Davy Jones

The Bell Recordings (1971-1972)

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Davy Jones was kind of in a dead-end bind when the last remnants of the Monkees called it quits in 1970. He was, after all, essentially an actor playing a musician on a TV show when he was bounced into a recording career, and although he had fan clubs of teenage girls all around the globe, that was what he was, an actor. He could sing, in a British music hall sort of way, and if matched to the right song, he could pull it off, but his musical career really had more to do with a casting call than it did anything else. Opportunity knocked and Jones did his best with it. He signed a record deal with Bell Records in 1971 and released a solo album, Davy Jones, that same year, and a handful of singles, before leaving for MGM Records in 1973. This set includes the Davy Jones album in its entirety and the A- and B-sides of three singles from Bell, so it's pretty much the Bell story. The music hasn't worn well, and aside from a version of Neil Sedaka's "Rainy Jane" and the impossibly cheery but affecting "Sitting in the Apple Tree," the curious charm of this release has more to do with willful nostalgia than it does musical spark. Jones played the part he was given as best he could, and as a former jockey, he rode with it, and he did it without pretension. With the right song, he could work it. There just aren't many of those kinds of songs here, although as a document of the Bell years, it has a certain resonance.

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