Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLIX: Here Comes The Night

July 20th, 2017

Image result for here comes the night beach boy

This song may be best known (or notorious) as the disco megamix on LA Light Album, but in it’s better incarnation, it was one of the R&B flavored originals that made Wild Honey such a breath of fresh air. Wild Honey saw the resumption of the Brian Wilson and Mike Love songwriting partnership, and the combination of music and lyrics works well, driven by Brian’s soulful late 60s voice. The disco mix dredged out all the original soul of the track, but as in many cases, the original is the best.

A Double Billboard

July 14th, 2017

1967 Sunshine Tomorrow.jpg The Billboard top 200 albums chart is graced by two Beach Boys albums this week -including the Sunshine Tomorrow compilation coming in at #145. If that still sounds a bit underwhelming, remember Sunflower only made #151 as it’s highest chart placing. While it may not match the Beatles impressive chart achievements this year in the light of Sgt. Pepper’s 50th anniversary, the chart entries show that there is a demand for the Beach Boys, and especially for their much underrated post-SMilE 1967 work.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXLVIII: Honey Get Home

July 12th, 2017

1967 Sunshine Tomorrow.jpg

If one needs any further evidence that Brian was still in a rich vein of creativity in post-SMiLE 1967, one just needs to look at the Wild Honey outtakes. Honey Get Home is clearly not fully-formed but has enough interesting moments to warrant further investigation. Remember these outtakes include Can’t Wait Too Long, Cool Cool Water and Time To Get Alone , and there is also the uncredited Lonely Days, which has possible Brian involvement.

The Beginning Of A New Era

July 7th, 2017

1967 Sunshine Tomorrow.jpgThose who have been following this blog over the past years will know that I am a big fan of the “transcendental era”, the period between the non-release of SMiLE and the Surf’s Up album -the period in which Brian was still a significant creative force but other band members also took up the creative baton and got more involved in the music-making.

The recently released double CD compilation Sunshine Tomorrow is an inviting in-depth look at the start of this era -the surprisingly creative late 1967 period when the Beach Boys seem to make up for the non-release of SMiLE by releasing not one, but two albums in the latter part of 1967. In addition, there was the planned but unreleased “live” Lei’d In Hawaii.

Of course, there wasn’t a clean break with SMiLE - most of the Smiley Smile songs originated from SMiLE, and bits and pieces of SMiLE drifted onto released records over the next four years. But there is a definite move towards simplicity, going back to musical basics and finding joy in nature and simple things.

The highlight of the collection is the new stereo mix of Wild Honey - an album that sounds more impressive as time passes by. The outtakes suggest that there was indeed a rich post-SMiLE creative vein from Brian and the others. The bonus is Lei’d In Hawaii - pretty much as close to what may have been released in 1967 and notable as a final live performance of the original five as a stand-alone band. Hearing the stripped down version of some of the greatest and most complicated songs from the band is a treat.

Overall, this is a fantastic treat and a reminder that 1967 was actually a pretty impressive year for Brian and Beach Boys-it may have taken 50 years for us to realise, but maybe they did hit that home run after all.

Oh, Darlin!

July 5th, 2017

1967 Sunshine Tomorrow.jpg My review of the new Beach Boys collection, Sunshine Tomorrow, will be posted shortly, but in the meanwhile, here is a tasty new video of Darlin’, made to promote the collection.

23 Songs For Today

June 29th, 2017

1) I’M NOT DOWN (The Clash)
2) THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (The Clash)
3) IF MUSIC COULD TALK (The Clash)
4) COULDN’T CALL IT UNEXPECTED NO. 4 (Elvis Costello)
5) MONDAY (The Jam)
6) SET THE HOUSE ABLAZE (Jam)
7) ASIMBONANGA (Johnny Clegg)
8) LATE TO THE PARTY (Kacey Musgraves)
9) FINE (Kacey Musgraves)
10) ALONE AGAIN OR (Love)
11)A HOUSE IS NOT A MOTEL (Love)
12) THE RED TELEPHONE (Love)
13) WONDER PEOPLE (I DO WONDER) (Love)
14) ORANGE SKIES (Love)
15) SHE LOOKS GOOD (Bryan MacLean)
16) LITTLE WING (Neil Young)
17) LONG LONG ROAD (Paul Weller)
18) THE CRANES ARE BACK (Paul Weller)
19) THE IMPOSSIBLE IDEA (Paul Weller)
20) MY EVER CHANGING MOODS (Style Council)
21) HEADSTART FOR HAPPINESS (Style Council)
22) PARTY CHAMBERS(Style Council)
23) COME ON, FEEL THE ILLIONOISE (Sufjan Stevens)

If It’s July…It’s Europe

June 24th, 2017

July may be month of national days in the USA and Canada, but this July, Brian Wilson will be touring in Europe in an extended European jaunt that extends into June and August. Brian will be covering a number of countries, and performing at some festivals in what could be (but maybe not) his last European jaunt. The full itinerary can be seen here.

Time For A Greatest Hits

June 21st, 2017

Brian’s first solo was released in 1988, which means that in his 55 year musical career, he has been mostly a solo artist for more than half of that time. Although it may not have been as prolific as the early Beach Boys days, it includes 11 studio albums and 2 live albums -an output not dissimilar to Paul McCartney and other contemporaries. But up until now, there have been no compilations of Brian Wilson as a solo artist.

That will all change on September 22 with the release of Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology, an 18 track compilation of Brian’s solo work from the 1988 eponymous solo album to 2015′s No Pier Pressure. Most interestingly, there will be two new tracks; an official release of Some Sweet Day, a great track from the Paley session and Run James Run, which was the working title of Pet Sounds but seems to be a completely different song and an outtake from the No Pier Pressure sessions. One could quibble with the tracklist (only one song from Lucky Old Sun?) but there is some great music here. Full tracklist is

  1. Love and Mercy
  2. Heroes and Villains
  3. Surf’s Up
  4. Melt Away
  5. Let It Shine
  6. Some Sweet Day
  7. Rio Grande
  8. Cry
  9. Lay Down Burden
  10. The First Time
  11. This Isn’t Love
  12. Soul Searchin’
  13. Gettin’ In Over My Head
  14. The Like in I Love You
  15. Midnight’s Another Day
  16. Colors of the Wind
  17. One Kind of Love
  18. Run, James, Run

The Other Twin

June 20th, 2017

Two days and an ocean apart, Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney have together redefined not just pop music but 60s culture. Now Brian is also 75, and there is so much to celebrate and be thankful for. Common perception may be that Brian’s genius was all in his first 25 years, culminating in Pet Sounds, Good Vibrations  and the failure to release SMiLE. His second 25 years could be seen as a period of relative stagnation, notwithstanding albums like Love You and songs like ‘Til I Die, and included a lot of personal struggles. But his last twenty five years have been one’s of personal redemption as a live artist, as a Beach Boy (the 2012 reunion tour) and a conquerer of demons (SMiLE completed). The world may have gone backwards in the last few years, but in the ever-increasing oevure of great musical work, we have a comfort and joy of Brian’s great music. Mere words can’t really express our gratitude, but thank you Brian and happy birthday!

Forever Young, Much More Than 64

June 18th, 2017

McCartney on stage playing guitar and singing. It’s hard to think of the chirpiest, seemingly forever young Beatle as a man who turned 75 today. We are certainly thankful he is still with us, touring the world and coming up with new music. Loving Paul may not come with the “hipness” of John or even George, but this is someone who has come up with some of the greatest songs ever, and who was part of a 50 year old album that has re-topped the charts. Very best birthday wishes, Paul.