Michael Nesmith (Monkees)- "Propinquity (I've Just Begun To Care)" LIVE 1971 [RITY Archives]
From Nevada Fighter (RCA, 1971).
“Propinquity” means being close to someone, and as is typical, Nez never says the title in his song. This was written before he joined the Monkees and he recorded a demo in 1966 and then a full band version during the famous 1968 Nashville sessions. That version remained unreleased until The Monkees Missing Links, Volume 3 came out in the 1996.
The first officially released version of “Propinquity” was by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their 1970 album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy. Nez finally released his own version a year later with his First National Band on their third album, Nevada Fighter. That album flopped despite Mike promoting it with this solo television performance. The First National Band disbanded shortly thereafter.
The Breeders - Joanne (Filmed at Electrical Audio, Chicago)
All Nerve is out March 2 on 4AD. “Joanne” is not on the album.
“Joanne” is one of my favorite songs of all time. I first heard it back in college when Leppotone supergroup Twister covered it live at Club Soda in Kalamazoo. I was already a huge Monkees fan but had not yet discovered the solo work of Mike Nesmith. It quickly became an obsession as I gathered up as many Nez albums as I could find in the used record bins.
Just recently, Nesmith reformed his “First National Band” and played some shows in California. Nez is the only original member since pedal steel virtuoso Red Rhodes and bassist John London are dead and drummer John Ware was not interested. But it’s still awesome that Nesmith is back into playing the style of country rock that he helped create years before Glenn Frey ever met Don Henley. (Just listen to “Papa Gene’s Blues,” which Nez wrote and produced for the first Monkees album in 1966.)
Anyway, Kim Deal does a fine acoustic cover, recorded — and apparently filmed — by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago. And while “Joanne” is not included on the upcoming Breeders album, it does appear as the b-side of the “Wait in the Car” single that is included in the vinyl bundle from 4AD.
Awesome footage of acoustic guitar virtuouso Bert Jansch accompanied by pedal steel player Red Rhodes recording the album L.A. Turnaround, produced by Mike Nesmith.
Wearing a fresh Fred Perry v-neck sweater, Papa Nez explains how this all came about: “We were having dinner and he said, ‘Why don’t you produce Bert Jansch?’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know.’ And then I said, ‘As long as we’re going to do it, we might as well do it in the garden—it’s a lovely garden.’ And he said, ‘That’s a great idea!’ And I said, ‘Well, as long as we’re going to do it in the garden, we might as well film it.'”
Remastered and reissued last year with bonus tracks, L.A. Turnaround is available on Amazon MP3 for only $6.99. Jansch just got done touring with Neil Young, and he’s back on the road with Neil’s wife Pegi opening for him.
These have been up for a while, but the official Monkees site has three great podcasts featuring Mike Nesmith being interviewed by Rhino’s Chief Monkees Officer, Andrew Sandoval. The best one is Part 2, wherein Nez talks about the band’s insane 1969 tour with a funk group (Sam & The Goodtimers) as their backing band. There are even a couple of lo-fi audio clips from bootlegs: almost unlistenably poor quality, but still, it’s the Holy Grail for Monkees freaks.
Wired interviews Michael Nesmith: “I don’t hold much hope for Warner Music Group or Sony being a player in the future… The problem with those kind of companies is that they don’t have any good way to add value anymore. For years, they’d support the artist in their nascent stages and get the goods to market. Those are old-time, Methuselean economics…” You tell ’em, Nez!