Archive for the ‘Brian Wilson’ Category

Brief Dispatches

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

This blog wishes Elvis Costello well after his recent cancer diagnosis and surgery. The singer recently cancelled the rest of his tour dates to recuperate from surgery. Here’s to a 100% recovery and lot of good vibrations going Elvis’s way.

Coming back to tour after surgery  in just over a week is Brian Wilson. His next date is on the 15th July, in British Colombia.

 

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXIV: When A Man Needs A Woman

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

We complete our trio of hidden beauties marking the golden anniversary of the Friends album with When A Man Needs A Woman. The fifth track of the album is Brian’s ode to the facts of life just at the point he became a father for the first time (Carnie Wilson was born in April 1968.) Like just about the entire Friends album , the song reflects the “transcendental” era of the joys of daily life, with suitable light musical background and harmonies.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXIII: Diamond Head

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

We continue our focus on the golden anniversary of the Friends album as we look at the penultimate track. Seemingly written by committee and possibly partly made-up in the studio, Diamond Head still has the hallmarks of classic Brian Wilson. He creates an impressive Hawaiian soundscape in this instrumental, showing that his production skills were still intact. The final track of the album jolts us back to reality, but on Diamond Head , the relaxing, contemplative nature of the album is at its fore.

The Friends That Stay A Long Time

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

The hippie dream may seem long dead in the divided 2018 world, but it started unraveling in the chaos of 1968. And so 50 years ago today, the Beach Boys sent Friends out into a rock universe that was heading into harder, edgier territory. Seemingly at odds with Revolution, Street Fighting Man and Sympathy With The Devil and ignored chartwise, at least in the States, this album can almost be seen as the first “new age” album and has now become something of a minor cult classic.

However, if one moves away from the historical context of this album, one can also see it as an album celebrating what the Beach Boys do best- beautiful songs, beautiful harmonies. Another noteworthy feature is the emergence of Dennis Wilson as a songwriter- Be Still and Little Bird are his first serious songwriting contributions and neither disgrace this album. Brian Wilson is still very involved, at least co-credited on the remaining ten tracks and apparently uncredited as a part-writer on Little Bird. The Wilson brothers provide a thematic unity throughout the album of peaceful music, celebrating the simple joys of life, although this is shattered somewhat by Transcendental Meditation, the album closer and weak spot of the album. The remaining eleven tracks – while not absolute classics in themselves -work well together to ensure a quality album.

Friends remains an impressive achievement, and a definite refutation of any theory that great Beach Boys music ended with the 1967 demise of SMiLE. Sometimes simpler is better.

At The Philharmonic

Friday, 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

Wednesday, 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.

Symphony Time

Friday, 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

Friday, 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

Friday, 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.

Pet Sounds 50 ..And 2

Sunday, 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.