23 Songs For Today

November 21st, 2014

1.Sun King    -The Beatles
2. Golden Slumbers    -The Beatles
3. Good Night   – The Beatles
4. I’m Only Sleeping   – The Beatles
5. Tears Of Rage    -Bob Dylan
6. I Shall Be Released    -Bob Dylan
7. One Too Many Mornings    -Bob Dylan & The Band
8. All You Have to Do Is Dream –    Bob Dylan & The Band
9. Flying on the Ground Is Wrong   – Buffalo Springfield
10. You Ain’t Going Nowhere   – The Byrds
11. Right Between The Eyes   – Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
12. Dark Star    -Crosby, Stills And Nash
13. Only Love Can Break Your Heart    – Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
14.  An Ocean    -Deacon Blue
15. Win    -Deacon Blue
16. Novemberlong   – Gramercy Arms
17. Bow Down    -The Housemartins
18. Roy Orbison   – The Magic Numbers
19. E.N.D.    -The Magic Numbers
20. From Hank To Hendrix    -Neil Young
21. Our Special Love    -Peter Hollens & Brian Wilson
22. Ready Or Not-  Sarah Cracknell
23. Fakin’ It    -Simon & Garfunkel

Las Vegas, Baby

November 15th, 2014

Brian Wilson and friends will be hitting Las Vegas on December 12 for a show, and for filming a televised special. This will also see some of the songs from the new album being showcased, with no less than three other Beach Boys amongst the guests, including Blondie and Ricky, although no David Marks. With another show announced for Tulsa on December 4, it looks like Brian is gearing for some late year activity in preparation for a big 2015.

50 Christmases Ago, A Seasonal Classic Was Released

November 9th, 2014

There doesn’t seem to be an officially agreed release date for the Beach Boys’ Christmas Album. I’ve seen October and November 1964, with no specific date. The only date that does seem to be fixed is the release of the concurrent seasonal single The Man With All The Toys on November 9 1964. So today seems as good day as any to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a record that may not have seemed a big step forward for Brian and the Beach Boys musically, but remains a classic of its genre.

With two classic Christmas singles (Little Saint Nick was released a year earlier) , Brian Wilson contributed musically to the Christmas scene. The standards have a somewhat melancholic air, but showcase the vocal talents of the group with Blue Christmas being one of Brian’s best singing performances.

This album certainly wasn’t the end of the Beach Boys contributions to the season, but it is their most cohesive Christmas statement, and a lovely reminder of an age which may not have been as innocent as it seems, but certainly receding in time as many fond memories.

Some Pressure Released, Some Pressure To Look Forward To

November 7th, 2014

We’ve made some Pier Pressure progress in the last few days -there is a cover designed by daughter Daria and a release season, which is Spring 2015. The speculation that the release date has been adjusted to tie-in to the upcoming biopic will no doubt continue as we await more details on the movie.

2015 looks like a big year for Brian Wilson, but we have new Brian Wilson music today. Our Special Love is a collaboration with acapella specialist Peter Hollens, and provides a nice dose of classic Wilson harmonies and romantic sentiment that may tease a bit, but can also be seen as an early Christmas present. The big gifts may be in the new year, but we can be very grateful for this sweet one in 2014.

No Pier Pressure To Release

October 31st, 2014

Brian’s new album seems to have the rather interesting title of No Pier Pressure; there is a Wikipedia entry, and pre-orders on music sites with that title. But what we don’t have is a cover, full tracklist and confirmed release date. Many music sites listed the release as 4 November, but unless Brian is going to do a U2/Beyonce on us, this date in less than a week doesn’t seem plausible. What may be more plausible is that the release is being held back to tie in with the Brian Wilson biopic, Love And Mercy.

Of course, just to add to the confusion/anticipation -it seems possible that Brian has been recording specifically for the movie as well. So while nothing is confirmed, the prospect of new Brian Wilson music , and some good publicity, seems tantalisingly close. Maybe Christmas will come late this year?

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CXX: Anna Lee, The Healer

October 18th, 2014

Photograph of the Baths showing a rectangular area of greenish water surrounded by yellow stone buildings with pillars. In the background is the tower of the abbey.

In these times, we can all do with a bit of healing and therapy -no wonder the spa industry is growing so fast, but even back in 1968 things were certainly getting a little bit crazy.  The Friends album was a haven of peace and simple joys, and typical was this ode to a healer.

Anna Lee, The Healer is a simple production with mostly just a piano and bass line, but with it’s wonderful harmonies and simple message, it’s another winning but understated track from Brian and the Beach Boys.

A Pet Sound Goes Global

October 9th, 2014

God Only Knows stars By now, everyone on Planet Brian, and indeed a good portion of Planet Earth will have heard, seen and thought about the BBC version of God Only Knows.   Brian Wilson has had many triumphs in the last 15 years, and while this may be nowhere close to the most artistically satisfying, it will surely give Brian Wilson the widest exposure he has ever had since the heady days of the mid 60s, at least in the UK.

As the only artist featured twice, and the one given the last word, the man behind the melody of the one of the greatest songs ever written is certainly given pride of place on the record and video. There is evidence of more subtle homage being paid to Brian Wilson in parts of the record. He shares the spotlight with a wide range of genres, and while you may not love everyone of the record, you can’t argue with the pulling-power of a One Direction.

One can be cynical and talk about  the BBC punting their music channel and and their own star power. But the world will see Brian, and will hear a Pet Sounds classic. Some will surely want to dig deeper into the beautiful, healing music of Brian and the Boys.  For Brian and the hurting world, that can only be one direction, the right direction upwards.

Brian For George

September 30th, 2014

If you haven’t seen it, head it here to see my favorite Beach Boys play tribute to my favorite Beatle in what appears to have been a very succesful tribute to George Harrison.

The Perverse Possibilities Of The Barbican

September 25th, 2014

When I was in London, I suddenly realised, via Twitter, that Saint Etienne were playing a show on the Saturday night of my visit. One frantic IPad booking later, one of my concert dreams was coming true…I was going to see Saint Etienne in the city that is their inspiration for much of their music and films.

And it was their music and films that were celebrated, as the much of the concert showcased their new film, How We Used To Live, with the band playing the soundtrack live in the second half of the show. Most of the music was lovely new instrumental textures, written by Pete Wiggs, but it also included the lovely Sarah Cracknell song Ready Or Not, the only part of the soundtrack that isn’t new music. The film showed London in the post-World War 2 era (up until around 1980) with a lot of nostalgic images including some trains for this railway lover.

The first half of the concert included a mixture of old Saint Etienne favorites, new vocal songs, and obscure songs by London bands. The setlist for this part was

Milk Bottle Symphony

Gently (Spandau Ballet song)

Carrie-Anne (new song, not Hollies!)

Slightly Drunk (Squeeze song)

You Never Know (new song)

Sorry (new song)

Mario’s Cafe

Burning The Boats (Madness song)

Overall, a lot of new material and less familiar favorites were played. But this is a band who are extremely prolific (each of their albums has come with at least another album’s worth of good material), and it creates a lot of anticipation for material to come. It was a special show, and a special opportunity, and I’m very glad to have been part of it.



A Brief Dispatch From The Isles

September 18th, 2014

I’m on holiday in England during the Scottish independence referendum so just some brief dispatches before I return to more active blogging. The biggest Brian Wilson news remains the positive reaction to the Love And Mercy biopic , and the likelihood of a general release. Brian will also be appearing on the 28th at the “George Fest”, an all star tribute to George Harrison.

In my own personal music news, I saw Saint Etienne live at the Barbican in London, promoting their new film How We Used To Live.  More detail in my next post.