Archive for the ‘Beach Boys’ Category

Everything But The Brian X: Celebrate The News

Sunday, March 24th, 2019


Just over 50 years ago, Dennis Wilson started becoming a serious creative force in the Beach Boys. It started with two songs on Friends, three on 20/20 (although one with a dubious co-writer..) and continued with the B-side of the last Capitol single of the original recording contract. Celebrate The News  is an ambitious production, featuring harmonies and melodic tricks that would make Dennis’s older brother proud, and showcases Dennis’s first great creative era.

A Tribute To Hal Blaine

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

In tribute to Hal Blaine, here is a song he features strongly on.

The Beach Boys “White” Album

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

This post is a week later than the actually anniversary, but thanks to WordPress’s ability to change time, the posting date reflects the exact 50th anniversary of 20/20

This album can be seen as the Beach Boys’ White Album in that it has a wide variety of styles from the raucous rock of All I Want To Do to the gentle music box instrumental, The Nearest Faraway Place. It also shares a creepy Charles Manson connection in that it is almost certain that Manson had a hand in writing some of Dennis’s contributions to the album, in particular Never Learn Not o Love.

More significantly, this is the first Beach Boys’ album that is not dominated by Brian Wilson compositions. Brian’s lack of contribution is somewhat masked by the conclusion of two SMiLE pieces making their first vinyl release, Cabinessence and Our Prayer. Aside from that, Brian’s contributions are limited to the brilliant trilogy Do It Again, I Went To Sleep and Time To Get Alone, as well as producing the cover version of Cotton Fields. The rest of the band fill the breach, a feature of the 1969-71 period, and even more pronounced on the next album Sunflower, with Carl’s production of I Can Hear Music and Dennis’s Be With Me being most noteworthy. Bruce’s instrumental The Nearest Faraway Place is also particularly atmospheric and invokes a haven of peace in a chaotic era.

All in all, there is a sense of brilliant songs, but with a whole not quite being the sum of the parts, given the varying sources of the material.Regardless 20/20 is another very good album in a terribly underrated era of the band’s music.

Everything But The Brian IX: Long Promised Road

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Our first real “Carl” entry in this series is one of his signature songs. Carl Wilson made his big composing debut on Surf’s Up Long Promised Road with two of his classic songs. Long Promised Road talks to persevering through life’s roadblocks, and making new starts. With it’s engaging melody and rocking guitar solo, it has elements of both classic Beach Boys and classic rock, and remains both inspirational and very good music.

On The Road 2019

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

It would seem unlikely that Brian would spend anywhere as much time on the road as he has since 2016- when the 50th Pet Sounds anniversary tour started. But dates are gradually appearing, including some Pet Sounds shows taking place around the 53rd anniversary of the iconic record. Also included is a headline appearance at the BeachLife festival at Redondo Beach in May.

In the meantime, Al Jardine is doing some of his solo shows in January and February -and has promised Little Pad on ukulele!

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.