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Customer Review

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carl's albums, 24 May 2007
This review is from: Carl and the Passions "So Tough" / Holland (Audio CD)
Carl and the Passions is criminally underated. I'm so tired of reading reviews of these two albums where everybody tows the line and says "So Tough" has an unfinished feel and that "Holland" is the better of the two albums. Although not the most prolific of writers, both albums are mostly produced by Carl Wilson and contain some real gems. "So Tough" kicks off with a great track from Brian, "A Mess of Help"- although this isn't his only contribution to the album, by now he was in a bad place emotionally and his contributions became sparodic and less involved. The two tracks written by Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin are good but might confuse some by not sounding a lot like the Beach Boys, but don't let that sway you from giving them a fair listening. The last three tracks on "So Tough" are exemplary and deserve a hearing from anybody who considers theirselves to be a Beach Boys fan. Two towering ballads from Dennis and the other track, "All This Is That" is a personal favourite, reminding me in places of "Feel Flows" from the "Surf's Up" album. From the reviews I'd previously read, I was expecting Holland to be a great step forward, but it's very similar in feel and texture to "So Tough". Again Brian pens the first track, and "Sail On Sailor" is a gem. I'm usually keen on any Dennis Wilson track but "Steamboat" has to be one of my least favourite tracks written by him and the albums then wallows as Mike Love and Al Jardine get the "California Saga" trilogy of songs out of their system. Luckily Carl's back to the rescue with "The Trader" which lifts the album again. Blondie and Ricky then return with another cool song to keep the flow going, although come the end of the song, some listeners might think they're listening to Traffic, not the Beach Boys. Believe it or not, there follows a beautiful ballad written by Dennis and Mike Love, before the album proper closes with Brian re-appearing with "Funky Pretty", not one of his best by any means, although the true potential of this track is shown to far greater effect on the live album from the same period. The Holland album originally came with a bonus E.P. called "Mount Veron and Fairway" written by Brian with help from Carl and the bands then manager Jack Rieley when he ran into trouble trying to complete it. These tracks are included on the end of this C.D. Listening to this, it's obviously the work of a deeply troubled man, although it isn't as bad as I feared it might be. All in all these two albums are worth investing in, especially if you enjoy the "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up" period Beach Boys.
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Location: Wiltshire, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 691,152