And the Hits Just Keep on Comin'

Michael Nesmith

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And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' Review

by Mark Deming

In 1972, Michael Nesmith had released four albums for RCA Records that didn't sell especially well, and he had parted ways with his band, with only pedal steel guitarist Red Rhodes interested in working on Nesmith's next project. RCA gave Nesmith a limited window of time to make his next album for them, so it was necessity rather than design that led Nesmith to cut And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' with just himself on acoustic guitar and Rhodes on pedal steel. But the results were truly inspired; Nesmith and Rhodes use the album's spare instrumentation to their advantage, with the performances both empathetic and intimate, and Rhodes' masterful steel gives these songs a graceful resonance few full bands could muster. And while the ten songs find Nesmith in one of his more introspective phases, here he manages to keep one foot planted firmly in the real world while the other traipses the cosmos (even the trippiest song here, "The Candidate," manages a certain tongue-in-cheek wit that keeps it on terra firma, and "Keep On" offers neo-hippie philosophy rooted in good ol' Texas horse sense). He also offers up a superb folk-styled remake of "Different Drum" that has a bluesy lope missing from Linda Ronstadt's better-known version. And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' is modest in approach but very satisfying in execution, practically defining the phrase "happy accident."

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