your eyes and who knows you may just feel like another version of these albums on CD is worth it.

I actually love this set though honestly I needed more versions of these albums on CD like I need a hole in the head but here we are – where are we? It’s worth it to me as at least the CD isn’t too expensive. The vinyl set on the other hand is a bit pricey but I’m sure all three pressings probably look and sound great but I wanted to stick to under $40 if I’m going to get these again.

Well, that’s all for now. Just a quick McCartney update.

As usual be well and safe and until next time I hope you have a great end to your summer as Fall is right around the corner.

Ta ta for now and see you soon!