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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake The World.....
Most armchair music fans would say to you that, Pet Sounds aside, the Beach Boys never produced an album of any substance. True, they were a great singles band, but in an age where the Beatles were knocking out the goods record after record, is it any wonder that the Californians' back catalogue has been completely overlooked?
Well, let's redress the balance. Prior...
Published on 14 Jun 2002 by Jim Barker

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Post-Smile Recovery
Where do you go after you have made Pet Sounds? Where do you go after you have made Forever Changes, or Sgt Pepper, or Blonde On Blonde, or In Utero, or OK Computer? It's the culmination of your life's work, but the hungry machine demands another one of equal or greater stature a year later, and worse, you demand it of yourself too. It would seem to be an unanswerable...
Published on 24 Aug 2005 by Lozarithm

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5.0 out of 5 stars simply fabulous!, 8 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Friends / 20/20 (Audio CD)
I ordered so many Beach Boys albums from Amazon that I'm reviewing them as I listen to them individualy (for the umpteenth
time) I never ever tire of listening to them and I believe this is a testimony to the depth of their wonderful, wonderful music. I believe they are judged too much on their surfing music, which though very good, was more by the insistance of their record companies.Inside of the Wilson brothers there was an inventive genius waiting to explode. Brian was the one who made it happen, and may well be the greatest producer of our time,but Dennis also showed towards the end of his short life what a real creative talent he had, Carl meanwhile had the most wonderful voice I've heard and was the groups perfectionest,nobody hardly ever played a wrong note because as I saw one of them say in 'Endless Harmony;' :Nobody wanted to get 'THAT LOOK' from Carl. 29 tracks on this double album c/d 'Friends' and 20/20 both are among their best and you will
never regret the purchase.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A warm and beautiful collection., 20 Nov 2009
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This review is from: Friends / 20/20 (Audio CD)
The Friends album, from 1968, has some lovely country/folk songs,or at least as close to folk music as the Beach Boys would get. Listen to songs such as Friends, or Wake the world, and that should give a good idea of what to expect.
20/20, from 1969 has two songs which were intended for Smile: Our Prayer, and Cabinessence. Two stand-out tracks here are Do It Again, and I Can Hear Music, sung by Carl. Lovely.
These two albums also bring to the fore the gorgeous,rich voice of Dennis Wilson,particularly on the tracks Little Bird, Be Still, and the lovely Be With Me.Dennis Wilson tended to be overshadowed by Brian and Carl,but these songs show just how accomplished he was. There are rare photos, and extensive liner notes here too.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's a good album's worth of tracks here...., 22 Mar 2004
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Friends / 20/20 (Audio CD)
I'm of the disposition that post-Pet Sounds, after the non-release of the fabled Smile, The Beach Boys only released one completely classic album (1970's Sunflower). The rest was a hotchpotch, veering from the brilliant (Til I Die, Cuddle Up)to the good (Marcella, Busy Doin' Nothin') to the OK (Friends, Wonderful) to the poor (Student Demo Time, Transcendetal Meditation). It's a hit & miss affair (apart from Dennis' timeless solo LP Pacific Ocean Blue) that is made less problematic by the many Beach Boys double-sets. Friends/20-20 offers up the 12-track Friends LP from 1968, the 20-20 outtakes set (another 12 tracks) and a further five-bonus cuts.
Friends is a relatively upbeat set, quite a lot of Eastern Hippy philosophies were invading the music & it's hard to let off lyrics about insense sticks and the final Transcendetal Meditation. Brian was slightly back and co-wrote and self-composed several fine songs- the best of which is Busy Doin' Nothin', a less horrifying take on Syd Barrett's damaged Vegatable Man. Still, Brian was writing sad tosh about his favourite masseuse (Anna Lee, The Healer) which is quite silly but perfect summertime music (& advances on the presence of humour apparent in Smile). The best thing about Friends is the relatively late development of Dennis Wilson as a songwriter, Dennis co-wrote Friends and was behind my favourite song here, Little Bird. This song is classic Beach Boys in terms of harmony, but has a Beatles-vibe to it (the strings) & great vocals from Dennis and Brian. Be Still follows Little Bird and its minimal nature makes me think of Spacemen3 circa Playing With Fire for some reason! (or perhaps the keyboards on Spacemen3's earlier Walkin'with Jesus). It heralds another brilliant element to The Beach Boys & followed by Busy Doin' Nothin' creates a strong suite, when followed by the Smile-esque realm of Diamond Head (just a pity about Transcendental Meditation!)***
20/20 is basically an album of leftovers which The Beach Boys released as they left Capitol for their own label Brother- it opens with the nostalgic hit single Do It Again, which is simple and extremely effective: another Brian/Love composed classic. There are a few cover versions- I Can Hear Music & Bluebirds Over the Mountain are fine- I'm not so keen on Cotton Fields (the bonus covers are equally underwhelming- a brief stab at Walk On By (the best version remains Isaac Hayes) & the dull medley Old Folks at Home/Ol'Man River).
Brian gives the album a lift with the gorgeous Be With Me, the kind of devotional love song he grew to perfect- it's quite OTT and probably what the Walker Brothers would have sounded like if produced by a Wilson Brother! I think a lot of Dennis' material shares similar qualities to Arthur Lee, Lee Hazlewood, & Gene Clark & he's a guy who's a bit looked over due to the genius presence of Dennis. All I Want to Do is penned by Dennis & sung by Love & is kind of Beach Boys do garage rock with a hint of r'n'b. It's very obvious, which is fine & is as valid as The Doors' shallow (but great) Touch Me...
The Nearest Faraway Place is an instrumental from Bruce Johnston, who would compose some great songs on Sunflower- it's fairly pleasant but hardly in the territory of Let's Go Away for Awhile (what is...?) 20/20 suddenly gets very strong with the Brian/Carl-composed I Went to Sleep (gorgeous) & Brian's sublime Time to Get Alone. Even better is Dennis' reworking of the song Cease to Exist he co-wrote with Charles Manson, Never Learn Not to Love. This song, despite the dodgy associations with serial killers, tries to look toward that transcendetal love that was at the heart of Dennis' songs. It has a brilliant-arrangement- wonderful harmonics, building rhythms & much more going on. Dennis' voice gets desperate as it goes on- a distinctive lead vocal...Our Prayer/Cabinessence rounds of 20/20 with some more Smile-Smiley Smile material (though to be fair, the Good Vibes box-set is a better representation of that project, as no doubt the myriad of MP3s recorded during Brian's recent Smile-concerts)...The rest of the bonus tracks feature the pleasant Break Away, the brief & charming We're Together Again & Dennis' b-side kiss-off to Capitol, Celebrate the News. Celebrate...has an interesting use of bass and shows Dennis' becoming quite a producer- nice voices beneath the main vocal. Celebrate the News is strong material & shows Dennis developing towards such classic songs as Forever, Lady & Carry Me Home...****
A lovely double-set with much to offer, there's nothing really awful here & much to commend it; I'd buy it for the Dennis-stuff...
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but not their best, 13 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Friends / 20/20 (Audio CD)
Friends is one of the most relaxing and peaceful albums I've heard, and would be one of the Beach Boys' best, if it wasn't for the terrible 'Trancendental Meditation' track which finishes the album. 20/20 isn't quite as good, as its a bit patchy, but contains a couple of gems, especially 'Cabinessence', a leftover from the Smile project. This is a good Beach Boys double album, but not as good as Sunflower/Surfs Up, or Today/Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!)
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Friends / 20/20
Friends / 20/20 by The Beach Boys (Audio CD - 2001)
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