Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Monkees: Head Deluxe Edition Box Set (2010 Release) - Disc 2


The second disc, titled "Outtakes And Rarities," contains mostly previously unreleased material, including some live recordings of Michael Nesmith songs.

Rhino is releasing excellent versions of The Monkees LPs, with lots of bonus material. This year already saw the release of the deluxe edition of the band's fifth album, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. And now Rhino has put out an incredible box set of The Monkees' sixth album, Head.

This box set includes three discs, a book, a button, and a 45 single containing instrumental versions of "Porpoise Song" and "As We Go Along," two of the album's best songs. It also has the mirror cover, as did the original LP release (other re-releases have had silver and grey covers).

Head is the soundtrack to The Monkees film of the same name, which came out in 1968. The film was originally to be titled Changes (which interestingly would be the name of the final studio release of The Monkees - well, "final" until the reunion in the 1980s).

The first disc contains the original album and several bonus tracks. The second disc is all bonus material. Most of the tracks on the second disc were previously unreleased.

The second disc opens with a promotional spot that mimics the "Opening Ceremony" track from the soundtrack. It has voices saying "Coming" and "Soon" as well as "Head."

"Porpoise Song"

This disc contains two versions of the "Porpoise Song." The first is the single version. The single didn't fare well on the charts, reaching only #62. It was released in September of 1968, before the film. It includes the great ending, which is not on the album version. Yes, it's one of those cases of the single being longer than the album version.

The second version is a rough mono mix. Micky's vocals are emphasized a bit more on this mix. This version also includes the ending.

"Ditty Diego - War Chant"
There are a couple versions of "Ditty Diego" on this disc, both previously unreleased. The first is a mono mix. The second is a very strange mix with some silly parlor-type piano work.

"Circle Sky"

There are three versions of "Circle Sky," that great rock tune written by Michael Nesmith. The first version is a mono mix that has the vocals up slightly more than the original mix, and has a different ending.

The second version is an alternate mono mix which is closer to the original version in that Mike's vocals are too low. But the instrumentation is different, and pretty wild.
The third version is a live recording (see below).

"Can You Dig It"

The first version of "Can You Dig It" on this disc is a mono mix with some interesting variations from the original.

The second has Peter Tork singing lead. He wrote the song, after all, and was originally going to sing it in the film. But Bert Schneider (the executive producer) thought it made sense for Micky to sing it, given its placement in the film. This track was also released on the 1994 issue of Head.

The third version is the actual mix heard in the film. For some reason this was previously unreleased.

"As We Go Along"
This disc contains the single version of the beautiful "As We Go Along." This was the flip side to "Porpoise Song," released in 1968. This is one of the best songs The Monkees ever recorded.

Here is a taste of the lyrics: "Open your eyes/Get up off your chair/There's so much to do in the sunlight/Give up your secrets/And let down your hair/And sit with me here by the firelight." And the title comes from the line, "We'll make up our story as we go along."

"Daddy's Song"

The second disc contains three different versions of the wonderful "Daddy's Song." The first is a mono mix that was previously unreleased. It has the abrupt false ending, then kicks back in for a moment, but does not have the slow verse.

The second version of "Daddy's Song" features Mike Nesmith singing lead rather than Davy Jones. His vocals on this track sound similar to what he did on "Magnolia Simms" off The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. This track was previously issued on the 1994 version of Head.
The third is the actual version of "Daddy's Song" from the film. Finally. Why did we have to wait forty-two years to get this? Who knows, but here it is, complete with the slow verse. Wonderful.

"Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again"
There are two versions of "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again" on the second disc. The first is a mono mix, which emphasizes more clearly the rock aspects of this song.

The second is a great raw rock version, with a long instrumental section. It's an excellent rendition. Both versions were not previously released. "Long Title" was written by Peter Tork.

Live Tracks

There is a concert segment in the film Head, in which The Monkees perform "Circle Sky," and then are torn apart by fans. To shoot this, the production went to Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City, and filled the venue with fans of the band. In addition to "Circle Sky," the band performed three other songs, all of which are originally from Headquarters (1967). All four songs were written and sung by Michael Nesmith.

The first track is actually a radio DJ giving direction to the extras playing the Monkees fans, telling them not to come up on the stage, and not to rush into the aisle. For some reason, he also tells them, "The film is Untitled. That's the name of it."

The crowd is led in a cheer, "We want The Monkees." The audience has trouble getting it together, but eventually they get it right. By the way, this cheer is included in the film. This track is more than eight minutes long.

The second live track is "You Just May Be The One." Despite a lot of crowd noise, this is a good rendition. After the song, Davy talks about the filming, and urges the extras to keep quiet between songs so that the crew can talk. Peter then leads the crowd in the "War" chant, which is included in the film.

The third live track is "Sunny Girlfriend." The vocals sound messed up at times. It seems that it's Davy's backing vocal microphone that is causing the trouble. But it's great that this track is included in this box set.

The fourth live track is "You Told Me." It begins with just bass and drums, and sounds really cool. Then Peter Tork plays a bit of banjo. And it's after that that the song actually starts, and yes, Peter is on banjo for this rendition.

The final live track is "Circle Sky." This is the only live song heard in the film, and it's also the only live track that has been previously released. It was first issued on 1979's Monkeemania: 40 Timeless Hits From The Monkees and then also on Missing Links Volume Two (1990).

"California, Here It Comes"

The second disc concludes with a very strange number titled "California, Here It Comes." It was written by Buddy DeSylva, Al Jolson and Joseph Meyer, and is actually titled "California, Here I Come." It was written for the 1921 Broadway musical Bombo.

This version begins with a heartbeat, which increases in pace and continues throughout the track. A voice repeats, "The end." And then Peter Tork sings, "California, here it comes/Right back where it started from." Peter also plays banjo on this song.

Hidden Tracks

There are two hidden tracks on this CD. Both are promotional spots, and neither is listed anywhere in the booklet that accompanies the discs. The first is between tracks 14 and 15, and contains a bit of "As We Go Along." It also mentions, "This picture has been rated G."

It's interesting to note the changing attitudes of the film ratings board. If this film were released today, it would most likely get a rating of PG-13 or possibly even R, for it has footage of an actual execution, plus suicide attempts and drug use. Apparently the children of 1968 could handle this, but the children of 2010 cannot.

The second hidden track is between tracks 16 and 17, and this promotional spot emphasizes how the film incorporates various genres into its structure. It includes bits of "As We Go Along" and "Porpoise Song," the two songs from the album's single.

CD Track List

  1. Head Promo "Coming Soon"
  2. Porpoise Song (Mono Single Mix)
  3. Ditty Diego - War Chant (Mono Mix)
  4. Circle Sky (Mono Mix)
  5. Can You Dig It (Mono Mix)
  6. As We Go Along (Mono Single Mix)
  7. Daddy's Song (Mono Mix)
  8. Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again (Mono Mix)
  9. Porpoise Song (Rough Mono Mix)
  10. Ditty Diego (Alternate Version)
  11. Circle Sky (Alternate Mono Mix)
  12. Can You Dig It (Peter's Vocal)
  13. Daddy's Song (Mike's Vocal)
  14. Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again (Rough Mix Acetate)
  15. Can You Dig It (Mono Movie Mix)
  16. Daddy's Song (Mono Movie Mix)
  17. Head Promo "Now Playing"
  18. Introduction To Live Show
  19. You Just May Be The One (Live)
  20. Sunny Girlfriend (Live)
  21. You Told Me (Live)
  22. Circle Sky (Live)
  23. California, Here It Comes

This CD is the second disc in the Deluxe Edition Box Set of Head. Disc 1 contains the album and ten bonus tracks. The third disc contains an interview with Davy Jones. This box set was released through Rhino on October 26, 2010.

(Note: I originally posted this on November 4, 2010 on another website that no longer exists.)

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