Archive for Dennis Wilson

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: The Beach Boys

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by 30daysout

Today we’re going to pull out a record from my own collection – Holland, the 1973 album from the Beach Boys and one of my all-time favorites from the band.   By the early 1970s, the days of hit singles (and even hit albums) were behind the Beach Boys, mainly because Brian Wilson’s control of the band had dissipated as he faded into a haze of drugs and mental illness.

The band’s manager (Jack Rieley, who also wrote lyrics for some of the Beach Boys’ music) suggested the group cut an album in Holland in hopes that a change of scenery might help snap Brian back to reality.  So in 1972 the Beach Boys, their families and handlers and recording people all flew to Baambrugge, Netherlands, along with truckloads of California recording equipment.  After a few false starts and panic attacks, even Brian Wilson got on the plane.

With younger brother Carl Wilson as the ringleader, the rest of the band stepped up to fill in for brother Brian – Dennis Wilson wrote two songs, “Steamboat” and “Only With You” (with lyrics supplied by Rieley and Mike Love, respectively) and Carl wrote “The Trader” (with anti-imperialist lyrics from Rieley).  New members Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar, who joined the previous year, chipped in with “Leaving This Town” and “We Got Love.”

All of the songs above are a mixed bag, if you’ve never heard any of them before it might be hard to recognize the Beach Boys’ trademark sound as you know it.  They’re pleasant and professional, they’re a little edgy and experimental but honestly whenever Holland comes up those are rarely the songs people talk about.

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Review: “Pacific Ocean Blue,” Dennis Wilson

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on June 30, 2008 by 30daysout

The last time I saw Dennis Wilson was in August 1983 at the Houston Astrodome. The Beach Boys were playing after an Astros game and he looked completely disheveled when he got out of one of the convertibles that brought band members on the field.  Dirty jeans, no shoes, no shirt, and probably high as a kite.  By this time, he couldn’t keep time and another drummer was also on stage.

Wilson drowned later that year (ironic because he was the only Beach Boy who could surf), however, he left behind one of the better solo albums by any member of the Beach Boys, Pacific Ocean Blue.

Wilson never had the clean, angelic voice of his brothers Brian and Carl.  His was rough, grainy (maybe from all the years of drugs and alcohol) soulful and sad.  It reflected his life.  His voice is best showcased on the excellent “Thoughts of You,” “Time,” “Farewell My Friend,” the eerie “End of the Show,” and the spiritual “River Song,” where the lyrics include the line “got to get away” illustrate his pain of living.

This two-disc collection also features the unfinished album, Bambu, that Wilson was working on shortly after the release of Pacific Ocean Blue. His decline into drug and alcohol abuse took away any inspiration he had to finish, in his words, “a superior follow up.” The Bambu disc also features a version of “Holy Man” sung by Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

Out of print for more than 15 years, it’s nice to see Legacy Recordings finally released this gem. Mike Love never had it in him to make an album this good.

MP3: “Thoughts of You

MP3: “River Song

Dennis Wilson Pacific Ocean Blue Website

Dennis Wilson re-issue due June 17

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 19, 2008 by 30daysout

The late Dennis Wilson will finally get the re-issue treatment on June 17. Pacific Ocean Blue is finally being released again on CD after being out of print for more than 15 years. The two-disc set will also feature Bamboo, a bootleg that has been floating around for years. I received this CD as a birthday present back in 1990 and it’s excellent. I’m looking forward to the updated sound and new tracks. You can preview the CD at www.pacificoceanblue.net.