Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mike Nesmith & The First National Band: Joanne

The first person to leave The Monkees, that contrived TV musical concoction, was Michael Nesmith. When he exited three years prior to the expiration of his contract, Mike was required to pay a whopping $450K in restitution. His first project after The Monkees was with the First National Band and the album “Magnetic South.”

While not Nesmith’s first solo performance, as he had numerous singles before the Monkees and his “Wichita Train Whistle Sings” project, it was his only solo recording that charted within the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100. The First National Band consisted of the following musicians: Red Rhodes on pedal steel guitar, John Ware on drums, and John London on bass.

This 1970 release of Joanne charted at #21 and the album placed at #143 on the album charts. I have this LP which was pressed on RCA’s Dynaflex vinyl – the thin process that used less material in production as a cost cutting move. You can nearly fold a record before it snaps . . . yes, Virginia, it becomes Dynabreak. Some audiophiles think that there is a poor frequency response on some of the Dynaflex releases.

My copy was used, but its tonality was a little thinner than what I expected. When I carted my copy up to play as an oldie on WCIR, I remember having to add some bass to the recording. It’s an early example of country-rock and showcases the vocal abilities of Nesmith. There is something in the mix that doesn’t sit well with me – I think it may be tremolo used on the bass.  Whatever it is, it's muddying up the sound. Be that as it may, it is a great cut.

Although Mike had many hits with The Monkees, this was his only solo hit - making it his one hit wonder.

1 comment:

  1. One-hit wonder USA, he also had 2 or 2 hits in the Australian market in the 80s or 90s.