Friday, March 28, 2008

Alternate Brian Wilson Presents Smile

A great version of Smile presented in 3 movements. This one is particularly great for having plenty of studio talking in it (mixed perfectly and appropriately of course), humor and mixing songs of the same key into each other creating a mix of smile that is far more creative than any I've heard before. He also took a note from Stephen Newcombe's cover of Surf's Up (you'll hear what I mean). I know you'll love this version of Smile, so go ahead and download it.

Also, you can view Alternate Brian Wilson's myspace here.

Click Here To Download
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carl Wilson Solo Albums

Released in 1981 on Caribou Records, the Self titled album Carl Wilson is filled with all good songs and amazing singing from the voice of the man who sang God Only Knows. However, most of this albums sounds like it is straight from 1970's Top 40 radio, with songs that all sound like unreleased tracks from the archives of Chicago or Peter Frampton.

In my opinion, Carl Wilson's first album is a perfect soft rock album with a bit of an edge, but very monotonous to listen to at times. I would recommend this if you like that style of music, but the stand out track on the album, Heaven, is so gorgeous I could listen to it all month; it's a tremendous song and a huge tear jerker. The entire album is EASILY worth that one song.

1. "Hold Me" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 4:03
2. "Bright Lights" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 3:47
3. "What You Gonna Do About Me?" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 4:25
4. "The Right Lane" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 5:13
5. "Hurry Love" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 4:44
6. "Heaven" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith/Michael Sun) – 4:23
7. "The Grammy" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 3:04
8. "Seems So Long Ago" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 4:56

Click Here To Download
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Released 2 years later, Youngblood is Carl's second and final solo album. It has a heavier sound on most of the tracks than the previous album, but still sounds a lot like Chicago (just the 80s Chicago as opposed to the 70s Chicago). Youngblood is better than Carl's previous album though; it is much more diverse, with songs ranging from pure Rockers to acoustic ballads and even touching on Country music and 80s style synths. My personal favorite song is the fairy tale-esque One More Night Alone.

I've also included 4 bonus tracks. The 4 extra songs include 2 unreleased tracks from the first and second Carl Wilson album, a track from Carl's "supergroup" he formed with Robert Lamm of Chicago and Gerry Backley of America and one amazing demo song "An Angel's voice". I really like all 4 of these bonus tracks, especially An Angel's Voice. It has great chords and is very touching - I just wish he had released it with harmonies and a good prodcution.

1. "What More Can I Say" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 3:26
2. "She's Mine" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 3:04
3. "Givin' You Up" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith/Jerry Schilling) – 4:41
4. "One More Night Alone" (Billy Hinsche) – 3:05
5. "Rockin' All over the World" (J.C Fogerty) – 3:00
6. "What You Do To Me" (John Hall/Johanna Hall) – 3:56
7. "Young Blood" (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller/Doc Pomus) – 2:42
8. "Of the Times" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 4:07
9. "Too Early to Tell" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith/John Daly) – 2:51
10. "If I Could Talk to Love" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 4:10
11. "Time" (Carl Wilson/Myrna Smith) – 3:00
*B1: "An Angel's Voice" (Carl Wilson) - 1:09
*B2: "I Wish For You" (Carl Wilson) - 3:01
*B3: "Like A Brother" (Carl Wilson/Phil Galdston) - 4:43
*B4: "Where We Are" (Carl Wilson) - 2:21

Click Here To Download
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One Sentence Album Reviews

"Is Love You really worth buying?"
"Which is better Wild Honey or Smiley Smile?"
"Do you really think Smile could have topped Sgt. Peppers?"

I've been asked these kinds of questions so many times I decided I would write some quick one sentence reviews of every Beach Boys album. I intend to answer at least 2 or those 3 questions and hopefully encourage newer fans to go out and buy some of the less known Beach Boys greats, or maybe you'll just like to know what I think of all these albums! Either way, I have way too much time on my hands so enjoy yourself!

(1962) Pretty good for a first album at the time; lots of fun classic early Beach Boys songs - my favorite being County Fair.


listen @

(1963) The follow up wasn't quite as fun as the original and is filled with way too many instrumental tracks, but some gems like Lonely Sea, Shut Down and Cindy, Oh Cindy make this one enjoyable...sometimes.

listen @
(1963) Another album of filler material with more than a quarter of the titles having the word surfer in it, but it also has some great songs including Hawaii, Your Summer Dream and In My Room.

listen @
(1963) I love the car era of the Beach Boys and this album had all the hits like Little Deuce Coupe and 409, but also a few incredible secrets like Custom Machine and Car Crazy Cutie.

listen @

(1964) As Brian's production skills improved it resulted in great ballads like The Warmth of the Sun and Don't Worry Baby and more hits like Fun, Fun, Fun that still make this album a winner.

listen @
(1964) I love this album because I think it was the first album where every single song was actually really GOOD; every song was catchy and it was really one of the first true "Pop" albums - A must listen.

listen @
(1964) The first Beach Boys concert album is a bit of a let down because of Post Production tricks and a slew of silly songs like Long, Tall Texan, but is still redeeming for its "live" versions of some early Beach Boy hits.

listen @
(1964) Less than a month after the concert album, the Christmas album had some good songs on it including Little Saint Nick, but is probably destined to sit in basements for 364 days a year.

listen @
(1965) Today is a landmark Beach Boys album with one side of happy songs and another side of heart wrenching ballads, Today is a must own album (and Kiss Me Baby is incredible).

listen @

(1965) Summer Days is another great album filled with complex instrumental tracks and vocals that show off Brian's increasing maturity and is one of my favorite albums, despite I'm Bugged At My Old Man.

listen @
(1965) Party is still a huge departure from earlier Beach Boys albums, with quick covers that just don't have the care that you expect from Brian Wilson, the best thing about this album is what followed it.

listen @
(1966) Every Beach Boys fan loves this album because of how easy it is to relate to, how advanced the music is and the story behind it; You must hear Pet Sounds before you die.

listen @

(1966) I found this on vinyl at my Grandmother's house because she was misled in the 60s to buy this evil record along with thousands of other fans who could have bought Pet Sounds instead.

read @ wiki
(1967) Smile is beautiful, mysterious and there are a million different versions of it, but no one knows how it would have sounded; you too will be obsessed.

this is the right place to be if you want to hear SMiLE

(1967) Released after Brian had shelved the Smile project, this compilation stinks as much as the first (great songs, horrible idea).


read @wiki

(1967) Filled with radical reworkings of Smile songs, Smiley Smile is another high point in the Beach Boys career for both its creativity and bravery, not to mention sheer enjoyableness.

listen @
(1967) Precisely 3 months later Wild Honey was released and is chocked full of great Rhythm and Blues style songs that always make me smile when I hear those incredible vocal harmonies.

listen @
(1968) The third masterpiece from Brian Wilson (and Dennis!) is the most relaxing Beach Boys album and the simplified production at Brian's house makes every second of this album perfect. *My favorite*

listen @
(1968) This third hastily made best of album can only be described as the best of album that did to Friends what "Best of Volume 1" did to Pet Sounds.


read @wiki
(1968) With seemingly all bad ideas used up by Capitol Records they surprised everyone and pulled together an album of all instrumentals for kids to sing along to, with sheet music and all; its a neat novelty.

listen @
(1969) The last album for Capitol Records, 20/20 is disappointing compared to the previous and following album; it generally lacks direction and has quite a few covers and old songs on it.

listen @
(1970) Sunflower is one of the very best Beach Boys records, filled with winners from every member of the band including the Brian Wilson classic This Whole World and Dennis' ballad Forever.

listen @
(1971) Surf's Up was another change for the Beach Boys with songs designed to increase the Boys' hip appeal; the album worked in a big way and has lots of great songs including the extremely sad 'Til I Die.

listen @
(1972) Carl and the Passions - "So Tough" is a good album that I have learned to like a lot; most of the songs are pretty RnB, but it also has some extremely sweet moments like the Dennis Wilson classic Cuddle Up.

listen @
(1973) I personally don't like Holland very much because it just doesn't feel like an album; part fairy tale, part ode to California, even the song Sail On, Sailor just doesn't do it for me.

listen @
(1973) The second live album from the Beach Boys is a double disc LP released when the band had some awesome songs, played them well, and was much more refined than their earlier live album.

read @wiki
(1976) More like 3 Big Ones, 15 Big Ones is a rushed album released during another Beach Boys come back, this time with Brian, although his contributions were pretty minimal; It's not so good.

listen @
(1977) A huge improvement over 15 Big Ones, Love You is definitely the last inspired Beach Boys album and features a lot of awesome songs all written by Brian Wilson. (I love Mona and The Night Was So Young!)

listen @
(1978) Man, I don't dig this album - it sounds fake, uncreative, and boring; you can really tell that the Beach Boys were at a real low point with this album.

listen @
(1979) This album is just as bogus as M.I.U. and also has the audacity to have a disco remake of the song Here Comes The Night (from the Wild Honey album).

listen @
(1980) "Wait, what album is this?" is usually what you say when someone mentions "Keepin' The Summer Alive", mostly because of how extremely forgettable this dead on arrival album is.

listen @
(1985) 10 years ago the Beach Boys were saying they Love You, I guess by this point they really hated everyone because this self titled album is painful, synth infested garbage that belongs in the 80s.

listen @
(1989) They cruised straight to being a Nostalgia act, but despite all this it is slightly better than their earlier album as they held off on the synths a little; Kokomo was their big hit from this album.

listen @
(1992) Hearing this album is like spending an eternity in Hell as opposed to a Summer In Paradise; fake drums, horrible singing, awful attempts at nostalgia and Uncle Jesse make this album a real floater.

listen @
(1996) An album of country covers of Beach Boys standards that is so bad, I threw up in my mouth a little bit when I first heard it and believe me when you hear Toby Keith sing Be True To Your School, you may too.

read @ wiki

There have been at least 2 dozen Best of and Greatest Hits compilations released as well that I didn't bother reviewing (simply because I reviewed all of their sources here already), so I hope you dig all of this.

- eric

Sunday, March 23, 2008

RIP Tony Carbone

I wanted to write about my extreme sadness over the passing of one of the great pop geniuses of our time, Tony Carbone of the band Bikeride. For over ten years Bikeride has been releasing classic album after classic album and their latest album The Kiss ended up being the final album from the band.

You can hear the kiss on their page here.

According to a flyer for a benefit show a month before his death "Tony Carbone is a 34-year old elementary teacher for the Long Beach Unified School District. Two years ago, Tony was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma (the most aggressive and life threatening form of skin cancer), which spread to his brain. …Tony and his wife have nowhere to turn. Tony’s Avastin cycle, recommended by his doctor, will cost $30K. Tony’s family and friends are organizing a fund raiser to help pay for the cost.”[1]

Sadly, Tony didn't make it and passed away on March 6, 2008. I had asked Tony for an interview on my Pop Music blog before he passed, but unfortunately I never got the chance to talk with him in depth. But even still I hope to do a recap of their music and albums soon.

I encourage everyone to listen to their music and if you did enjoy bikeride leave a kind comment on their myspace.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Fast Eddie's Smile

Earlier I had posted a download to a version I thought was Fast Eddie's Smile. Turns out I was wrong! The real Fast Eddie emailed me and corrected me, so now I am happy to share the REAL Fast Eddie's Smile. His version is very, very good (based on the 2004 Brian Wilson Presents Smile) and high quality as well at 192 kbps mp3. Its a good add on to your Beach Boys collection.

"SMiLE 1966/1967 - the 2004 reconstruction...

by FAST EDDIE, September 2004

Now that Brian Wilson completed, performed and re-recorded his lost masterpiece, comparisons with the original 1966/1967 session recordings are made. For my own satisfaction, I compiled and edited a version of SMiLE using only 66/67 vintage recordings, but following the arrangement of the 2004 concerts and re-recording. The results are here for your listening pleasure. They are not meant to be a substitution of the 2004 re-recording in any way.

Generally, the differences with the 2004 re-recording are:
- most of the segues are missing
- some songs don't have vocals as these weren't recorded in 66/67 - or if they were, they haven't been unearthed yet
- to emphasize the unfinished nature of the "original" recordings, I used the old "working" titles for some now re-titled songs.
- some tracks may have a few differences in arrangement, because of their wildly unfinished nature in 66/67

Some technical notes regarding this "reconstruction":
- I used the best available lossless sources (most original silver CDs), except for a few short pieces where only mp3 was available; eventually, I managed to complete it using only just over 1 minute of mp3-sourced music
- for editing, re-arranging, balancing of sound, mixing to mono where applicable and a bit of eq-ing, I used AUDACITY - a cool piece of software that does exactly what's needed for the challenge at hand, without demanding too much technical/musical knowledge - see for more info and downloads
- if you're going to burn it, don't forget to use a 'no pause'-preference, as I've specifically aimed at seamless flow wherever possible
- some tracks are sped up or down a bit. Regarding the "right speed", I followed the guidelines as advocated by Ryan Guidry in the notes to his superb "old-skool" SMiLE edit (unfortunately only available in MP3)

Oh, feel free to pass it on, but it would be nice if proper credits are attached. If I ever catch anyone trying to make a buck out of this... Fast Eddie's fatwah will rest upon you!

Here are track-by-track comments:

1. Our Prayer - Gee 1:59
Sources: Friends/20-20 remastered cd and Good Vibrations boxed set
I used the 20/20-version of PRAYER because I prefer it over the "early" 1966 version. GEE of course is part of the 'Heroes And Villians [Sessions]' track on the boxed set that can also be found on Vigitone SMiLE and other bootlegs.

2. Heroes And Villains 4:34
Sources: Good Vibrations boxed set [45 version, alternate "cantina" version and 'sections']
Edited from various versions of this track on the boxed set.

3. Do You Like Worms 3:41
Sources: Good Vibrations boxed set
Added to the boxed set backing track are: the Bicycle Rider chant from the 'Heroes And Villains [sections]' and a repeat of the 'plymouth rock'-vocals towards the end.

4. Barnyard 0:53
Source: Mok's SMiLE
Though this synchronization of the 'Heroes And Villains' demo vocals with the instrumental tracks isn't exactly according to 2004 arrangement, it is by far the best sync-job I've heard, so I used it. All props to MOK! Only change is I faded it out early to better flow "on-the-one" into...

5. Old Master Painter - You Are My Sunshine 1:09
Source: Mok's SMiLE
Mok synced the stereo instrumental with the mono vocal bootleg mixes. Can't improve it, so once again all props to him!

6. Cabin Essence 3:33
Source: Friends/20-20 remastered cd
The 1968 finished version is like the 2004 version, so no need for any work.

7. Wonderful 2:00
Source: Good Vibrations boxed set
The original mono version, faded out a few seconds early to better flow into...

8. Look 2:10
Source: Mok's SMiLE
The best sound, due to Mok's cleaning!

9. Child Is The Father Of The Man 2:39
Sources: Unsurpassed Masters Vol.16 and Mok's SMiLE
I used the intro from UM-16. This isn't exactly right according to the 2004 arrangement, but since it's impossible to re-create the Song For Children > CITFOTM transition and this intro makes it flow much better, I decided to use it. The rest of the track is from Mok's SMiLE, but I re-arranged the parts to better fit the new arrangement.
By the way: check out Mic Luv's CITFOTM that is uncannily similar to the 2004 arrangement, but unfortunately only available in MP3.

10. Surf's Up 4:11
Sources: Mok's SMiLE and Sunflower/Surf's Up remastered CD
First part is Mok's perfect synchronization of demo vocals over 1966-stereo track, remainder is 1971 album version.

11. Great Shape, etc. 1:56
Sources: Endless Harmony Soundtrack CD + Psychedelic Sounds collector's disc + Unsurpassed Masters Vol.16
First up is a part of the 'Heroes And Villains' Demo, segueing into the recently unearthed Great Shape tracking (actually, my edit is a combination of 2 attempts featured on the Psychedelic Sounds disc - MP3 sourced!). Finally, we have the regular I WANNA BE AROUND - FRIDAY NIGHT from UM-16, but sped up a bit (most sources are mastered too slow) and mixed to mono.

12. Vega-Tables 2:15
Sources: Good Vibrations boxed set + Mok's SMiLE + Smiley Smile / Wild Honey remastered CD
Most of this track is the boxed set version, but the double 'SLEEP-A-LOT'-insert is from Mok's SMiLE and the vocal coda is from the Smiley version.

13. Holiday 2:30
Sources: Mok's SMiLE + Stereo Smiley Smile / Wild Honey collector's version
Most of this track is the clean and superb sounding Mok version, but it's sped down a bit (in fact most sources are mastered a bit too fast). The WHISPERING WINDS coda is from the Wind Chimes remix on the Stereo Smiley Smile / Wild Honey disc (MP3 sourced!).

14. Wind Chimes 2:47
Source: Mok's SMiLE + Unsurpassed Masters Vol.17
Again, I used Mok's version for best sound, but I re-edited it, shortening the bridge and repeating the chorus like it was performed in 2004. The final verse/chorus is from the "complete instrumental take 5" on Unsurpassed Masters Vol.17.

15. Mrs. O'Leary's Cow 2:30
Source: Mok's SMiLE
What can I say? Best sounding version, IMHO!
I didn't try to sync the Fall Breaks chanting onto this, because I didn't believe it could work (I heard 1 or 2 attempts at this and found these close to unlistenable). No use of the "real fire"-effects too, as Brian didn't in 2004!

16. I Love To Say Da Da 2:24
Source: Unsurpassed Masters Vol.16
The WATER CHANT plus the backing track to what's now known as BLUE HAWAII. The second part is also available on the Good Vibrations boxed set.

17. Good Vibrations 4:20
Sources: Smiley Smile / Wild Honey remastered cd [45 version & early take] + Hawthorne, CA CD [unused stereo sections] + Good Vibrations boxed set [tracking sessions]
My pride and joy! I expected this not to work, but I think it turned out rather good. The intro and the choruses are from the 45 version, as is the first part of the bridge ("Got to keep those loving good vibrations..."). The verses are from the early take (Tony Asher's vocals!). The second part of the bridge ("hum-de-dum") is from the Hawthorne, CA rarities collection (mixed to mono!). At the end, I used the ending of the full backing track version that closes the 'tracking sessions' on disc 5 of the boxed set; instead of quickly fading out like the 45 version, it repeats the instrumental chorus a few times before ending rather suddenly. I found that a fitting end, because of course I couldn't re-create the climaxing drum rolls of the concert version. By the way: Brian ends the 2004 studio version with a simple fade-out, which is a damn shame I think!"

Click here to view a PDF of the front cover artwork

Click Here To Download
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Mike Love vs. Al Jardine Lawsuit Settled

According to more than a few news sources (here, here, here and here), the legal battle between Mike Love and Al Jardine over the use of the Beach Boys name has finally come to an end.

I currently have no idea how may lawsuits there are going on between the various members and ex-members of the Beach Boys (perhaps no one does) but I can now say there is one less. The details of the story are extremely vague, but I think Al Jardine came out on top, which is good enough for me!

Anyway, let's hope this small resolution can inspire the world to a greater need for peace, or something like that...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Nelson Bragg - Day Into Night

There comes a point in every long standing band's career where its members feel the need to break out and start a solo career. All the members of KISS did it, Led Zeppelin did it (except for their ill fated drummer, John Bonham, of course) and The Beach Boys did it too.

Most notably is Beach Boy Brian Wilson's solo career. Since 1988 Brian Wilson has been releasing a string of solo albums to great reviews. However, Brian Wilson scarcely played live until assembling his own live band to accurately play his complex instrumental and vocal harmony sections featured on his studio albums. For almost a decade Brian and his band has been touring the world performing Brian's works including Pet Sounds, Smile and his latest work That Lucky Old Sun.

All of the members of Brian Wilson's live band are incredible musicians, each with their own background and musical history. You may recognize Nelson Bragg as one of the percussionists of the band, frequently performing behind Wilson and surrounded by an arsenal of drums, cymbals, tambourines and various other instruments. But besides Bragg's gig with Brian Wilson he is also a member of several other bands in the pop scene including The Wondermints, The Now People, The Quarter After and Cloud Eleven.

Despite Bragg's extremely busy schedule he still managed to go the route of so many band members before him and release his first solo album, Day Into Night, at the tender age of 44. As with any album from an accomplished musician and multi instrumentalist, Day Into Night shines with great song writing, fantastic harmonies and a maturity that often takes artists decades to develop.

Initially, the album sounds very similar to artists like Barenaked Ladies and other pop folk fusion groups, but after several listens the album begins to show Nelson's more obvious influences, namely the Beach Boys and the Beatles. In fact, there is a cover of George Harrison's "Dark Sweet Lady" on the album that remains very true to the original (although I've always HATED the steel guitar).

All of the songs on the album work around an acoustic guitar and catchy vocals by Nelson Bragg and while it is obvious that a lot of thought and effort was put into the album, both in writing and recording, the album's major flaw is just how similar the songs really are. The songs on the album run the gamut from slow, aching ballads to mid tempo light pop songs that just seem to melt into each other without any indication that a new song has begun or end.

Perhaps the most exciting song on the album, Tell Someone, despite having a great key change in the middle of the song, still seems to drag on and then finally returns to more balladeering. The album ends with the down tempo song Turn The Darkness Into Gold, a great song reminiscent of 70s style acoustic pop but the track left me feeling disappointed by the overall gloomy feel of the track and ultimately, the entire album.

Day Into Night is a great first release from Nelson Bragg and clearly shows off his talent as a song writer and solo artist, but the songs on the album just don't have enough diversity to make listening a very enjoyable experience. I suspect that Nelson Bragg's masterpiece is not quite here yet, but his first album proves that he has the potential, and hopefully will, blow the pop world away.

Click here to listen to Day Into Night or learn how to buy it.

Myspace | Label

Dennis Wilson Rereleases

I'm sure you've heard already that Dennis Wilson's 1977 solo album Pacific Ocean Blue is finally being rereleased. You can read about it here, here, here, here, here and here. The rerelease of the album will be on 2 CDs featuring remastered tracks from Pacific Ocean Blue and his unreleased follow up album, Bambu. It will also have several tracks never before heard, even on the bootleg circuit.

It's going to be very awesome and unlike bootlegs releases before it (for example here), this rerelease will sound great and "Liner notes for the album are being penned by Beach Boys scholars such as David Leaf, Jon Stebbins, Ben Edmonds and David Beard, and the package will feature photographs by Wilson's close friend, Jan & Dean's Dean Torrence."

I'm excited and you should be too! There's a great Dennis Wilson fansite, You should go there and check out the forums. The site has been up forever and it has all the Dennis Wilson info you could ever need, not to mention it has been pretty busy lately with talk of the rerelease. Go check it out!