Tag Archives: The Beach Boys

Murry Wilson & Snow • The Break Away EP [DD]

Just in time for Christmas comes one of the world’s most loathsome rock impresarios with something new! Well, if not exactly new, previously unreleased and mostly unknown. Yes, it’s MURRY WILSON & SNOW! The Break Away EP is a 4-track digital-only collection of songs recorded sometime in 1969 by The Beach Boys’ patriarch and a Midwestern vocal group that nobody knows anything about! Okay, we do know a bit: Once Murry Wilson was forcibly removed from his sons’ (Brian, Carl & Dennis) orbit the old guy decided to try and replicate the boys’ success with a new group he could manage (The Sunrays, three Top 100 singles and then nothin’), which soon petered out, leaving him to ponder his next move. And that was, try again. Sunray leader Rick Henn brought Murry a new singing group, Snow, consisting of apparently a number of Midwestern guys and possibly at least one gal and soon the group and presumably some studio musicians (if it’s anyone from The Wrecking Crew none of ’em are owning up to it) got together to make an actually pleasant little sunshine pop concoction. “Break Away” and “We’re Together Again” were associated with The Beach Boys and the other two, “Wilderness” and “Bless Me,” are otherwise unaccounted for in the greater world of pop k-nowledge. Regardless of whether we knew about Snow before now, it’s kinda fun to listen to – dare I say, delightful? – and to see how Murry Wilson remained determined to get what he felt were his just desserts for giving his boys, The Beach Boys, to us years after they gave him the boot.

2/5 (Omnivore OVDG-367, 2019)

Here’s a taste of the “legend” of Murry Wilson’s managerial (and fatherly!) finesse, followed by a fictionalized look created by cartoonist extraordinaire, Peter Bagge:

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The Beach Boys • 1967 Sunshine tomorrow [CD]

Here’s another in a series of releases designed to bring you more of THE BEACH BOYS’ mid/late ’60s output. This time, since they’ve already mined the Pet Sounds/ Smile era about as much as must be possible, we’re getting the very next chapter in their story: the sessions for their following album, 1967’s Wild Honey. Unsung by the mainstream press but acclaimed by those with a deeper appreciation for Hawthorne, CA’s favorite sons/cousins/best friends, this new release covers a year’s worth of activities from a time when the Wilson Bros. & Co. were much busier than anyone knew.

1967 Sunshine tomorrow [capitalization is theirs, not my typo] is a 2CD set with a mind-numbingly large quantity of tracks, 65 in all. The Wild Honey album itself is quite good—this, after all, is where the single “Darlin’” comes from—the band’s first LP outing in which they produced themselves, played most of the instruments, and really began to cut loose from Capitol Records’ short leash. Chances are, after the lukewarm reception Pet Sounds garnered, and then the Smile catastrophe, record company suits were okay with letting the band just go away for awhile. Who knows, they may have secretly been giving them enough rope to hang themselves, making it easier for the label to cut ’em loose and let their current slump become some other executives’ problem.

Whatever was the label’s master plan, The Beach Boys themselves started a number of projects in 1967 and no less than seven of them are represented here. Wild Honey itself makes up disc one, with a brand new stereo mix (it was never mixed that way back in the day) that shines a nice bright light on the album, including some great songs of their own and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Was Made to Love Her.” Some thirteen tracks of outtakes from the album’s sessions are next, which comprise an interesting look at what the Boys were doing but which aren’t that revelatory to their working practices. (We’ve already been given two different 4CD anthologies of how they made Pet Sounds, and though these WH tracks were primarily recorded at their own personal studio, aside from sound quality they don’t show anything new of the group’s arranging and recording methods.) Still, disc one is Wild Honey through and through. Disc two, however, is much less focused. Here we get Smiley Smile sessions (the album prior to WH that ultimately became the sad reminder of what Smile might have been, had the band ever finished it), live and simulated live tracks for the aborted Lei’d in Hawaii album, more live tracks, and a few pre-Surf’s Up studio tracks. I found the Lei’d tracks quite depressing. I hoped (or is it expected) they’d be exciting, but instead they were slow and dull. Clearly The Beach Boys were in transition, and it’s been documented that they, indeed, seemed rudderless at this point. Sadly, this is the proof. The actual live tracks are as lifeless as the studio recordings they planned to add audience sounds to in order to hoodwink America. Luckily, the band—or some entity close to them—sensed these dreary tracks would not help their case and chose not to go ahead with the project. That they have now speaks to either their wish to give the hardcore fans what they want or to their failing memories. After all, the Boys are now Old Men.

1967 Sunshine tomorrow would have made a dazzling single disc. As a crammed 2CD venture, though, Wild Honey gets lost in the morass-o-tracks presented here. I’d have preferred a one CD affair. And yes, I can choose to just not listen to the other disc (which I will likely do), but in reviewing the entire thing, I gotta say, the “sunshine tomorrow” we’re given today is sooooo bright that it’s hard to see the Wild Honey at its core.

2.5/5 (Capitol Records)

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