Search - Michael Nesmith :: Prison

Michael Nesmith
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1

2008 digitally remastered and remixed edition of Nesmith's groundbreaking album comes packaged with CD sized book, both housed in a slipcase. In 1974 Nesmith broke entirely new ground by issuing this 'book with a soundtrac...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Michael Nesmith
Title: Prison
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Edsel Records UK
Release Date: 9/26/2002
Album Type: Import
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Folk Rock, Country Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 740155300234


Album Description
2008 digitally remastered and remixed edition of Nesmith's groundbreaking album comes packaged with CD sized book, both housed in a slipcase. In 1974 Nesmith broke entirely new ground by issuing this 'book with a soundtrack'. The idea is simply to read the book whilst listening to the record, both elements complementing the other. Michael has revised the text of the story and for this release has also completely remixed and remastered the album from the original multi-track tapes. As a listening experience it is now quite different from the original 1974 album release. As a member of the first-ever manufactured group, Michael Nesmith needs little introduction. Aside from his ground-breaking projects in the field of music video and film production, he has enjoyed a solo career since he left the Monkees that has encompassed many styles of music, but has always been supported by his wonderful songwriting. Edsel.

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CD Reviews

Celestial Beauty Reached
Michael Daly | Wakefield, MA USA | 08/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a difficult album to listen to if you're not familiar with Michael Nesmith beyond his days with The Monkees. Conceived as the soundtrack to a short story authored by Mike in the album's liner notes, Mike Nesmith reaches beyond where any pop-country artist would dare go in the use of synthesizers to create the infinate wall of sound quality of symphonic orchestras combining with the close-range intimacy of a guitarist. The whole point of the album is to listen at the same time as reading the story, a fusion of senses that Mike readily admits in the notes to the 1990s reissue is anything but an easy task to accomplish.

But story or not, it is the sheer atmosphere and grooves of the music that captures the listener and compels him to stay through every last note. Mike uses synthesizers with such cunning smartness it is a wonder the tactic has not been used, or used well, since. It is the second track, Dance Between The Raindrops, that really establishes the mezmerizing mood of the album; as the most openly country-esque track, it makes the best use of Red Rhodes' pedal steel in the instrumental portion of the song's body, while a nice soft rock groove is hit in Elusive Ragings before downshifting to a mildly religious groove and the return of Red Rhodes in Waking Mystery, then a slow cowboy groove in Hear Me Calling, all tracks that serve as a strong message to the melancholy to overcome fears and get going.

The somewhat overblown Marie's Theme gets off to a strong start and might have been the best track on the album, except it suffers from a fade that is several minutes too long as well as repeated vocals that begin grating on the listener. A similar flaw hurts the ending of the album's closer, Lampost, hurting what is otherwise the album's most soaring track; the synthesizers simulate orchestral strings throughout and interplay with Mike's guitar groove perfectly, fading out during the lengthy outro down to Mike's guitar riff that finally begins to die down but takes an excruciatingly long time to finally complete itself. A few judicious edits should have been called for here, but such are nits to pick on Mike's most artistically ambitious project ever.
What was Nesmith thinking?
greyhoundude | Corvallis, OR | 04/19/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The original issue of THE PRISON (1974) was an ambitious, book-with-a-soundtrack contraption which was far ahead of its time. Musically, Nesmith explored new territory, leaving his progressive country/rock experiments in rear-view mirror land. Red Rhodes was still on board, as was Second National Band member (keyboardist) Michael Cohen. Percussion was provided by Roland Rhythm 77 (get it?). Those folks, together with Nesmith's guitar, created a "philosophy meets folk-rock" LP that sounded a whole lot better than it should have. I'm glad I still have the LP. A solid 4-star album. the early 1990's, Nesmith finally issued THE PRISON on CD. Sort of. For the CD release, and for reasons known only to Nesmith, he totally remixed the album, adding completely unnecessary GODAWFUL strings and synthesizers to many of the songs, rendering them painfully ordinary. Instruments clearly heard on the original version of the LP are now MIA, replaced with newly added synthesizers and those GODAWFUL strings. I guess they're strings. They may just be more synthesizers. At any rate, THE PRISON is now reduced to a below average new age album, and who needs that?

My LP's still in good shape. I'll be transferring it to CD shortly.

What was he thinking??
Dirk Diggler | Florida | 08/07/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Mike Nesmith, even back in the days of the Monkees, was a great songwriter. This CD is a concept album. Kinda like Pink Floyds "The Wall" but not as good. It tells a story. The disc comes with a CD mini-book that you are supposed to read as you listen to the music.(That's what it says). Problem is, the music has lyrics, and I have a hard time reading and listening to lyrics at the same time. So I'm like , WTF???
It's not a bad disc but, it's different. Cool idea, I guess but...WTF??"