Rick Nelson in a still from his ‘Don’t Make Promises’ video
I was rolling around in my iPod – much like Scrooge McDuck rolling around in hundred dollar bills – when what should I come upon but tracks I’d recorded from Rick Nelson’s 1967 ‘change of pace’ LP, ‘Another Side of Rick’.
My love for this record goes back to the mid-80s, when I was passed a bootleg VHS of 1960s music video, culled from various TV dance parties, variety shows and a few purpose-made, primitive rock videos.
One of the clips included was Rick Nelson performing my all-time favorite Tim Hardin song, ‘Don’t Make Promises’ (written up here was back in 2007).
Not long after that, I managed to find a copy of the album where that recording originated.
Rick Nelson is an interesting example of a guy who is much more musically interesting than many people would give him credit for, thanks in large part to his early years as a TV star/teen idol.
His early catalog is filled with quality rock’n’roll – and the occasional blinding bit of rockabilly – and his later years feature some of the best country rock of the era.
‘Another Side of Rick’ fell in between those two eras, during a time where Nelson, like so many of his contemporariesm was trying to stay relevant.
While he certainly wasn’t morphing into Jimi Hendrix, he was making some excellent mid-60s pop rock, and as you’ll see with today’s selection, dabbling in popsike.
Co-written by Nelson and his longtime sideman (and guitar whiz) James Burton, and arranged and produced by Jimmie Haskell and Jack Nitzsche, ‘Marshmallow Skies’ is a mellow, sitar-infused bit of Southern California pop.
Pushed along gently by nicely baroque orchestration and a subtly applied rhythm section, ‘Marshmallow Skies’ wouldn’t seem out of place on an LP by Donovan or late-period Chad and Jeremy.
There are those out there that don’t dig this album (or this song),but I think you ought to give it a chance.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you next week.