Michael Nesmith

The Older Stuff: Best of Michael Nesmith (1970-1973)

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This 18-track compilation was a follow-up to the similarly titled Newer Stuff, highlighting Michael Nesmith's post-1974 sides as well as featuring some previously unissued material. Older Stuff (1991) includes a healthy sampling of tracks from the half-dozen long-players Nesmith issued prior to 1974 as the respective leader of both the First and the Second National Band and then later as a solo artist. As these cuts demonstrate, he consistently turned out some of the best music in the country-rock subgenre that he was helping to pioneer. The tune stack is well represented by the National Band LPs Magnetic South (1970), Loose Salute (1970), and Nevada Fighter (1971), plus, to a much lesser extent, Tantamount to Treason (1972) and And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' (1972) as well as its follow-up, Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash (1973). Nesmith's penchant for penning quirky country & western-flavored pop songs can be directly traced back to his more prominent Monkees contributions. During this period he was also woodshedding material for his future endeavors -- although cuts such as "Some of Shelly's Blues," "Cripple Lion," and "Listen to the Band" were all worked up during his waning days as a teen pop idol. Ultimately, autonomy as a solo artist allowed him to further develop a singular voice rooted in folk and country, while remaining ever unique. Stylistically, his range became more eclectic -- encompassing both driving rockers such as "Roll With the Flow" and the lilting relationship ballad "Continuing." This release not only visits those extremes, it also hits upon many of the more subtle facets from Nesmith's prolific early-'70s recordings. The obvious inclusions of "Joanne" and "Different Drum" sit well alongside his reworking of Derek & the Dominoes' "I Looked Away" or the pair of sides made famous by the Sons of the Pioneers -- "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" and "Prairie Lullaby." While some may wish to seek out the six albums from which these cuts were extracted, this is a worthwhile primer for the curious and potential enthusiast.

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