Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Help Promote A Postcard From California

Hey, I know that I haven't posted for a while (i don't even know if anyone even checks this place any more) anyway, as i'm sure you know Al's A Postcard From California was released yesterday with little to no promotion, i have started a group on Facebook to try and get more people to hear about it, i have included links to Amazon and Itunes.

Please feel free to join



Monday, 13 April 2009

Surf's Up

The last Beach Boys album with Brian as a steady member until 15 Big Ones in 1976

1. Dont Go Near The Water - 38 years later, people still like to sing about how we are killing the planet, this must have been one of the first. Although not the strongest effort on the album, it is intresting to listen to. Mike provides the lead vocal.

2. Long Promised Road - This track was Carl's debut as a composer (he was credited for a few solo's on earlier albums, but this was the first full song), co-written by Jack Rieley. A couple of mixes of this track exist, however the album version is my favourite, all thanks to the synth solo, pretty memerable chorus ("hit hard at the battle that's confronting me..."). A promo exists for this track, and at the time of writing is avalable on Youtube.

3. Take A Load Off Your Feet - Anyone expectine some great music/composing can lift up their respective stylus and go to the next track (unless you are on CD, in which case, that is NOT advisable, just skip to the next track), OK, so, it features some intresting stereo effects, but that's about it, nothing fantastic....atleast "Loop-de-loop" was fun..

4. Disney Girls (1957) - Composed by Bruce, who is still not often recognised as a propper Beach Boy, however, he was, and although this song is not about surfing, cars, summer or girls, it is still a beach boys tune and neither does hardly any Beach Boys tune since Summer Days. OK, it's pretty soppy, but, the chords are intresting, and it's nice to listen to, one of the better tracks on the album for sure.

5. Student Demonstration Time - OK, well, it's a good tune, however, it's not a Beach Boys tune, it's a Leiber-Stoller track, with new lyrics courtesy of Mr. Mike Love, the backing track is pretty good, not too sure about the Synth effects, but it rocks along nicely, and the harmonies are as good as we have come to expect.

6. Feel Flows - Another colabration between Carl Wilson and Jack Rieley, good track, and very intresting lyrics, this could be one of the deepest tracks on the album. Also worth mentioning is the use of reverse echo on Carl's voice, this was one of the first uses, it works pretty well, this is a good track, however, i feel it looses sight at about 2:01 and dosen't pick up until about 3:09

7. Lookin' At Tomorrow (A Welfare Song) - A colabration between Al Jardine and Gary Winfrey, this could be one of the best songs with the former's credit on, altho the phasing dates the track horribly, without that, it stands up pretty well (A mix is avalable on bootlegs without the phasing)

8. A Day In The Life Of A Tree - A colab between Brian and Jack Rieley, with the latter on vocals (maybe the 1st Boys Song without a Beach Boy on lead vocal ?), pretty nice use of organ on this track, and despite what other people say about it, i happen to really like this song, one of the standouts on the album for sure.

9. 'Til I Die - Commonly regarded as the last great song that Brian composed, and the reason is clear, the instrumentation is spot on, as are the harmonies, it sounds as great today as it did when they put it to tape, another song that underwent numerous changes, the others said the lyrics were too depressing, he changed them, and they then said they preferred the originals, an alternate mix is avalable on "Endless Harmony", however this is the best mix

10. Surf's Up - Not only is the track a SMiLE outtake, but so is part of the recording, part 1 is from the original piano demo with dubs over the top, and the end contains a snippet from the unreleased Child Is The Father Of The Man, lyrics composed by Van Dyke Parks, in Brian Wilson's sandbox

A few tracks were left off this album, they are mostly pretty decent tracks, they are as follows

4th of July - one of Dennis' first deep songs, sung by Carl, maybe a tad too political for the Beach Boys, and i can see this track being banned in the sensitive time of 1971.

H.E.L.P Is On The Way - More an ad for a heath store than a greatly composed masterpeice, hoever, it's pretty catchy, with a decent piano part, ironically written shortly before Brian's decent into obecity

Barbara - Another good Dennis track, in a more sombre Pacific Ocean Blue vein than his other tracks of this era

My Soulution - Brian Would later rewrite this to Happy Days on 1998's Imagination, however, i think i prefer this, it's fun, and full of synths, recorded on the hallo'ween between the recordings of Sunflower and Surf's Up

It's A New Day - another pretty upbeat tune, that would have made a pretty strong single

Child Of Winter - A christmassy tune that is borderline intollerable.

Also recorded in these sessions were Susie Cincinnati and Good Time

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Love You

Well, Mine [and Brian's] favourite Beach Boy's album, Track 1, right away we come in with a good tune, from Mr. Mike Love, heavy on synths, it sets the tone for most of the rest of the album, certianly one of Mike's better tunes

Track 2, Roller Skating Child, another good Mike Vocal, and good backing vocals, and yes, great synths, thanks to Brian and his Moog.

Track 3,Mona, the first few times, i did not like this song, i thought it sounded like drunken karokie, but after a while, i realised, how clever the lyrics are ["listen to be my baby/I know your gonna love Phil Spector"], and yet another synth part, which takes the role of a bass.

Track 4, Johnny Carson, as with Mona, i was not that crazy about it, until i had heard it a few times, with clever harmonies [which feature more in this record] and, less synth reliant than it's predecessors, focusing more on a Hammond, and eletric pianos, with Synths in the Chorus

Track 5, Good Time, a song composed by Al, and the basic track was recorded during the Sunflower sessions [Add Some music sessions, if you are going to be technical], it's a catchy, pop song, with a pretty good brass part.

Track 6, Honkin' Down The Highway, another perfect pop song, nice melody, and not too heavy, the Synths are there, however, not as high in the mix as other tracks, Al has re-recorded this song, for his forthcoming album, "Postcard From California", with guest vocals, from nonother than Brian. One of the standouts from Love You.

Track 7, Ding Dang Another track, with clever harmonies, a good pace, nice piano, and synth parts, this track is annoyingly short, at an edited 58 secs, The track was cowritten by Roger McGuinn, recorded in 1974

Track 8, Solar System, A pretty good Brian track, with brilliant harmonies, and mulitple synth parts [the Moog was monophonic, chords would have been impossible], and ofcourse the lyrics, "if mars had life on it, i might find my wife on it", again, i think, one of ther better tracks on the album, This track was released as the B-side to Honkin' Down The Highway

Track 9, The Night Was So Young, the synth is still there, just very well hidden, it's posing as a bass, Organ, and Guitar also feature, good harmonies

Track 10, I'll Bet He's Nice, one of the stand out's on the album, again, multiple synth's here, and they sound pretty good, especally the saw wave that's filling in for a bass, nice middle-8 from Carl, but, in all honesty, we could do without the handclaps towards the end.

Track 11, Let's Put Our Hearts Together, a nice duet, between Brian and his then wife Marilyn, bit soppy, but, still nice enough,

Track 12, I Wanna Pick You Up, Not that fantastic, good vocals from Brian and Dennis, nice chorus, "pat, pat, pat, her on her butt, ...yeah...

Track 13, Airplane, it's O.K, pretty harmless, nice chords, loads of synths again, nice bridge, and middle-8, the reprise is O.K, i'm pretty indrefferent about this track.

Track 14, Love Is A Woman, another great Brian track, Intricate, and clever multiple Synth parts, and Organ, and Piano, odd drum part, i am not sure if this is a drummer, or a Drum Machine, [i heard a rumour that it was Brian, but i doubt that] definatly again, one of the better tracks from the album.

This is my favourite Beach Boys album, and i reccomend it to anyone who is sick of Pet Sounds, i love the cover aswell.

Summer In Paradise - Is It Really That Bad ?

Ok, Well, First thing's first, I am Bob, Hi, This Is my first post on this blog, and i hope, some people agree, or, if you dont like S.I.P maybe it will make you think [or even persuade you to give it another listen], well, here goes.

Ok, so, The first track, Hot Fun In The Summertime, it's a pretty plesant track, however, i do have one problem with this track, the phasing and effects on Carls Voice [this is a frequent problem on the entire album, but it's not too bad when you get used to it], there is even a pretty decent vocal from Mike on this track, [i would like to add, i am not one to constantly bash Mike, but sometimes he does annoy me, so, i may rant now and then].

Next Track number 2 is a cover of early Beach Boys Hit - Surfin', well, what can i say, it's not that great, and i fear it was only used to supply the album with Brian's name on there somewhere [Why did they not intergrate some of those recently rejected Sweet Insanity tracks ?!]. Carl's vocal parts are strong as ever, But, it's kinda ruined by the 90's Pro-tools Production

Track 3, Summer Of Love, i am sorry, but, even i find it hard to find something good to say about this, essently a 3 min Rap [yes, you heard me], laden with innuendo, and a heavily processed backing vocal, however, the chorus is kinda catchy.

Number 4, Island Fever, First thing to say, if possible, avoid the European Recording of this song, it stinks, [O.K the U.S version is not the next Good Vibes, but it's better] essentally, Kokomo Mk. 2, it's not that great, but it's a nice little pop tune, that could have been better with a stronger arrangment.

Track 5, Still Surfin', well, i must admit, i usually skip this one, but it's not too bad, but there has been better, much better, if you have started to grow tired of Mike's voice, then i suggest you skip to...

Track 6 Slow Summer Dancin', as far as albums go, this is the gem, written by Bruce, with a chorus lifted from the Danleer's 1969 song One Summer Night, it features a vocal shared between Bruce and Al, and is one of the best tracks on the album, and may be one of the best late era Beach Boys songs.

Track 7 Strange Things Happen, another track edited for the U.K release, although, this time, just edited, not re-recorded, a Mike track [with a shared vocal from Al] written with Transendential Mediataion in mind.

Track 8, Remember [Walkin' In The Sand], A good vocal from Carl, and an awful backing from Mike [the "Remember" bit sounds like someone lost their cool, and smacked him one, right in the nose] the drums are a little over the top, and the sax solo hurts my ears, a nice cover, but, not in the same leauge as the original.

Track 9, LaHaina Aloha, another brilliant track, and actually, a pretty good, tuneful [neally] vocal from Mike, Carl sounds great as ever, I beleve this is one of the tracks which features one Van Dyke Parks on accordian, [serously, he did, i dunno, Mike trying to do SMiLE ??]

Track 10, Under Broadwalk, with new lyrics, and drums that sound like a Hip Hop record [thankfully, the singing/everything else does not], i would say the Europe mix is probibally the mix to look out for, it's shorter, and, the bridge was included [it was cut from the U.S mix]

Track 11, Summer In Paradise, Ok, the U.S verson sucks, avoid it like the plauge, but, and i mean BUT, the Europe version is much better, it's been completly re-recorded, and has a vocal by Roger McGuinn on one verse, and altered vocals, a pretty plesant listen

Track 12, Forever, right, forget the original, if you dont, you will instantly hate this version, it's pretty good, and has a lead vocal from John Stamos, while it does not stand up to the origianal, it's plesant enough, and a pretty good tribute, the video is awful though, so, try to avoid it, while it does feature the Beach Boys, it's for about 5 seconds, so it's not really worth it, unless you want to see John Stamos, and Babies...yeah, exactly.

O.K overall, it's no Love You, but, it's pretty good, and if you took out Summer Of Love, and Island Fever, you would have a pretty good album here.