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Traveling Monkberries: Rhino’s Barrel of New & Old

the monkees, rhino records
Rhino Records drops some new Monkees music on us as we wait for the release of their spruced up TV series BluRay Box Set. All 58 episodes of snarky lunacy that melded the Marx Brothers with pop culture of 1960’s West Coast America will appear in the midst of innumerable bonus features. Those extras include the group’s only feature film Head as well as the even more challenging final television special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee. The mega-set can be ordered at the Monkees’ official website only, and is limited to 10,000 copies world wide.
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Riding the Backs of Giraffes for Laughs

I was going through some old back-up disks recently and found a folder with Garageband files from when I was first learning the program. This cover of my favorite Monkees tune “Porpoise Song” – the theme from their cult classic film “Head” – is probably the best of what I had archived. The original, recorded by the Monkees in 1968, is a great slice of psychedelia penned by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

The “Head” album, though a rather disjointed mash of tunes and soundbites from the movie contains, does contain another of the Monkee’s best songs (IMHO) in the King and Toni Stern co-write called “As We Go Along”. It’s a beautiful open tuned acoustic guitar piece that builds in intensity based on it’s Jack Nitzche arrangement, which was conducted by producer Russ Titelman. Sessions for these tunes included loads of the Laurel Canyon/Sunset Strip musicos including Neil Young, Danny Kortchmar, Leon Russell, Ry Cooder, Ralph Schuckett (then of Clear Light, later of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia). Mike Ney, also of Clear Light, is the drummer on “Porpoise Song”.

I can’t hold a candle to that crowd, but it was fun dissecting the tune and working up my own rendition. I may go back and rework it someday (I’ve been singing the lyrics phonetically for 40+ years) but for now hope you enjoy.