Michael Nesmith’s First National Band Albums Set for Reissue
Sundazed Records are reissuing the first three albums by the First National Band on March 23. Since they were first released almost five decades ago, the records have often been cited as cornerstones of the country-rock genre.
As early as the first Monkees album, Nesmith had been contributing songs that had their roots in country music. Upon his departure from the Monkees at the end of 1969, he explored this style more fully with the First National Band. After The Monkees TV show was canceled, the group recorded a few more albums, but by the time of the October 1969 release of The Monkees Present, singer and guitarist Nesmith left to pursue his own music with the First National Band.
Magnetic South, Loose Salute and Nevada Fighter were all recorded and released in a span of less than 12 months, from early 1970 to early 1971. The three titles will be issued on colored vinyl with fully restored artwork. The debut, Magnetic South, includes the song “Joanne,” a hit for Nesmith upon its release that reached No. 21; Loose Salute, the second album, contains another modest hit, “Silver Moon,” which just missed the Top 40.
The band featured Nesmith on guitar and vocals, John London on bass, drummer John Ware and O.J. "Red" Rhodes on pedal steel guitar. The First National Band would, along with the Flying Burrito Brothers, set the template for much of the California country-rock sound that became hugely successful with bands like the Eagles in the '70s.
Nesmith has recently put together a new First National Band for a series of concerts made up of songs from these three records.