Sunday, January 04, 2009

Album of the Day #124: CARL WILSON

Title: Carl Wilson
Artist: Carl Wilson
Year: 1981
Label: Caribou/CBS
Songs: Hold Me/Bright Lights/What You Gonna Do About Me/The Right Lane/Hurry Love/Heaven*/The Grammy/Seems So Long Ago
Written by: Carl Wilson & Myrna Smith, except *Carl Wilson, Myrna Smith & Michael Sun
Produced by: James William Guerico

Thoughts: Since I appear to be doing self-titled LPs lately, I figured that I'd do another one. Carl's first solo album was also the first solo LP by a Beach Boy since Dennis's spectacular Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977. It's nowhere near as powerful or as magnificent as that LP, but it's still surprisingly enjoyable.
The major difference is that while Dennis was able to surround himself with a spectacular writer and producer, Gregg Jakobson, Carl wasn't. Carl found back-up single Myrna Smith to co-write his material with and this only gave him mediocre melodies and pedestrian lyrics. Smith is a powerful vocalist, particularly with her impressive parts in the opening "Hold Me". The trouble is that Carl can certainly hold his own weight when it comes to vocals.
The remaining songs are pretty good, except the overwhelmingly embarrasing "The Grammy" (ironically enough, The Beach Boys have never won a Grammy, although Brian did win for "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" from SMiLE in 2004). "Right Lane" is good, but goes on for two minutes longer than it needs to.
"Heaven" is also achingly beautiful, as probably many of you have heard. If you haven't, it's a real shame. Both of Carl's albums are out-of-print (his other one is titled Young Blood, released in 1983) and have only been issued on CD outside of the US. I would love to see them remastered and given an official release, even if it is just a simple two-fer (both are short enough). Since Pacific Ocean Blue was so successful, maybe there is a possiblity, but I don't see that time coming soon. I would suggest you do a Google search for them. (That's what I did.)
Carl Wilson is a fun album, but I wouldn't call it great (probably not 'good', either). His vocals are the main reason you should listen to it and you won't be sorry.

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