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Tropical Campfires

Michael NesmithAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, 1994 $14.83  
Audio CD, 1994 --  
Audio Cassette, 1994 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 29, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music & VI
  • ASIN: B000008IVG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,199 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Yellow Butterfly
2. Laugh Kills Lonesome
3. Moon Over The Rio Grande
4. One...
5. Juliana
6. Brazil
7. In The Still Of The Night
8. Rising In Love
9. Begin The Beguine
10. I Am Not That
11. ...For The Island
12. Twilight On The Trail

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was stunned to learn it was Nesmith. March 6, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I am old enough to remember watching the Monkees on Saturday morning TV when they were still touring. I liked their music but wasn't a huge fan.

Flash forward 35 years. I am in an airport killing time in a bookstore when I hear "Begin the Beguine" playing overhead. I am entranced. I ask the manager what CD he is playing and he pulls out a cassette cover of "Tropical Campfires." I am stunned to find out it is Michael Nesmith. I tell him I think this is great stuff and he says that he plays it because people don't know it exists or how good it is. I leave the store and later buy the CD.

I define a 5 star purchase as one that you play over and over again. Then a few years pass and you play it again and it still inspires you and lights up your nerve endings the way it did the first time you heard it. That's what this CD does for me. To be honest, I have to agree with the other reviewer that Nesmith is not a great singer. In fact, the song that grabbed me, "Begin the Beguine," is probably the worst vocal on the whole CD. But there is a paradox here. This is precisely why I love it. Sometimes a popular song leaves you unmoved when the great vocalists sing it. You just don't "get it." Then along come somebody with a new arrangement or vocal interpretation and suddenly it comes alive for you. This is what happened to me with "Begin the Beguine." Nesmith obviously loves this material and sings and performs it with such passion and enthusiasm that it automatically induces joy in the listener. Just like I didn't "get" opera until I heard Andrea Bocelli, (and truth be told, technically he is a second rate tenor). He is no Pavarotti. Had he been trained from youth he might have been first rate. But no matter.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I didn't quite know what to expect from Mike Nesmith's 1992 long-player, but when "Yellow Butterfly" wrapped up, I knew this was going to be his very best solo effort. Hooking up with a brand-new backing band and strikingly effective Dolby stereo, Mike and CMA-winning pedal steel maestro Orville "Red" Rhodes compose and conduct a long-player of often-stunning heart and pull.
For Red Rhodes, it was somewhat courageous to weave into pedal steel again, as previous health problems had seriously curtailed his musical efforts. It would also be something of a last hurrah, as he would pass on some three years after the end of "Tropical Campfire's" sessions
"Yellow Butterfly" is the most contemporary country number of the album. The next number, the Charlie Russell-influenced "Laugh Kills Lonesome," is a humorous Miami Sound Machine-flavored Tex-Mex number, followed by the slow-and-steady ballad "Moon Over The Rio Grande."
"One...." is an instrumental effort, and also a telegraph, for the exact rhythm flows directly into the much-later "....For The Island."
Sandwiched between is the most haunting number of the album, "Juliana." As Mike does not double-track his vocals here, the excellent Micky Dolenz harmony illusion is thus not to be found, but the backing band make up for it with their own harmonies throughout the album, and are at their best with "Juliana.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt . . . March 20, 2003
By Mich
Format:Audio CD
Michael Nesmith continues to astound. It's been a long long time since he was the gangly stork hiding behind his green wool hat and twelve-string. Since the end of the Monkees he's been a country-rock founding father, the innovator (or one of the innovators) of MTV, a grammy winner for his video "Elephant Parts," and throughout has continued to be a consummate songwriter and musician.
His musical tastes and influences are as eccentric and eclectic as he is, moving from folk and pop music to country to experimental, back to rock and roll and now, with "....tropical campfires...." to a mix of sounds with a distinctly Latin flavor.
The album starts with a warm, meandering tune called "Yellow Butterfly"--Nez's vocals are soft and understated; his voice has aged here, but aged well, the youthful power having yielded to a more mature sound, one that sings and speaks with the ease of experience. "Laugh Kills Lonesome" is an upbeat tune that swings with the sound of John Hobbs's agile piano. Nez lends his silky voice to the Cole Porter works "In the Still of the Night" and "Begin the Beguine." The vocals on "Brazil" are amazing--for myself it represents the struggle not to slide to the floor; the man's voice is sexy, no doubt about that.
In short (as I realize I have only covered half the songs), the album offers something for everyone. You won't find any hard rock here, but you will find smooth, rich sound delivered by the soulful voice of the man once referred to (JUST once) as Woolhat.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Recording!!!!! April 17, 2006
By Andrew
Format:Audio CD
I first heard this recording over ten years ago and loved it then and still do. I just recieved my new copy from a few days ago. I must say "Tropical Campfires" is still good after all these years. Personally, when it regards everything that I've heard of his, I think that this recording is his most solid recording.The Song "Juliana" is the best track on the recording, and I see it as the new "Joanne".I would suggest that any music lover with taste should buy this recording because:

1. The songs are well written.

2. Nesmith's band is godly.

3. Orville "Red" Rhodes plays the Steel guitar beautifully.

4. Nesmith sings well.

5. The song "Twilight On the Trail" should be a classic country standard like Willie Nelson's "Crazy".

6. The two part instrumental "One.....For the Island" is breath taking.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This not monkey music
This is a great album, I lost my first disc and had to buy it again. I just saw him in concert in Milwaukee, WI and he was wonderful. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Karen Mattson
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful piece of work
I have owned this album since 1992, and I love it as much now as I did then. This is seriously some of the best music I have ever heard in my life.... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jason P.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Nesmith's best
Great album all around. Nesmith fans probably have it; everyone else: You won't be disappointed. Country, light swing, easy-listening, rock 'n' roll all combine into an outstanding... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Stuart Allen Snyder
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Papa Nes' best works
Originally written on March 19, 2012, but posted in the wrong place:

When I was looking through the various Michael Nesmith CDs, aside from "best-of" compilations, the... Read more
Published on May 11, 2012 by steve_manassas
3.0 out of 5 stars He left The Monkees for this?
Mike always had in my opinion, the best songs when he was with the Monkees. He was young, hungry, and ambitious. And then came his solo career. Read more
Published on April 7, 2012 by S. H. Newport
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Papa Nes' best works
When I was looking through the various Michael Nesmith CDs, aside from "best-of" compilations, the consensus seemed to be that TROPICAL CAMPFIRES was his best work. Read more
Published on March 19, 2012 by steve_manassas
I just bought this cd the other day, imported it from the US, and I have to say that Mike Nesmith is one talented fellow. These songs are quirky and catchy. Read more
Published on June 2, 2010 by Pommy, Kiwi Celt
5.0 out of 5 stars Nesmith's Masterpiece
In the late 1990s, I decided to rediscover the Monkees. I was just a kid, after all, in the 1960s then they were at their peak. Read more
Published on August 22, 2009 by Gord o' The Books
5.0 out of 5 stars All time classic
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but Charles Levinson must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed the day he listened to this one. Read more
Published on January 11, 2009 by Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadly overlooked artist
I was shocked to see this album had a three-star review. Then I realized that the first reviewer is clearly without taste. Read more
Published on October 7, 2007 by HistoryBuff
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