Double 1968 Bounty

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.

 

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