on 12 March 2001
These two albums, handsomely collected together on this single CD are a complete delight. Mike Nesmith's songwriting is witty, playful, elegaic and wonderful. Some of the songs here are instant classics: Mama Nuntucket is a fabulous yodelling honkytonk gem, Dedicated Friend is a weirdly superb piece of classic country rock, while Hollywood, The Keys to the Car, Beyond the Blue Horizon, need I go on, are all fabulous. The deMonkeefied Listen to the Band seriously rocks. Neglected in comparison with his contemporary, Gram Parsons, Nesmith's stuff is truly vital and if you haven't heard it yet there's a Nesmith-shaped hole in your life; this is the place to start plugging that hole.
on 7 March 2008
For most people, being instantly identified with one of the most popular and enduring US Television Series and pop bands of the 1960s, inventing MTV and being the heir to the White-Out fortune would be more than enough success for one lifetime and would let us die happy people.
For Michael Nesmith, however, this almost seems a bit of a tragedy. While he is widely identified as The One With The Hat out of The Monkees, as hard as he worked in getting the idea for MTV off the ground and as hard as he worked with his mother to get White-Out patented... his solo material is largely and rather cruelly overlooked in his legend.
This CD is a collection of his first two post-Monkees albums, recorded with The First National Band. Keen-eared listeners will note that the majority of tracks on Magnetic South are re-vamped and re-recorded, extremely obscure Monkees-era tracks (Calico Girlfriend, Nine Times Blue, Little Red Rider, The Crippled Lion) - and the style is quite heavily entrenched in a genre that he helped to create more than anyone has ever given him credit for, Country Rock.
By the time Loose Salute comes along, he has changed style almost completely into a genre all of his own - I like to call it "Michael Nesmith". Songs like Hello Lady, Dedicated Friend and the ungodly sexy Tengo Amore all sound as though they could have worked on three separate albums but somehow they all seem to fit in quite nicely together on this one. His cover of I Fall To Pieces is emotive and tender - while the Monkees-era tracks Conversations (formerly titled "Carlisle Wheeling Effervescent Popsicle" - no, seriously!!) and Listen To The Band may as well have been completely new tracks as they are such a departure from their original recordings.
If you don't have any Michael Nesmith solo material in your collection, it's really time to start. No matter what your feelings towards country, rock, blues or bluesy country rock, or rockin' country blues, or country bluesey rock... you will absolutely adore this CD and will likely need another copy for when you've worn your original copy out!!! I promise!
on 4 August 2014
At one point or other, I remember reading, Mike had the plan of making a Star Wars type trilogy of trilogies. The first trilogy (hence The First National Band) would explore the music of the past, the second trilogy would be music of the present and the third would be futuristic. He was after all studying music history at UCLA at the time. Of course this wildly ambitious scheme didn't quite happen but at least we do have the first trilogy and the first of the second part. They're all good but these first two albums are the best of all. Magnetic South is just perfect, as refreshing as a mountain stream; and Loose Salute is great in a different way, sometimes movingly profounder (Conversations) but for me never quite achieving the same non-stop euphoria as Magnetic South ('cept maybe.around Tengo Amore/Listen to the Band/ByeByeBye).
In Magnetic South, above all, the multi-millionaire much-wed Nesmith spontaneously achieved the kind of rare dignified musical honesty that he sought: the "clearly defined musical position - A pure approach to what they have sung and written - free from euphemisms and alive with their own emotions" that he discovered in Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and the Beatles among others.
It helped, of course, having a terrific strong TexMex voice and significant country-style guitar skills. But the songs are amazing anyway, marvellous standards ("One Rose") or his own compositions. Mike could be funny, tender, satiric, philosophical, sentimental but that voice makes you believe in every word. He combined intelligence with down-to-earthness and the results can be heart-piercing.
"But staying with her and my little bit of wisdom
Broke down her desires like a light through a prism"
Sometimes the result might make you smile ("when the phoenix of our love first flapped its silken wings") but always the natural dignity and the strength of feeling carries it off. This is very special music.
"Feels like it's my first time high!"
on 12 July 2013
Magnetic South is an extraordinary piece of work. Although Nesmith is rightly credited as one of the pioneers of country rock, he took a very different path to the other artists, like Gram Parsons (of the Flying Burrito Bros), who have been more lauded and loved by music journalists. Their take on modern country was the more traditional mix of wild drinking, women and ego. Their sound and words were really a post-hippy slant on the genre. Nesmith’s lyrics did not involve the traditional themes at all and his sound is quite unique — in fact all Nesmith’s work sounds only like Nesmith. The songs and the musical landscape are quite beautiful, almost a pure expression of decent values and heartfelt thoughts. The contribution of pedal steel player O.J. Red Rhodes (who played on all of Nesmith’s first 8 solo albums) cannot be understated. This is country music as you’ve never heard it, and it could be argued this isn’t country music at all. Indeed, Nesmith has often argued that he wasn’t producing country music at all — although he can often contradict himself. No, this is Nesmith music, and when you have a Texas voice, employ a steel gulitar — and do the odd Jimmy Rogers song with some yodelling, its easy to get confused. But this is simply Nesmith bending the genre to suit his work, which has as much of a latin feel as it does country. If you like trad country and themes of bar fights, infidelity and male ego this isn’t for you. If you want to hear gorgeous love songs, sublime singing and a unique soundscape give it a try.
on 17 January 2001
These were the 1st two post Monkees albums and they still sound competent. Individually I'd give them 4 stars each but as a package its great value and a good 5 star bet. The sleeve notes are good too.
on 17 November 2010
Here they are!! "Magnetic South" and "Loose Salute", TOGETHER plus a fun bonus track "First National Dance"! My brother and I absolutely wore out the LP's in 1970-1971.
What a cool cover photo, and deluxe packaging. I paid about $25 in a local music store years ago for this CD. And was glad to do it, so delighted to see this terrific music on CD.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mike's early solo output, let me just say that it's an exhilirating blend of what I would call country/pop/rock fusion. That great ballad "Joanne", the magnificent "Silver Moon", a rousing version of "Beyond The Blue Horizon", and a tasty cover of "I Fall To Pieces", among 22 or so awesome tracks.
If your taste in music includes Mike's Monkees output, Pure Prairie League, Eagles, Poco, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, that kind of stuff, RUN, don't walk, and buy this CD. Who knows how long it'll be available, and especially at this price! It's RCA Camden Deluxe, and it sounds fantastic! This is Mike Nesmith at his finest...groundbreaking and trendsetting great music. Quite possibly the best music you've seldom heard. If I could, I'd give this CD 10 stars. Mike and The First National Band....Wow!
on 27 December 2011
Wonderful CD, came quickly and in great condition. Didn't ever think I would find this CD anywhere. It made my wifes christmas, will use amazon in future to find more mike nesmith stuff.
on 31 May 2015
his best two albums in one package...better than his later stuff
on 22 July 2015
Great albums from a great artist. Loving the tunes