Famously, The Monkees started as a band created for a TV show – they were sometimes referred to as the Prefab Four. But as their career progressed, they asserted more influence over their career. On their third album, Headquarters, The Monkees played most of the instruments themselves, becoming almost a self-contained band. The two musicians in the group, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith, continued to play on Monkees records, but Mickey Dolenz largely gave up the drums.
‘Goin’ Down’ is taken from the sessions from the band’s fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.. It was released as the b-side to the #1 single ‘Daydream Believer’. The group took the chord progression from Mose Allison’s ‘Parchman Farm’. They handed their piece to songwriter Diane Hildebrand. and asked her to write lyrics. She wrote about a man, distraught about the end of a relationship had ended, who jumps into the river. Fortunately, there’s a happy ending.
Just movin’ slow and floatin’ free
There’s a river swinging under me
Waving back to the folks on shore
I should have thought of this before
I’m floatin’ on down to New Orleans
And pick up on some swingin’ scenes
It’s a lot of effort for a non-album single – it’s detour into big band jazz with an impressive Dolenz lead vocal. Wrecking Crew member Bud Brisbois contributed the trumpet solo.
‘Goin’ Down’ was featured on a 2012 episode of Breaking Bad, bringing it to a new audience. It was also added to later editions of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.