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Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin (Digipack) CD

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 Sept. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B003TOYG7M
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,132 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Brian Wilson continues to experiment with Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin. This album includes Wilson's interpretations of classic Gershwin numbers such as "Rhapsody in Blue", "Summertime" and "Someone to Watch Over Me". He's also gone further, completing unfinished Gershwin music to create the songs "The Like in I Love You" and "Nothing but Love".

BBC Review

It’s only right to be sceptical when approaching this album. Just how has Brian Wilson, former leading light of The Beach Boys, approached these songs that have, largely, been covered so many times since they were written back in the 1920s and 30s? But any qualms are soon dispelled by his engaging performances and the imaginative arrangements, ones that remain faithful to the spirit of their melodic and harmonic core values.

This whole selection is infused with a sunny and carefree joie de vivre, emblematic of his roots as lead singer with The Beach Boys, particularly during their early years. The album opens (and closes) with an a cappella arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue, but what follows is of greater interest: a new song that Brian and his team have reconstructed from source material loaned by Warner Chappell Music, the publishers of the Gershwin songbook. The Like in I Love You is an absolute charmer, with a turn of phrase typical of Ira Gershwin: "You reached into my heart / and found the music of my soul / the pain in painting / the muse in music / the like in I love you". He then sings four songs from Porgy and Bess: a burnished Summertime; I Loves You, Porgy, normally sung by Bess to him, but very effective in this translation; a jaunty I Got Plenty o’Nuttin’, with the arrangement including washboard and banjo playing up its southern roots; and It Ain’t Necessarily So, delivered with a nonchalant ironic detachment.

A little instrumental codicil, an arrangement of the Piano Prelude No. 2, segues into a Latin treatment of ‘S Wonderful, one of the many instances where Wilson is joined by an expert mixed vocal group. Later this ensemble has a whale of a time imitating The Beach Boys in They Can’t Take That Away From Me and in the gently swinging Love Is Here to Stay, replete with doo-wah harmonies. The rock’n’roll accompaniment to I’ve Got a Crush On You and the good vibrations of I Got Rhythm both recall earlier vocal groups like The Platters. Nothing But Love, the second Gershwin ‘find’, is given a contemporary work out in a party style, the modulation at the halfway point recognisably Gershwin.

The imaginative artwork, of a black and white keyboard splintering into different colours, emphasises the feel-good factor of this winning collection of songs and arrangements done with great style.

--Adrian Edwards

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brian Wilson takes on Gershwin classics and develops some unfinished tunes to deliver a tribute to Gershwin in his own inimitable way. The album gets off to a great start with the multi-layered vocals on 'Rhapsody In Blue (Intro)' comparable to the 'SMILE' opener 'Our prayer', and along with the first of the newly completed numbers 'The Like In I Love You' gives a positive start to the album. Wilson goes back to his roots with a lot of the classics songs his mother Audrey played him in his early years which clearly influenced him throughout his career in his singing, compositions and productions. Through choosing the songs within his register, Brian sings very solidly throughout but a few of the clasic Gershwin songs are a little too shmaltzy, in my opinion. 'I Got Plenty Of Nothin' is a very good track with a SMiLE-esque style and is very catchy, and the other new song 'Nothing But Love' is a typical Wilson song with great backing and harmonies from his band. Throughout the album the production is good and though he does some fairly radical interpretations of some of the songs, I get the feeling that he has really played it a little too safe. The album is very accessible and I wouldn't be surpised if it got a Grammy, and almost all Brian Wilson fans will find a lot to enjoy. It is yet another fine album from the 68 year old genius, as he takes a trip down memory lane.
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Format: Audio CD
Forget the processed facsimiles that pass for music these days, get into this - a true meeting of icons. Top notch musicians playing and singing that will take you places Rod Stewart never could in a million years. It's inventive, fun and above all vindication that Brian Wilson still has the ability to deliver high quality work. Best tracks? Take your pick, there's plenty to choose from here - "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and "Nothing But Love" certainly fit the bill. Have no doubts, this is quality stuff, and with a tour due in the UK next year with the entire album performed live, there's a lot more to look forward to.
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Format: Audio CD
This blend of Gershwin and Wilson can best be described as "Pet Sounds meets SMiLE meets Gershwin classics". The unmistakeable Beach Boys sound adds new life to these great Jazz standards, particularly 'I Loves You, Porgy', 'They Can't Take that Away From Me', 'Summertime', and 'Someone to Watch Over Me'. Although Wilson's voice hasn't survived the decades as well as say Paul Mccartney, he adds that quality (harmonies/angelic melody) that makes all his work so listenable. A different approach to some of Gershwin's best output, this album is definitely for anyone who has at any point felt warm inside listening to the Beach Boys or Brian Wilson's SMiLE.
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Format: Audio CD
Hearing the 67-year old founder of the Beach Boys sing "I Loves You Porgy" is initially rather odd, but "oddness" is something that Brian Wilson specialises in. Brian has often cited Gershwin as an influence; hence this tribute from a living musical genius to an earlier one. This may be the first time that many of us post-war kids have taken Gershwin on board, even if we know that he wrote classics such as "Rhapsody in Blue", "Summertime" and, um...lots of others.

An excerpt from "Rhapsody" with Brian and band harmonising opens the album. Then a lush piece of orchestration transports us to a cosy 1930s setting. First song is "The Like in I Love You", one of two unfinished numbers here by Gershwin, recently completed by Wilson. Lines such as "the muse in music, the pain in painting..." have the trademark of Scott Bennett; band-member and lyricist on Brian's previous master-work, "That Lucky Old Sun". Next comes a sultry and steamy "Summertime". Brian can't quite reach the high notes, but that doesn't matter. "Porgy" follows with Brian in fine voice. By way of contrast, "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'" is played as a sort of barn-dance themed instrumental. Banjo, harmonica and bass harmonica make a rousing noise which I'd sing along to, if I knew the words. Sweeping cellos and woodwind then segue into a swampy "It Ain't Necessariliy So". This features some pleasing "bom bom boms" and "oooh ooohs" from Taylor Mills (no-one can "oooh" quite like Taylor!).

"'S Wonderful"teeters on M.O.R (Ray Conniff, anyone?) but is saved by a satisfying flute interlude. A potential single is "They Can't Take That Away From Me", which inventively imitates "California Girls". Then it's back to crooner mode with the romantic "Love is Here to Stay".
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Format: Audio CD
The more I hear this album the more I like it! There are a couple of things I'm not sure about, though. For example the song "I Loves You Porgy"; this should have been sung by a woman or maybe, these days, a gay man. Brian is neither. I would have felt far more comfortable with this song had it been fronted by female band member Taylor Mills. Also, the instrument version of "I've Got Plenty of Nothing" maybe a fun number but it's a little mechanical for my liking.

However, the star moments of the album are "It Ain't Necessarily So", although the harmonica is a little prominent, and "Nothing but Love". The latter an unfinished Gershwin song completed by Wilson is so happy and uplifting and full of that ol' Beach Boy magic that I just want to play it over and over again!

All in all this is one of the best Brian Wilson albums ever produced. The big tragedy is that there are thousands of people out there who really would love this album but are simply unaware of its existence!!
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