Dennis Wilson : Farewell My Friend
In August of 1977, Dennis Wilson released his first and only solo album, the critically-acclaimed Pacific Ocean Blue.
Over the years its status has grown, but right out of the gate Rolling Stone critic Billy Altman had nothing but praise :
Wilson's style, both in terms of singing and songwriting, is unique. His voice somehow manages to be both rough and fragile at the same time, making his vocals strangely powerful and moving. As a songwriter, his strong suit is the ballad, and though the tunes are often little more than fragments, they have a way of taking hold of your emotions. "Farewell My Friend" and "Thoughts of You" demonstrate the intensity of Wilson's songs, although both avoid the verse/chorus/bridge structure of most pop songs. And even on such uptempo numbers as the title track and "Friday Night," there's a sensitivity and vulnerability that is almost irresistible.
To his credit, Wilson did not gather a carload of familiar names to make it through this project -- none of the other original Beach Boys appears here.*Nor did he attempt to mimic the Beach Boys' sound. Yes, there are certain Beach Boy touches here and there, especially in the complex vocal arrangements: "Thoughts of You" has a passage that seems right out of Surf's Up, and "You and I" could easily have been part of Friends. But on the whole, Pacific Ocean Blue is a distinctly personal statement and reveals Dennis Wilson to be a talented and gifted performer in his own right.
*Some of the other Beach Boys actually did contribute. Carl helped write "River Song" and Mike Love helped with the title cut. Carl, Bruce Johnston and Ricky Fataar also played on one or more songs.
In his autobiography I Am Brian Wilson, Dennis's big brother wrote about the album: