Archive for the ‘Beach Boys’ Category

Everything But The Brian VIII: Holy Man

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Queen are very much in focus now with the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, so here’s a track with a Queen connection, even if a bit indirectly. Apparently Brian May and Roger Taylor were admirers of Dennis Wilson, and were involved in a re-recording of Holy Man, an incomplete track from Pacific Ocean Blue. It was re-recorded with a Taylor Hawkins vocal on the Pacific Ocean Blue 2008 re-issue,but apparently there was another unreleased version featuring the two Queen members.

Holy Man certainly showcases Dennis’s ability to create an atmospheric pop song, and in a perfect world, he would be remembered as a great hitmaker in his own right (and would still be alive and making music). But even with limited opportunity, the well of great Dennis songs has been shown to be very deep, with this another brilliant example.

Old Year And New Year

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Happy new year to all blog readers – a time to reflect on the year past and year ahead! Musically, 2018 was a good year -new albums by Kacey Musgraves, Paul Weller  and The Last Detail  come to mind, but there were many others. We also saw archival releases from the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the late Christmas Beach Boys surprise.

What does 2019 have in store? It feels like Brian Wilson’s touring is coming to an end, but there are a few 2019 dates.  We may see some new studio music from Brian, or at least some recording. It’s the 50th anniversary of 20/20 and Abbey Road – while we’ve already had the 20/20 studio sessions, we would still expect some archival music from both the Beatles and Beach Boys -with the 1969 Beach Boys release likely to relate to recording of Sunflower.

In terms of other music, long awaited new music from Prefab Sprout and A Girl Called Eddy seems to be on the cards -and no doubt there will be some great new unexpected music. So here’s to a great year -musically and otherwise.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXIX: Our New Home

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

While there was undoubtedly a lot of turmoil in Brian Wilson’s life around 1968, his music seems to reflect a level of domestic harmony -this can be seen by looking at the song titles. Another example of this has been unearthed on the recent Wake The World collection – Our New Home is another Brian Wilson instrumental idea that shows that he was still productive that year, even if not finishing off things at the same rate as before. However, again this stands alone as a great piece of music – simpler, and more reflective than the Be Here In The Morning Darling, and fitting nicely into the lo-fi ethos of that era.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXVIII: Be Here In The Morning Darling

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

One of the treasures of the new 1968 compilations  is the Brian Wilson-composed instrumental, Be Here In The Morning Darling. The title may indicate it is a derivation of one of the released tracks from Friends, but it is actually a completely different piece of music -one that stands alone well as an instrumental, and indicates that even in 1968, Brian was still doing “big band” music with interesting percussive effects -the drumming is some of the strongest in the Beach Boys canon. This song alone is a great Christmas present and an immediate inductee in our “hidden beauties.”

Christmas Bounty Sprouting

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

The Beach Boys Christmas bounty continues – a week after two 1968 studio collections were released, an extensive live set was announced. On Tour:1968  consists of 114 tracks from seven shows from 1968, including live performances in both the USA and UK.

Regular blog readers will know my love for Paddy McAloon and Prefab Sprout, and in particular, I Trawl The Megahertz.  So, in interesting news, this obscure but brilliant record will get a re-release  in February 2019, interesting re-positioned as a Prefab Sprout record, rather than a solo. Even better news is the possibility of a new Prefab Sprout album in September 2019 -the Sprout bounty may not at Christmas, but could herald a musically very good 2019. Santa seems to be very generous this year.

Double 1968 Bounty

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

Beach Boys fans have been used to Christmas presents for the past few years, with various “copyright  extension” releases coming out in the past few years. There have been rumors of various releases relating to 1968, but in a few days, two separate digital albums were announced and immediately released on 7 December, a Christmas bounty of note.

Wake The World: The Friends Sessions (32 tracks) and I Can Hear Music: The 20/20 Sessions (40 tracks) is a massive outpouring of unreleased 1968 music – a year that saw the band release Friends and record 20/20,  which was released early 1969. It was at a point that Brian was retreating and Dennis was entering his greatest creative period- yet the Friends  collection contains a number of unreleased tracks by Brian, and even his contribution on the 20/20 set is a decent proportion of the total output.  Dennis comes into his own as a contributor on 20/20,  although the dark shadow of Charles Manson and the general madness of the era does lurk a bit in some of Dennis’s work.

The material came out a few days ago, so there isn’t time to digest everything, but a few listens reinforce my view that the 1967-1971 (Smiley Smile to Surf’s Up) was one of the most underrated of eras of any band – far from being burned out from the failure of SMiLE, Brian could have completed three or four albums on his own during that time. And it’s another happy Christmas for Beach Boys fans.

 

Everything But The Brian VII: Cuddle Up

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

The ultimate romantic Beach Boys song from the Carl and the Passions-So Tough set sees Dennis Wilson creating five minutes of romantic bliss, including “wall of sound” harmonies and orchestra that showcase Dennis’s ability to create a mood was different, but often just as effective, as Brian’s.

Dennis was in prime composing form in the first few years of the 70s, and this is up with his best, even it does take a few listens to appreciate its true beauty.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXVII: No-Go Showboat

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

For our next “hidden booty”, we’ll go back to the early days of the Beach Boys and a track from the Little Deuce Coupe album.  No Go Showboat  is a dazzling example of the bands brilliant harmonies, and creating an atmospheric track about a pretty car that won’t really go very fast. The Timers released a single with this song, but it never made it anywhere in the charts -however it remains another great example of Brian’s musical development even in the early 60s.

Everything But The Brian VI: You Are So Beautiful

Monday, October 15th, 2018

As a concert staple for Beach Boys shows from 1975 to 1983, You Are So Beautiful would qualify for inclusion in our series of non-Brian Beach Boys songs. But this wedding standard has an even more important Beach Boys connection – the persistent if unproven view that  Dennis Wilson is a co-writer of the song.  It is certainly no stretch to believe that the writer of Forever and Thoughts Of You could at least be partially involved in the familiar melody, and also not much stretch to believe that Dennis would not pursue a co-writing credit. We will probably never know the truth, but most Beach Boys fans will claim this song as one of their own, and a song with a direct Wilson touch.

Everything But The Brian V: Big Sur

Friday, October 12th, 2018

It may sometimes be easy or convenient that Mike Love is a cousin of the Wilson brothers, but at his best, he is perfectly capable of crafting a great pop song by himself. Big Sur  is the first part of the California trilogy released as an integral part of the Holland album, although a first version of the song was recorded in the Landlocked/Surf’s Up era of 1970. One of the few songs with music and lyrics by Mike Love alone, it is a stately reminder of the beauty of the Beach Boys home state.