Love That Album Ep. 142: Michael Nesmith and the First National Band "Magnetic South"


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So many musicians have become popular based on one thing the caught the public's imagination. Daring to try something different artistically could be a “bad career move”. Of course, some musicians might have been “hiding in plain sight” with their real artistic ambitions all along.

Welcome to episode 142 of Love That Album, the first episode for 2021.

Michael Nesmith along with Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz spent the latter half of the sixties rallying against the image bequeathed on them by NBC and Don Kirshner. The Monkees wanted to show that they could be (and were) a real band. Right from the start, Mike would infuse his own songwriting with his love of country music.

However, country is only a small part of the Monkees' own sound. When he announced he was quitting (4 days after McCartney announced The Beatles were no more), he already had plans for his next ensemble, The First National Band. Over a period of a little over a year, they released three brilliant albums, allowing Nesmith to finally make his approach to country music the focus.

I am joined by musician, songwriter, comedian and regular co host on All Time Top Ten Podcast, Joe Lavelle to look at the first of those First National Band albums, Magnetic South. Of course we look at a range of things peripheral to the album like The Monkees (duh!), the real origins of country rock, being a musician known for comedy (and a pioneer in music video), Brazil and the link between Magnetic South and Star Trek.

It took a year to get around to this episode (I move slower than zombies in a George Romero film), but it was worth it. Joe is a great conversation partner – something you'd know if you've heard him on the ATTT podcast. It was a pleasure and privilege for me to finally have him on the show.

You can find the music for his jazz ensemble Brandy Sidecar at

Ben Eisen's All Time Top Ten podcast can be found at

Download this episode of LTA from Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes (search for “Love That Album podcast”).

Love That Album is proudly part of the Pantheon Podcast network. Go to to check out all their great shows.

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