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.
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.