Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Song of the Week: The Monkees - As We Go Along

The Monkees were left for dead following the "studio musician" scandal that exposed The Monkees to be a manufactured band who didn't write much of their own material or play instruments on their earliest work. Gasp! I've always defended the band. If you sit back and listen to some of the work and don't get hung up on process, just outcome, you have to admit, The Monkees put out some pretty damn good material.

The last work by The Monkees as the original band was the suicide note of a movie, Head. Co-written and produced by Jack Nicholson, musical input by Frank Zappa, songwriting by Carole King, instrumentation by The Monkees themselves (and guests). It was their swan song of sorts. Peter Tork would leave the band upon the movie's release. The lone single from the soundtrack would be the stellar Porpoise Song released on Colgems Records on October 2, 1968. (my copy above is the Aussie release on RCA).

The Flip-Side is also stellar and is our feature today. Written by Carole King, produced by Gerry Goffin, arranged by Jack Nitzsche, As We Go Along has a wonderful languid quality to it. It's remarkably un-Monkees like. Slow, acoustic guitar work with beautiful lead work throughout. It's got a loose ramble that feels like it could be from Pete Townshend's first solo album or from the Ron Wood and Rod Stewart era Faces. In fact, I would argue that it sounds a lot like a Faces song...but with a better singer. Oooh! We think you'll enjoy this one. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side. 

4 comments:

  1. Lovely song. It also reminds me at times of Nick Drake.

    Head was a suicide note because the band knew it would signal the end?

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  2. Good call on Nick Drake. I think the commonality is the open note structure of the acoustic guitar parts.

    Re: Suicide note. Yeah, from everything I've read and heard on the subject of the film, the 4 people were trying to kill the image of the monkees as a pre-fab four teen band constructed to solely make money of teeny boppers. They weren't being taken seriously in their music and it frustrated the hell out of them. By associating with some of the most creative persons in Los Angeles who were NOT part of the establishment (Nicholson and Zappa), I think they were trying to get cred and shed, once and for all, the shackles that were the "hey hey we're the monkees". If I recall correctly, the opening sequence of the movie was Mickey Dolenz committing suicide by jumping off a bridge and sinking into the water. The irony is they needed the protection of The Monkees name and image to even get any attention at all. So by killing The Monkees off and removing the teeny bopper anchor around their necks, they killed off any real hope they had of making the kind of music they wanted to make. It was a small box they were in.

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  3. Mickey Dolenz had the voice of an angel.

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