Ranking every Beach Boys song/album: “Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!!)” (by Songwriter Jim Fusco)

Originally posted 2012-02-04 04:00:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hi Mike and hello to all other participators. Here is my weigh-in for the “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!)” album- a true classic.

SUMMER DAYS (AND SUMMER NIGHTS!!)

California Girls – 10 (An American classic- especially for a Beach Boys fan, it just simply doesn’t get much better than this. I have to rank this a 10, even though I believe God Only Knows deserves the undisputed highest spot.)
Salt Lake City – 7
*The Little Girl I Once Knew – 10 (A long-standing choice for my favorite Beach Boys song of all-time. It’s still gotta be in my Top 3)
The Girl from New York City – 6 (It’s okay, but very much under-produced compared to the rest of the album and they seem to be a bit more sloppy. I do like Mike’s overly-low backing vocals, though!)
Help Me, Rhonda – 10 (You know, it’s kind of expected that people will give songs like this a 10, but if you just sit back and LISTEN to this version of “Help Me Rhonda”, you have to realize it’s an incredible song. It’s catchy, but still has substance. It truly is that “Beach Boys” sound. I love Mike’s low part in this tune, as well.)
Let Him Run Wild – 10 (This is one of the best songs EVER- it’s unique and has that incredible chord progression. I think the bass line and the sound of the bass in this song is the best of any song I’ve ever heard. Brian’s vocals are perfect and the emotion is heartbreaking. I can’t believe I’m putting so many 10’s on this album!)
*Let Him Run Wild (alternate) – 8 (Brian’s vocals don’t have that edge like the final version)
You’re So Good to Me – 6.5 (Still a great song, but its simplicity just doesn’t match up with the rest of the classics. Also, those “la’s” in the background get annoying to anyone but true Beach Boys fans)
And Your Dream Comes True – 5
Then I Kissed Her – 6.5 (One of their best covers- a great lead by Al!)
Girl Don’t Tell Me – 8 (Catchy and a great little jab to the Beatles style of the period. Carl gives a great vocal performance, as well.)
Amusement Parks USA – 3 (All I can say is: eh)
Summer Means New Love – 3 (I like the tune and the production, but it’s kind of elevator-music sounding)
I’m Bugged at My Ol’ Man – 5 (This is a really cute song with great vocals by Brian, bad vocals by the others, and a truer-than-it’s-supposed-to-sound lyrics)

** This album IS the Beach Boys on record, as far as the 60s are concerned. This album is what “Sunflower” is to the 70’s Beach Boys. “Summer Days” defines the Beach Boys sound, especially on cuts like “California Girls”. I would challenge anyone to give this album a bad review. It still has that innocence I love so dearly, but pushes the musical envelope as far as it can go without getting too serious. This album is really the farthest Brian could go before getting into the emotions and themes he did on “Pet Sounds” and “Smile”. For me, this album marks the end of an era and the Beach Boys just wouldn’t be the same after this. That early-60s summer fun, teenager, innocence just evaporated when “Pet Sounds” arrived. Of course, I’m not saying that the music to come wasn’t some of the greatest ever, but looking back, I wish they could’ve stayed innocent for just a couple more years… **

Brian Wilson – SET LIST – 7/16/2008

Originally posted 2008-07-16 21:48:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Click here for the concert review!

The set list for Brian Wilson’s 7/16/2008 “Greatest Hits” show at the Warner Theatre in downtown Torrington, CT. A review of this great show will follow, so check back here very soon!

1.) Do It Again
2.) Dance, Dance, Dance
3.) Catch a Wave
4.) Surfer Girl
5.) In My Room
6.) Hawaii
7.) Don’t Worry, Baby
8.) You’re So Good to Me
9.) Then I Kissed Her
10.) Drive-In
11.) All Summer Long
12.) When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)
13.) Add Some Music
14.) Do You Wanna Dance?
15.) That Lucky Old Sun track (“I’m goin’ home…”)
16.) California Girls
17.) Sloop John B
18.) Wouldn’t It Be Nice
19.) God Only Knows
20.) Marcella
21.) I Get Around
22.) Good Vibrations

ENCORE
23.) Johnny B Goode
24.) Help Me, Rhonda
25.) Barbara Ann (Brian on bass)
26.) Surfin’ USA (Brian on bass)
27.) Fun, Fun, Fun

ENCORE #2
28.) TLOS track (“Southern California…”)

The venue really was excellent, boasting great acoustics and atmosphere. More on that when I post my review, but this is what it looks like from the outside:

Brian Wilson Live at the Warner Theatre! 7/16/2008

Ranking every Beach Boys album/song: “Shut Down Vol. 2” (by Songwriter Jim Fusco)

Originally posted 2008-02-20 11:44:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Each song gets a ranking out of a possible 10.

ALBUM – SHUT DOWN, VOL. 2

Fun, Fun, Fun – 8
The Warmth of the Sun – 10 (doesn’t get much better than this)
Don’t Worry, Baby – 10 (see last song)
Pom Pom Play Girl – 4 (too Jan and Dean for me)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love – 6 (again, not a big fan of covers, but this one is very well done, especially that vocal break in the middle)
*I Do – 6 (even though the verse is a clear re-tooling, the chorus is pretty amazing)
In the Parkin’ Lot – 8 (I really like this song- it’s got great harmonies and I love the tag at the beginning and end)
This Car of Mine – 6 (I love Denny’s vocals on this one!)
Keep an Eye on Summer – 9 (just wow)
Louie, Louie – 1 (ugh- why guys, why??)
Shut Down, Part II – 3 (okay, but only because Carl wrote it!)
“Cassius” Love vs. “Sonny” Wilson – 2 (Can this even count? They can’t even get the jokes right! But, it is cute.)
Denny’s Drums – 4 (I hate that Dennis doesn’t get a lot of credit for his drumming, but he clearly has the chops here)

** You have five or six songs that are not only great, but classic on this album and it makes this album a great listen. In my opinion, the Boys really honed the harmonies on this album- not a bum note to be found. Plus, showing off the talents of Dennis (singing and playing) and Carl (writing and playing) is just great. Brian was truly in his prime starting with this album. I find it hard to talk down to any album with the likes of Don’t Worry Baby and The Warmth of the Sun on it. Their greatness truly cancels out any mediocrity the few clunkers on the album express. **

Brian Wilson – CONCERT REVIEW!- 7/16/2008 at the Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT

Originally posted 2008-07-18 15:59:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

For the set list, click HERE!

A quick Google search of Brian Wilson these days will yield first and foremost the release date and information about his upcoming album That Lucky Old Sun, which will hit stores on September 2. This is exciting news, extending a decade of increased productivity on the former Beach Boy’s part. In 1998, he released an excellent if somewhat overlooked album titled Imagination; this yielded the adult contemporary hit “Your Imagination.” Six years later, he released not only an album of new recordings, Gettin’ In Over My Head (which was received similarly to Imagination), but also released an album called SMiLE. Since 1966, this album has been considered perhaps the most anticipated new rock music album that was never released. Wilson managed to overcome the demons that once haunted him during the initial recording sessions in the mid-sixties and released this US #13 and UK #7 charting album! Now, word that he is releasing new material could not be more exciting than for the fans who have waited with bated breath to see if Wilson’s period of productivity, both in the recording studio and on the stage, would continue.

You may be wondering what all this wonderful background information has to do with the concert that Brian Wilson and his band performed at the Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT on Thursday, July 16, 2008.

The key connection here is what follows lower on the first page of Google results, namely a blog article titled “Brian Wilson refunding Hammerstein Ballroom ticket money…” According to the article, fans complained that the show was only 75 minutes long and performed by a smaller band than Wilson is typically known for. Reading this for the first time the afternoon before I was to attend this concert, I suddenly wondered if disappointment lay ahead. After all, a quick glance at the posts on BrianWilson.com’s message board suggested that there was a significant amount of tension surrounding the recent concerts. When the time came to leave for the concert, I did what any self-respecting Wilson fan would do; I gathered a collection of Beach Boys and Brian Wilson solo albums, got in my car, and kept my expectations somewhere between medium and low.

It should at least be explained briefly here that this show probably did have a lot to live up to. After all, I have seen Brian many times in my brief six years as a loyal and interested fan of his work. The most memorable and incredible concert I attended was, without hesitation, a SMiLE show in New York City. Not only did I go with my friend and fellow Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog founder Jim Fusco, but he had enlisted me to help him film his honors’ college thesis project. Due to his legwork, we were graced by the presence of a handful of Brian Wilson’s touring band members right in our very hotel room! After recording enough footage, we enjoyed the rest of the stay in New York for what it was — an opportunity to meet, in a casual environment, such Beach Boys figures as writer David Leaf and band members Probyn Gregory and Taylor Mills. This was probably the most memorable music experience of my entire life; it certainly was up to that point!

So, this being said, the concert at Warner Theatre on July 16th had a lot to live up to. Still, I came to terms with the fact that this was billed as a “Greatest Hits” show, meaning I wasn’t expecting rarities or even tracks off the new album. (I’m not sure what the aforementioned show at the Hammerstein Ballroom was billed as…) I had read elsewhere that Darian Sahanaja, a major contributor to the sound and structure of the band, was unable to attend this tour, as well as Taylor Mills. Two other regular members had recently left the band. I wondered what it would all sound like, and whether or not it would be worth my $50.

It most certainly was. Even with the aforementioned absences, the band was spot-on and sounded remarkably clear and crisp, most likely owing to the acoustics of the small venue. Although the show only lasted for 90 minutes (which was brief compared to some previous shows I have seen), he played 28 songs spread out over a main set and two encores. The set list was somewhat predictable, but then, isn’t that the nature of a greatest hits show?

What struck me was the energy in the room. Applause broke out the moment background vocals were sung during “In My Room.” Within the first few notes of “Do You Wanna Dance?,” every single person with a floor seat was on his or her feet and shaking around. Finally, and perhaps most unusual for this concert veteran, was the fact that not a soul went for the door until the final song of the second encore was over and the lights had fully come up. This was exciting, as I am often frustrated to find that people would rather get out of the parking garage before the traffic builds than stay and watch the band perform their final song or two.

What I couldn’t understand to any degree was why the couple in their early thirties sitting in front of me got up during “Do You Wanna Dance?” and never came back. What did they expect to hear? As far as greatest hits concerts go, this was just about the best you could ever ask for — well-known songs, lively performers, and faithful arrangements.

Perhaps the best aspect of the concert was Brian’s talkative nature. I wondered if he was considering the bad press he had recently received or if he was simply in a good mood. Regardless, he engaged the band and the audience throughout the show. He began with a brief statement before the show, something like, “It’s great to be in Torrington.” He explained the origins of songs — “I wrote this one when I was 19 in my car” — and later asked the band, then the crowd, to make the noise a coyote makes.

Before the final song of the main set, he asked, “You didn’t come here for bad vibes, did you?” No! the crowd responds. “Did you come here for medium vibes?” No! “Good vibes?” YES!!

I think the set list speaks for itself; these are the quintessential Beach Boys songs, mostly tracks that he wrote in the 1960s and 1970s that still have importance to us today. We still love to hear them, and the band did an excellent job (as they always do!) of performing them. The two curve balls of the night were the tracks from the upcoming release That Lucky Old Sun, “Goin’ Home” and “Southern California.” The former sounded great; it was catchy and employed powerful harmonies, although Brian’s lead vocal was difficult to distinguish in the mix. In the second new track, he clearly took command of his part. Suffice it to say that, if I wasn’t excited about the new album before now, I was after listening to these performances.

Other highlights included Scott Bennett’s absolutely scorching electric guitar solo, not to mention Brian’s opening piano riffing, on the seventies Beach Boys track “Marcella.” (He had tapped the keys of his keyboard just before “Sloop John B,” and then continued to ignore the instrument behind which he sat as the night went on.)

All in all, this was a great show and I’m glad that I went. I can’t say it was my favorite Brian Wilson show, and how could it be when compared to the others I have seen in the past? No, I took this for what it was — a greatest hits show with a couple of sneak peaks of new material to come. I truly couldn’t have been happier to find that Brian was in high spirits and incredible form, on the eve of yet another new album.  While you wait, make sure to check out all of our Brian Wilson and Beach Boys cover songs here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!