Monday, May 7, 2012

40 Year Itch: Brian Wilson's Beach Girls Gem

Having withdrawn from The Beach Boys following 1971's Surf's Up , Brian Wilson instead devoted "some" of his time to the girl group sounds of his wife Marilyn and sister in law Diane Rovell, both former members of The Honeys. In May of 1972, as Spring ("American Spring" outside the US), they released a record that absolutely vanished  There are only two used copies of the CD for sale at Amazon and both are prices at  just under $130. 

Brian with his wife and 2/3's of Wilson Phillips

This is a collector's item because it gives us some insight into Brian's frame of mind during his missing years. Marilyn said at the time "The idea was to record all the songs that we ever loved. Brian helped out in all departments--he sang, arranged most of the backgrounds, wrote some of the songs and picked the material. He was very emotional throughout and would cry at the sessions because he liked a song so much he couldn't believe it."

Among the songs Brian picked were Carole King's "Now That Everything's Been Said", Tommy Roe's "Everybody", Delaney and Bonnie's "Superstar", The Shirelles's "Mama Said" and three songs from the Wilson Brothers. Two came from Dennis Wilson. "Fallin In Love" ( recorded as "Lady" on Pacific Ocean Blue) and "Forever" from The Beach Boys album Sunflower. Also from Sunflower came "This Whole World" with an extra bridge ("Starlight/Star Bright"). That's the song The Mojo Collection-The Greatest Albums Of All Time calls the highlight of this mostly unheard album..."as fine as anything Brian Wilson ever produced"

Listening to the album I was struck by how commercial it must have seemed to at least a few United Artists record execs. After all didn't Carole King just re-record a whole bunch of girl group songs for Tapestry?
History proved them wrong but this is still an absolute delight of an album.

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