At The Philharmonic

June 22nd, 2018

It’s easy to knock the new Beach Boys album as a cash-in that quickly repackages known songs to make more money. But given the renewed chart interest that seems to have been created by the record, there is certainly no harm in getting Brian Wilson music known to a potentially new audience -and for that reason alone, this record is worthwhile.

As a record, the orchestral overdubs have mixed results -working better on the slower songs with less production like In My Room and Disney Girls. The up-tempo tracks feel a bit disco-fied, while the orchestral overdubs feel superfluous on the Pet Sounds/SMiLE tracks. A bonus is the opener California Suite, which while not a Brian composition, does invoke Brian’s melodic vision.

For completists, this may be the 50+ version of many of these songs. But if a few more people understand Brian’s genius via this record, then it is worthwhile.

When I’m 76 Part 2

June 20th, 2018

 

Today, we celebrate the 76th birthday of the Mozart of pop ‘n rock, Brian Wilson. We are thankful for his immeasurable contribution to melody, harmony, music and culture and wish him a day of peace and joy with his family – with his music featuring high on the charts, there is much is celebrate.

Meanwhile, the birthday boy of two days ago has announced the release of his latest solo album. No doubt, he will also be flying up the chart soon.

When I’m 76

June 18th, 2018

It’s that time of year as the days reach their longest in the north, and the shortest in the south, that the Gemini twins of song celebrate their birthdays two days apart. It’s Sir Paul’s turn first, so very best birthday to Paul McCartney and thanks for a very full time of great music.

Symphony Time

June 15th, 2018

I’ve been away for a while, hence the relative silence of this blog -but since my last post, there has been a new Beach Boys album -of sorts- released. The Beach Boys With The Philharmonic Orchestra was released on Friday, but with my travels, I still need to digest the record but expect a review soon. Meanwhile, it has charted quite impressively in the UK (#4).

Meanwhile, Brian Wilson has added some further tour dates  , which means he will have quite a busy schedule when he returns to the road in July.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXII: Be Here In The Morning

June 8th, 2018

With the Friends album’s 50th anniversary just a few weeks ago, it’s a good time to induct a few more tracks from the album to our pantheon of “hidden beauties.” Be Here In The Morning has one of the highest-pitched vocals on any Beach Boys record -and many fans including myself were surprised to find out that it is not Brian Wilson’s falsetto, but Al Jardine.

As with much of the Friends album, this is a laid-back track extolling the simple joys of life and love, and getting away from the increasing craziness of the world outside.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXI: Morning Beat

June 1st, 2018

After a short rendition of the title track, this is the first original song on That Lucky Old Sun, and hearkens back to songs like Do It Again with a mostly up-tempo feel but punctuated with a slow section. Changes-of-pace is a hallmark of Brian Wilson’s brilliance and this song shows Brian has lost none of his old tricks. The song paints a compelling landscape of the energy of Los Angeles and features the immortal “Maumamayama Glory Hallelujah” catchphrase.

Taking The Midland Line

May 25th, 2018

I’ve recently covered some great country pop albums by the ladies, so now it’s the turn of the gentlemen. On the recommendation of Jason Brewer of the Explorer’s Club, I explored Midland’s debut album On The Rocks, and I’m impressed. Ostensibly neo-traditionalist country, it is full of catchy and melodic songs that transcend the country genre and move into great pop music.  There are a lot of really strong songs here, but Drinkin’ Problem, Burn Out and Electric Rodeo are some of the standouts.

Pet Sounds 50 ..And 2

May 20th, 2018

Since I last posted, we’ve had Pet Sounds 52nd birthday, taking place while Brian Wilson is still touring the album’s 50th birthday. Here is what I wrote about the greatest album in the universe on it’s golden anniversary. There’s been a wedding that some of you have heard about, and in much more obscure but highly welcome news….after 14 years, a new album from A Girl Called Eddy.

23 Songs For Today

May 14th, 2018

1.  Hard On A Heart-  Ashley Monroe
2.  The Power of Three -Belle and Sebastian
3.  Best Friend -Belle and Sebastian
4.  Bare Feet -Caroline Jones
5. Love Of The Loved -Cilla Black
6, Anniversary Song -Cowboy Junkies
7. Twice As Worth It -Deana Carter
8. So I Could Find My Way -Enya
9. Another Bridge -Everything But The Girl
10. The Lakes of Canada -The Innocence Mission
11. Dirty Computer- Janelle Monáe (feat. Brian Wilson)
12. Space Cowboy -Kacey Musgraves
13. Golden Hour -Kacey Musgraves
14. Out of Reach -Karnataka
15. A Million Tears -Kasey Chambers
16. The Closest Thing To Crazy -Katie Melua
17. I Envy The Wind -Lucinda Williams
18. If I Could -October Project
19. Terribly Sorry -Saint Etienne
20. Fascination -Saint Etienne
21. Montmartre -Sarah Darling
22. Since You’ve Gone -Spanky & Our Gang
23. Walk Your Feet In The Sunshine -The 5th Dimension

Brian’s Back (And The Beach Boys Go Classic)

May 10th, 2018

With the news that Brian Wilson’s back surgery has gone well, we also now have a “new” Beach Boys album on the way. The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra isn’t really a new album -it is the classic Beach Boys songs with new orchestral overdubs, but has been endorsed by all the living members and it is coming very soon.