Sunday, June 21, 2009

Head (The Monkees album) - 1968

Head is the soundtrack to the band's first and only theatrical release, Head. It was The Monkees' sixth album and their last to feature Peter Tork, until 1987's Pool It!.

The original issue of the record featured a front cover with a surface of aluminized PET film, meant to reflect the listener's "head" (face) back at them. With the movie having only a limited release (and virtually no publicity), the point was largely lost, and while the cover was innovative for its time, manufacturing was problematic; Micky Dolenz recalled years later that the cover was "actually ruining the printing presses at RCA!" A 1980s reissue from Rhino Records was less problematic by using foil paper instead, the end result less reflective than the original. The presently in-print CD from Rhino has a grey cover that is not reflective at all.

Showing the growing influence of Frank Zappa on the Monkees' circle (Zappa even has a cameo role as "The Critic" in the film itself), the soundtrack album intersperses the six proper songs ("Porpoise Song," "Circle Sky," "Can You Dig It?," "As We Go Along," "Daddy's Song" and "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?") with bits of Ken Thorne's incidental music, dialogue fragments and oddball sound effects, for an overall effect surprisingly close to Zappa's Lumpy Gravy.

The selection of music and dialogue approximates the flow of the movie itself, and was compiled by actor Jack Nicholson, who cowrote the film's shooting script. Nicholson recalled in Monkee Mania how he observed Michael Nesmith working on the album in the studio, asked if he could try some editing, and Nesmith let Nicholson take over the session, because "I just want to go home!".


marram62 said...

marram62 said...

Side 1

* Opening Ceremony

1. "Porpoise Song (Theme from Head)" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)
2. "Ditty Diego-War Chant" (Jack Nicholson, Bob Rafelson)
3. "Circle Sky" (Nesmith)
* Supplicio
4. "Can You Dig It?" (Tork)
* Gravy

Side 2

* Superstitious

1. "As We Go Along" (Carole King, Toni Stern)
* Dandruff?
2. "Daddy's Song" (Harry Nilsson)
* Poll
3. "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?" (Tork)
* Swami-Plus Strings (Ken Thorne)

. said...

I love this album to bits. I first bought it as a second-hand rarity in - oooh - the early seventies. This was the white cover UK version. I wore that out and bought another. I rally actually wore it out, learning it by heart. The comparison you make with Lumpy Gravy is spot-on - that's another of my favouritist most bestest albums. The movie is unutterably fab, too. The CD release has a bunch of great extry tracks, but not (inexplicably) the extended 45 version of Porpoise Song (their finest moment). Oh yeah - I have the foil-cover Rhino album release too, which does have the extended Porpoise Song.
Word verification (and I'm not kidding): hyperson