Michael Nesmith

And the Hits Just Keep on Comin'/Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash

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After leaving the Monkees, Michael Nesmith recorded a handful of superb country-rock albums for RCA Records in the early '70s, and this two-fer CD reissues his two final albums for the label -- which were also two of his best. And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' was recorded in 1972 by Nesmith with just a single accompanist, pedal steel guitarist Red Rhodes, after Nesmith suffered a falling out with the rest of his band. Nesmith turned this challenge into a triumph; the album boasts an uncommon warmth and intimacy, and the interplay between Nesmith's vocals and Rhodes' steel is a wonder to behold. Nesmith was back to working with a band on Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash, but he did so without robbing the album of the empathy and subtlety that made Hits so special; highlights include the lovely "Winonah" (about as close to a straight country ballad as Nesmith would ever get) and a fine bluegrass medley, "Back Porch and a Fruit Jar Full of Iced Tea." Michael Nesmith often had a hard time shaking off the image he picked up in the Monkees, and his solo career suffered as a result, but if his albums for RCA didn't sell very well, it was never because of their quality; this disc finds Nesmith in superb form on two different albums, and if you're at all curious about his solo career in the 1970s, it's a fine place to start exploring.

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