Michael Nesmith

From a Radio Engine/Infinite Rider

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This two-disc set from the U.K.-based Edsel reissue label contains remastered editions circa 2007 of Michael Nesmith's mid- to late-'70s solo titles From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing (1977) and Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma (1979). While the former presents an extension of the artist's genre-defining forays into Americana -- decades before it had a name -- the latter unleashes a collection that is solidly based in the concurrent trends of the time. Without abandoning or compromising his unique and singular songwriting style, Nesmith embraces a comparatively MOR-ish approach to the arrangements to "Rio," the slightly tropical vibe of "More Than We Imagine," and the danceable "Love's First Kiss." Leaning toward his familiar country-flavored rockers are Nesmith's update of "Navajo Trail" and the midtempo ballad "Wisdom Has Its Way." "The Other Room" -- which concludes From a Radio Engine -- is recommended for old-school Nez heads as it settles into a lively groove reminiscent of First National Band classics such as "Mama Nantucket" and "Roll with the Flow." Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma serves up what was Nesmith's most diverse offering of rockers to date or since. Not only does the fresh digital pass reveal an immeasurably cleaner sound than its early-'90s CD predecessor, but also included is a previously unreleased "long version" of "Flying" that clocks in with over two additional minutes. The unrepentant rockers "Dance," "Factions," and "Horserace" are balanced by ethereal love songs, namely "Carioca" and the memorably twisted triad of Lucy, Ramona, and Sunset Sam on "Cruisin'." The booklet contains lyrics, formerly unpublished photos, and newly penned liner notes from Papa Nez himself.

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