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The Stone Poneys “Different Drum” b/w “I’ve Got to Know” Capitol Records 2004, September 1967

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Have you ever watched a live band and noticed the drums and bass in your left ear, the guitar and keyboards in your right ear, imaged in empty gymnasium like reverb? Yeah, neither have I. And that's one reason why I dislike most stereo mixes from the '60s. I do love geeking out on comparing stereo and mono mixes from '67 and '68, and will gladly let you know which albums you need both versions of, and which stereo versions need to be avoided.

But in the case of Linda Ronstadt's first hit, the Stone Poneys' "Different Drum," the mono mix is far superior (though Capitol seemed to have a habit of rolling off the high end from its singles). The instruments are too spread on the stereo version and the overdubbed strings sometimes overtake Linda's vocals. However, it does have a longer harpsichord bridge. The mono version is beautifully balanced. You're best bet is to find a mono Evergreen Vol. 2 LP, which features this song.

"Different Drum" gave Tucson a proud moment on the national charts in the fall of 1967 (the band, you'll note, was co-founded by Tucsonan Bobby Kimmel), hitting No. 1 on the West Coast. The Ronstadt family, of course, have a long, fruitful relationship with Tucson, and Linda's success was, and still is celebrated.  This song, penned by Monkee Michael Nesmith was first recorded by bluegrass band The Greenbriar Boys in 1966. Nesmith didn't release his own version until 1972, though he parodied a tidbit of the tune on a Monkees episode.

Lee Joseph grew up in Tucson. He's a DJ (Luxuriamusic.com), marketer of cool shit (Reverberations Media) and founder/CEO of internationally respected Dionysus Records, an indie that has long specialized in releasing super-rare music, and more. He came of age in the first wave of Tucson punk rock and is an expert on Tucson music. He now lives in California. Vintage Vinyl is a recurring column in the Tucson Weekly.

Stone Poneys' stereo version of "Different Drum":

Mono version: 


The Monkees' Nesmith goofing on "Different Drum":

The Greenbriar Boys' "Different Drum":


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