Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Beach Boys - Summer Love Songs: Girls On The Beach Compilation

Capitol/EMI are set to issue yet another new Beach Boys compilation - Summer Love Songs: Girls On The Beach - on May 19th. Now, Capitol in the past ten years or so has released several of these sort of compilations. You know the sort of thing - a small handful of unreleased songs on a compilation with all previously released songs. The kind of releases that have an unmistakable scent of exploiting collectors. Capitol is also responsible for some fine quality releases too. What are some of them? I'll just list them all, for your convenience.

Endless Harmony Soundtrack (1998 with a significant upgrade in 2000)
The Greatest Hits Vol.1: 20 Good Vibrations (1999)
The Greatest Hits Vol.2: 20 More Good Vibrations (1999)
Greatest Hits, Vol. 3: The Best Of The Brother Years, 1970-1986 (2000)
Hawthorne, CA: Birthplace Of A Musical Legacy (2001)
Pet Sounds [mono / stereo] (2001)
Classics: Selected by Brian Wilson (2002)
Good Timin': Live At Knebworth England 1980 (2002 - on DVD as well)
Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys (2003)
Sights & Sounds Of Summer CD/DVD Set (same as above with ten track DVD)(2003)
Songs From Here & Back (ten track live album plus, released through Hallmark) (2006)
Pet Sounds: 40th Anniversary [CD/DVD Set] (2006)
Good Vibrations: 40th Anniversary Edition EP (2006)
The Warmth Of The Sun (2007)
US Singles Collection Box: The Capitol Years, 1962-1965 (2008)

That's a lot of releases.

Considering that of all the major artists of their era, The Beach Boys (supposedly, well probably) have one of the deepest catalogs of unreleased material, one wonders why Capitol haven't tapped into the wellspring of obscure material that fans of the band will surely buy. There's more potential for definite sales as opposed to re-selling a would-be best-of compilation with a few rarities. Not too many people are willing to buy the same best-of over and over (regardless how slight the track variation may be). The track listing for this is okay, if not seemingly random. There are three cover versions included that are, for all intents and purposes, purely exercises in production techniques. And woefully needless considering the amount of great original material The Beach Boys have in the vaults. The Beach Boys' 1960's recordings are, for the most part, optimally heard in mono. So the stereo mixes are, ostensibly, alternate versions that may or may not be superior to the well-established mono mixes. The only new item to many people is the fantastic "Fallin' In Love" (aka "Lady"). Assuming it's a different version included here - the only released version was on the 1970 "Sound Of Free" solo single credited to 'Dennis Wilson & Rumbo' which was Dennis Wilson and Daryl Dragon (aka The Captain of Captain & Tennille).

Here's the track listing (* = Previously Unreleased):

1. Don't Worry, Baby [new stereo mix from newly recovered analog multi-track master]*
2. Why Do Fools Fall In Love [new stereo mix from newly recovered analog multi-track master]*
3. Wouldn't It Be Nice
4. God Only Knows
5. Surfer Girl
6. California Girls
7. Please Let Me Wonder
8. In The Parkin' Lot
9. Your Summer Dream
10. Kiss Me, Baby
11. Hushabye [new stereo mix]*
12. I'm So Young [new stereo mix]*
13. Good To My Baby [new stereo mix]*
14. Fallin' In Love [previously unreleased track, written and recorded by Dennis Wilson]*
15. Time To Get Alone [new stereo mix]*
16. Our Sweet Love
17. Help Me, Rhonda
18. Keep An Eye On Summer
19. Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
20. Girls On The Beach

Considering some Beach Boys compilations have in fact served real purposes like, for example, 1981's excellent double-album Ten Years Of Harmony - that collected a sizable amount of their 70's gems - would be a nice collection to have remastered on CD. And some have taken on lives of their own so to speak in terms of getting material to new fans (i.e. the triumvirate of 1974's Endless Summer, 1975's Spirit Of America and 1982's Sunshine Dream). It's surprising that these have yet to appear on newly-remastered CDs by now. And then there's what fans really want. Maybe, the legendary unreleased album Smile? It's basically all recorded (the 1966-67 version that is) all that needs to be done is a definitive mix/sequence. How about the recently-recovered live album Beachago (recorded on the 1975 tour with Chicago)? Or perhaps Brian's groovy 1977 album Adult/Child? Or maybe the dozens of songs recorded in the 1969-1971 period some of which surfaced on the illicitly-released album Landlocked?

It's not as if the well of material is dry. Not by a long shot. It's just a matter of time before they wise up and start to release the unreleased stuff compiled, definitively.

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