Artichokes and roses

One last thing I loved about Michael Nesmith was his quirky habit of giving songs names that never appear in the lyrics.

My favorite group, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, covered two Nesmith tunes in their masterpiece album, Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy. The LP begins with “Some of Shelley’s Blues,” which has the refrain “You settle down and stay with the boy who loves you.” No one named Shelley is mentioned in the song, which is country rock, not blues. Also on that album is “Propinquity,” with the refrain “I’ve known you for a long time, but I’ve just begun to care.” As for the title of the song, you won’t find it in the lyrics.

I mentioned “Papa Gene’s Blues” on Monday, and there you have it again: No papa, no Gene, no blues in the song. And who can forget the immortal “Tapioca Tundra”? “It cannot be a part of me, for now it’s part of you.” But no tapioca to be found, and no tundra.

His songs were fun and breezy and quirky and fun. Just like the Monkees, I think he will be more and more appreciated as time goes on. 

Silhouettes and figures stay close to what he had to say, and one more time the faded dream is saddened by the news.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of It's Going to Be All Right, Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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