Friday, May 20, 2011

Listen To The Band * A Monkee Music Break!

Peter Tork & The New Monks - Pleasant Valley Sunday

Having kicked the drugs and booze in the early 80s, Monkee Peter Tork moved his musical career down another path... finally becoming a recording artist. Up until this point, the most musical Monkee (that's an alliteration!) had released ZILCH (sly reference) as far as recordings go. He whipped together an early kind of proto-punk combo, with an intentional nod to his noteriety, called Peter Tork & The New Monks. Peter's only 45 release (sorry, had to get another reference in there!) popped up on a small vanity label called Claude's Music Works. It featured a fantastic banjo and violin driven version of the Jackie Wilson Classic, "Higher & Higher." Peter really and truly shined here. It showed his potential as an artist. Sadly, Peter admits to have had an undiagnosed case of attention deficit disorder which stifled his interest and output. Flip the 45 and you'll find a new-wavey take on the Boyce & Hart written "Steppin' Stone." Sounding a bit dated now, it still is a fine piece of music loaded with early 80's synthesizer sounds. Why they never broke as an underground cult combo is quite puzzling.

As a performing band, The New Monks would cut a number of tracks that would ultimately become the demo tape Pete would send to bars to get gigs. During this same time-frame, Peter cut some demos for Sire records, including another Monkee classic, Pleasant Valley Sunday." He recorded this and Higher & Higher, two different times. Here's his pleasant take on the Goffin & King classic, Pleasant Valley Sunday. Enjoy Peter Percival Patterson's Pleasant Valley!

Proud papa Pete & daughter Hallie during the
photo session for the Claude Music Works 45
picture sleeve. Cute photo!

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