The King Of The Surf Guitar

March 19th, 2019

It’s a reflection on us all aging, as well as maybe a particularly tough period, when this blog ends up becoming like an obituary section. Dick Dale was a key figure in the early development of rock and roll, and particularly surf guitar, which was an important influence on the Beach Boys. Two of his trademarks songs were covered by the Beach Boys on their Surfin’ USA album, and  Misirlou gained a new lease of life after the Pulp Fiction movie. Health and financial issues meant that Dick Dale’s later life was particularly tough, and meant that he was on the road right up until he passed away. He will certainly not be forgotten for his contribution to music, and spirit right to the end.

A Tribute To Hal Blaine

March 16th, 2019

In tribute to Hal Blaine, here is a song he features strongly on.

The Drummer To All The Hits

March 12th, 2019

Sometimes it seems easier to name American hits of the 60s that didn’t have Hal Blaine on them. The list of number one hits  is impressive, and that doesn’t even allow the fact that he drummed on Pet Sounds and the SMiLE sessions. Therefore it is no surprise that there has been a huge outpouring of grief as the world acknowledges the passing of the great drummer -and a huge part of many people’s coming of age in the 60s. Well played, Hal Blaine, and we will still be listening over and over again to the memories.

Still On The Road

March 9th, 2019

Brian’s touring schedule for 2019 is gradually expanding – now up to 10 dates for the year, although he does have a touring break up until May. No overseas (or even Canadian) dates yet  -but most of them are Pet Sounds shows, celebrating the classic album which will be more than 53 years old for the shows.

23 Songs For Today

March 1st, 2019

1) Heaven Is a Word -Carla Werner
2) Hide the Wine -Carly Pearce
3) Every Little Thing- Carly Pearce
4) Queen of Sabotage -Courtney Jaye
5) One Way Conversation -Courtney Jaye
6) Time’s Up -Courtney Jaye
7) 33 -Elise Davis
8) Finally -Elise Davis
9) Bells and Whistles -Emma Stevens
10) Fireworks -First Aid Kit
11) Dandelions -Joanna Wallfisch
12) Summer Solstice -Joanna Wallfisch
13) Lazy -The Last Detail
14) Peace on Earth -Lissie
15) 5 Acres of Turnips -Pistol Annies
16) Masterpiece -Pistol Annies
17) This Too Shall Pass -Pistol Annies
18) Better Place -Rumer
19) Pizza and Pinball -Rumer
20) Hobart Paving -Saint Etienne
21) Camel Coat -Saint Etienne
22) Sarah -Sarah Slean
23) Daybreak -Sierra Hull

Goodbye, Peter Tork

February 24th, 2019

Classic 60s rock n’ pop suffered another big loss on Thursday with the sad passing of Peter Tork, one of the American “fab four” Monkees. The outpouring of tribute from many people, including Brian Wilson, has been heartfelt and many people will feel they have lost another integral part of their youth. Rest in peace, Peter Tork.

It Was 15 Years Ago Today

February 20th, 2019

15 years ago today , SMiLE, was performed for the first time in London. The wait for SMiLE was a lot longer, but the first live performance is now receding more firmly into the past -for me personally, as I am sure for everyone else lucky enough to be there, it remains a moment of a lifetime. In the turmoil of 2019, it’s always good to remember that first performance, when a great artist conquered his own demons and gave the world brilliant, thought-provoking and joyful music.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXX: One For The Boys

February 15th, 2019

Whether it was a deliberate tilt at the other Beach Boys or not, One For The Boys is a beautiful track on Brian Wilson’s first eponymous solo album, showcasing acapella harmonies that would make you think that Brian was still working with the other Boys. Clocking in at under two minutes, it is short and very, very sweet.

The Beach Boys “White” Album

February 10th, 2019

This post is a week later than the actually anniversary, but thanks to WordPress’s ability to change time, the posting date reflects the exact 50th anniversary of 20/20

This album can be seen as the Beach Boys’ White Album in that it has a wide variety of styles from the raucous rock of All I Want To Do to the gentle music box instrumental, The Nearest Faraway Place. It also shares a creepy Charles Manson connection in that it is almost certain that Manson had a hand in writing some of Dennis’s contributions to the album, in particular Never Learn Not o Love.

More significantly, this is the first Beach Boys’ album that is not dominated by Brian Wilson compositions. Brian’s lack of contribution is somewhat masked by the conclusion of two SMiLE pieces making their first vinyl release, Cabinessence and Our Prayer. Aside from that, Brian’s contributions are limited to the brilliant trilogy Do It Again, I Went To Sleep and Time To Get Alone, as well as producing the cover version of Cotton Fields. The rest of the band fill the breach, a feature of the 1969-71 period, and even more pronounced on the next album Sunflower, with Carl’s production of I Can Hear Music and Dennis’s Be With Me being most noteworthy. Bruce’s instrumental The Nearest Faraway Place is also particularly atmospheric and invokes a haven of peace in a chaotic era.

All in all, there is a sense of brilliant songs, but with a whole not quite being the sum of the parts, given the varying sources of the material.Regardless 20/20 is another very good album in a terribly underrated era of the band’s music.

A New Old Prefab Sprout Album

February 1st, 2019

Today marks only the tenth time since 1984 that Prefab Sprout have released a new studio album. Except this album is actually a re-release of Paddy McAloon’s acclaimed solo record, I Trawl The Megahertz, one of my favorite records of all time. Since Paddy McAloon has been the only member of the Sprouts in recent years, it is fitting that this great record is released under the better known band name. And this may not be the only Prefab record this year….