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4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Nov. 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002MN2
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,900 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I first bought this album I was a little unsure about it. I had recently bought 'smile' which has is one of my favourite album ever. I was amazed when I listened to this at how good it was - if you like 'smile' you will probably like this album. Wilson's harmonies are absolutely fantastic, especially on the title track. There is a jazz sensibility about the music, kind of like the Four Freshmen. Each song is very different, cleverly written and there is a huge range of instruments. It is quite a sonic experience in itself.
There is a feel of Americana in many of the songs and an old world innocence which suits Wilson's voice and harmonies perfectly. There is also a mellow Beach Boys vibe to it. I really love this album and enjoy it more each time I listen to it. The music is complex so it deserves more than just a casual listen.
This is serious music and seriously good. I rate it among Brian Wilson's best albums, absolutely.
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Format: Audio CD
When I first slipped this CD into my player, after tweaking the disk itself, I felt like that guy in the armchair in those Maxell ads!
The basslines are powerful and rythmic, choruses rich and layered, lyrics poetic, nostalgic and at times obscure [by van dyke parks probably].
It may not be exactly radio airplay friendly and it's anything but commercial. This, I guess is half the appeal. Don't buy this album if you like your music categorised in little boxes. It is niether Pop, Rock, Country or indie, the nearest I can place it is Surf Rock.
If you liked George Martin's 'In My Life', you'll probably like this.
It is an album that is by turns refreshing, happy, warm and sad, whilethe orchestration and arrangements are peerless with rich, layered instrumentation with REAL drums, which makes a change.
In some respects it reminds me of the Beach Boys album 'Holland' {I have 'Trader' in mind].
Buy this album if you like a surprise and are open minded as its huge fun and full of melody.
Just a pity it wasn't masterd as a 24bit HDCD disc, as the dynamic range would have been goose pimply!
His 'Imagination' album also has superb production just like this one...
In short, WIERD BUT FUN!
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By Ianham VINE VOICE on 27 Sept. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Fantastic album - thanks to Van Dyke Parks Brian can concentrate on working his magic over vocals. Intended or not there specks of Stephen Foster and Steely Dan. "San Francisco" alone is worth the cost of the CD - certainly in my top five Brian songs. That said all of these songs stick in the memory long after hearing them. A very playable album and not one to sit on the shelf. The cover says it all - it has that washed out hazy feel of a hot afternoon. Buy and luxuriate.

I commend this CD to the house.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been a fanatical Brian Wilson/Beach Boys fan since the 1960s and I promise you that this is my favourite work from the BW/BB output (even including 'Pet Sounds' and 'Smile').

The review that I read at the time of the album's release (The Wolverhampton Express & Star) said 'don't expect the son of 'Smile''. However, that's precisely what it is! Two mature men, revisiting each other and showcasing each other's talent to a very high degree.

The music is rich and full, throughout. The complex, layered and lush arrangements are jazzy, orchestral and, dare I say it, neo-caribbean sounding in parts. There's a spice and a tinge of rum in all the tracks.

Brian sings most of the parts himself (all bar two tracks) and, although it's the 'old' Brian we hear, his leads and harmonies are as original, inventive and as spot-on as he's ever been. In fact, I'd go so far as to say he never sounded better. Brian reminds me of Donald Fagen in certain phrases on this album. His contribution is solely vocals, the songs being expertly crafted by the polymath Van Dyke Parks.

There is a link with 'Smile', throughout, as VDP writes in a very 'Steinbeckian' way of a rustic and optimistic America, where holidays, movies, hobos on freight trains and childhood sweethearts abound. There is also a connection with the ocean/sea and a longing to be under a palmtree and moon. I always think of those lyrics when I feel under pressure or sad.

Smile was a fantastic (if long overdue) surprise and was every bit as good as it promised to be 37 years previous, but this came 'out of the blue' and I hardly ever hear a mention of it.

Believe me, this music will gladden the hearts and charm just about everyone (except maybe fans of Mega-Death).
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Format: Audio CD
Apart from his debut solo album, I think this is probably Wilson's strongest work. Although written by Van Dyke Parks, Parks definitely had Brian Wilson in mind when he first thought up the record (Parks did try to encourage Brian Wilson to contribute songs to the project, but Wilson wasn't interested).
So what we have is a very ambitious, lush record, with complex harmonies & great melodies. The record is almost like a concept album, with many of the tracks exploring aspects of American culture or reminiscing about various locations in U.S.
Unfortunately the Quality of Brian Wilson's solo offering took has taken a bit of a nose dive since "Orange crate..", which makes this album all the more special
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