Playing Back 30 Years

If you ignore the release of the Caroline No single under the name of Brian Wilson, the first solo Brian record was released30 years ago, namely the Let’s Go To Heaven In My Car single. That means that for more than half his musical career, Brian has been predominantly a solo artist with only the occasional work done with his old band. In that respect, a compilation is overdue. Given the quality of his often under-estimated solo work, it is a also rather good.

One can always quibble over the song selection (one song from Lucky Old Sun would be my main one) , but Playback does provide a fair selection of the last 30 years, including his greatest solo triumph, the completion of SMiLE. But aside from the two SMiLE tracks and the cover of Colors Of The Wind, the compilation does showcase 15 Brian Wilson compositions from the solo years.

Serious fans will know the 16 previously released tracks and will know from this blog my praise for songs such as Midnight’s Another Day, The Like In I Love You Melt Away and Lay Down Burden.  Serious fans will probably even know one of the “new” tracks, Some Sweet Day, a highlight from the 90s Paley sessions, finally seeing legitimate release and good sound quality. The one really new track is Run James Run, which hearkens back to the classic early Beach Boys sound with some wonderful harmonies, and continues to remind us that we almost certainly haven’t heard the last great Brian Wilson song.

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