2012 has been a big year for The Beach Boys, and the fun, fun, fun shows little sign of abating any time soon. While we still wait for more details on the possible U.S. arrival of a series of reissued original albums, Sony Music Japan is celebrating with a unique tribute to America’s band. Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook is a 25-track compilation drawn mostly, but not exclusively, from the Sony family of labels including Columbia, RCA Victor, Arista, Buddah and Bang, and offers a number of lesser-known tracks from many familiar artists. All of the songs chosen just prove the depth of the Beach Boys’ catalogue.
There have been plenty of Beach Boys tribute compilations over the years, from Risky Business Records’ 1995 Got You Covered! Songs of the Beach Boys (with Glen Campbell, Pat Boone and The Surfaris on its roster) to Sanctuary’s 2002 Brit-centric Guess I’m Dumb: Songs of the Beach Boys (featuring P.P. Arnold, The Ivy League and Tony Rivers & The Castaways). The new Good Vibrations shares tracks with both of those, actually, but also offers some rarely-anthologized tracks from a wide range of artists including The Cowsills, Paul Davis, Melissa Manchester, Nick DeCaro, California Music, Petula Clark and more!
The emphasis, naturally, is on the songs of Brian Wilson; he’s the man responsible for writing each of the songs on Good Vibrations with the exception of two renditions of Bruce Johnston’s “Disney Girls.” The nostalgic song first appeared on The Beach Boys’ 1971 Surf’s Up as “Disney Girls (1957).” It’s heard from both Johnston himself, dating to his 1977 solo album Going Public, and from “Mama” Cass Elliot on her 1972 self-titled LP. Johnston makes a number of appearances on the new compilation. He and Carl Wilson both joined Elliot on her “Disney Girls,” and as one-half of the duo Bruce and Terry (with Terry Melcher), he appears on “Hawaii” and “Help Me, Rhonda.” Johnston and Melcher were also key voices in the Rip Chords, and that group is represented with three of the Beach Boys’ best “car songs,” “409,” “Shut Down” and “Little Deuce Coupe.” Johnston and Melcher also produced California Music’s 1974 “Don’t Worry, Baby” for their Equinox label. Certain songs are heard in multiple versions; “409,” “Shut Down” and “Don’t Worry, Baby” are all also heard in The Tokens’ recordings.
We have more details after the jump, including track listing with discography and a pre-order link!
Good Vibrations’ most recent track is a 1997 recording of Brian Wilson and Mike Love’s “Please Let Me Wonder” by The King’s Singers featuring both Love and Johnston. Another of Wilson and Love’s most ravishing compositions, “The Warmth of the Sun,” is included via Melissa Manchester’s 1977 cover. Brian himself shows up singing background vocals on Johnny Rivers’ rip-roaring 1975 “Help Me, Rhonda.” Among the most unusual tracks included are two in French: Petula Clark with “No-Go Showboat” (or “J’nai Pas Le Temps”) and Sylvie Vartan with “Mr. John B,” or “Sloop John B.” The latter song, of course, made its Beach Boys debut on Pet Sounds in Brian Wilson’s stunning re-arrangement of the traditional folk song. Two other Pet Sounds songs make an appearance: “God Only Knows” in Andy Williams’ 1967 “God Only Knows,” arranged and produced by Nick DeCaro, and DeCaro’s own version of “Caroline, No” from his 1969 A&M album Happy Heart.
Four recordings of the immortal 1966 single “Good Vibrations” have been included: Todd Rundgren’s spot-on recreation, a groovy MOR version from Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra, pianist Floyd Cramer’s instrumental take, and The Cowsills’ live performance from 1969’s In Concert. Today, John Cowsill is a dynamic and integral member of Mike Love and Bruce Johnston’s touring Beach Boys band, and played an equally pivotal role behind the drum kit for the reunited Beach Boys’ 50th Anniversary Tour.
Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook is a Blu-Spec CD, which is playable on all CD players. It joins Sony Japan’s other recent Blu-Spec reissues celebrating the legacy of The Beach Boys, including Bruce Johnston’s Surfin’ ‘Round the World and Going Public; Carl Wilson’s Youngblood; and Terry Melcher’s Royal Flush. The booklet includes full lyrics and discographical annotation in English plus notes and lyrics in Japanese. Like most Japanese CDs, there’s great attention to detail in the release, including a recreation of the Capitol Records “stereo” logo on the cover of the Japanese Columbia CD! It’s housed in a standard jewel case with clear tray. It will be available from Amazon.com as of July 31, and can be pre-ordered below.
Various Artists, Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Songbook (Columbia/Sony Music Japan SICP-20390, 2012)
- Good Vibrations – Todd Rundgren (Bearsville single B55-0309, 1976)
- Don’t Worry, Baby – California Music (RCA Victor/Equinox single NB-10120, 1974)
- Darlin’ – Paul Davis (Bang single B-736, 1977)
- 409 – The Tokens (from Wheels, RCA LP LSP-2886, 1964)
- Little Deuce Coupe – The Rip Chords (from Hey Little Cobra and Other Hot Rod Hits, Columbia LP CS-8951, 1964)
- Shut Down – The Rip Chords (from Hey Little Cobra and Other Hot Rod Hits, Columbia LP CS-8951, 1964)
- Surfin’ U.S.A. – The Astronauts (from Surfin’ with the Astronauts, RCA Victor LP LSP-2760, 1963)
- Help Me, Rhonda – Johnny Rivers (Epic/Soul City single 8-501271, 1975) (Mono)
- Mr. John B (Sloop John B) – Sylvie Vartan (RCA Victor France EP 86170, 1966)
- Good Vibrations – Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra (from Good Vibrations, RCA Victor LP LSP-4104, 1969)
- California Girls – Leif Garrett (from Leif Garrett, Atlantic LP SD-19152, 1977)
- Hawaii – Bruce & Terry (from The Best of Bruce & Terry, Sony Music Japan MHCP-1042, rec. 1964)
- Help Me, Rhonda – Bruce & Terry (from The Best of Bruce & Terry, Sony Music Japan MHCP-1042, rec. 1965)
- Please Let Me Wonder – The King’s Singers (from Spirit Voices, RCA Victor CD 68436, 1997)
- God Only Knows – Andy Williams (from Love, Andy, Columbia CS 9566, 1967)
- Caroline, No – Nick DeCaro and Orchestra (from A&M single 1000, 1969)
- Disney Girls – Cass Elliot (RCA Victor single 74-0764, 1972)
- Don’t Worry, Baby – The Tokens (Buddah single BDA-159, 1970)
- Good Vibrations – The Cowsills (from The Cowsills in Concert, MGM LP SE-4619, 1969)
- 409 – The Rip Chords (from Hey Little Cobra and Other Hot Rod Hits, Columbia LP CS-8951, 1964)
- Shut Down – The Tokens (from Wheels, RCA Victor LP LSP-2886, 1964)
- J’ai Pas Le Temps (No-Go Showboat) – Petula Clark (from Disques Vogue EP EPL-2894, 1964)
- Good Vibrations – Floyd Cramer (RCA Victor single 47-9065, 1967) (Mono)
- Disney Girls – Bruce Johnston (Columbia single 3-10568, 1977)
- The Warmth of the Sun – Melissa Manchester (from Singin’, Arista LP AL-4136, 1977)