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|Michael Nesmith||Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals|
|Glen D. Hardin||Piano|
|Michael Nesmith||Producer, Liner Notes|
|Sid Griffin||Liner Notes|
Posted October 1, 2010
With the late-1969 end of his involvement with The Monkees, Mike Nesmith began his ''solo'' career with The First National Band and the two albums compiled together on this CD. Though largely ignored by the music press and DJs, Nesmith's albums have stood the test of time as pioneering efforts in country rock, and compare most favoriably with modern ''country'' popsters like the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, Martina McBride, and Billy Ray Cyrus - Nesmith's work even manages to outdo all of them. With longtime cohort John London on bass, John Ware on drums, and Orville ''Red'' Rhodes on pedal steel, Mike gets going with a triple-header - Calico Girlfriend-Nine Times Blue-Little Red Rider. Calico displays the energetic melodies Mike had used on songs like Papa Gene's Blues and God Clean Fun, while Nine Times Blue displays that Mike could leave The Monkees but The Monkees couldn't quite be purged from Mike - perhaps sensing that fans would still associate him with Micky, Davy, and Peter, Mike double-tracks vocals in a number of his songs to create a harmony effect like that of Micky Dolenz; it shows very well in Nine Times Blue and briefly in the more rock-oriented Little Red Rider. The Monkees influence shows again in the humorous closing tag First National Rag. Hollywood is one of Mike's best efforts, segueing from soft tension to full throttle and back again; the only flaw is the excessively long fade. Silver Moon opens the Loose Salute portion of this double-player and is a splendid country number followed by Mike's tender cover of Patsy Cline's I Fall To Pieces. Humor then returns in Dedicated Friend, then Mike forsees the Latin revolution of Gloria Estefan and Ricky Martin in Tengo Amore - and once again betters his successors. His most haunting number is the bluesy Lady Of The Valley, once again featuring double-tracked vocals that sound like Mike is still dueting with Micky Dolenz. Mike then goes the whole route when he multitracks the chorus vocals of the jazzy Hello Lady so that it sounds like Peter and Davy have rejoined Micky and Mike. Closing out the CD is the previously unreleased dance instrumental First National Dance, and it gets the feet moving to signal Mike Nesmith's stature as a country-rock pioneer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.