I remembered earlier today that there was only one Monkees song that I half-liked — “Mary Mary,” which was written by Michael Nesmith. The lyrics are banal (obviously) and Micky Dolenz‘s voice could make anything sound insipid, but I love the instrumental track, which was performed by the legendary Wrecking Crew (James Burton, Glen Campbell, Al Casey, Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon, Michael Deasy, Larry Knechtel.).
The song was recorded on 7.25.66 at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California. The cut was released on “More of the Monkees” in January ’67.
I won’t dispute that the Paul Butterfield Blues Band‘s version, released as a cut on East-West in August ’66, is heads and shoulders above the Monkees’ version. With the exact same lyrics the Butterfield track sounds cool and lamenting — a downbeat adult song about a hurtin’ relationship. The irony (curiosity?) is that Nesmith didn’t receive a song-writing credit on East-West.