If sensitive composer/producer Brian Wilson was the soul of The Beach Boys, and brash frontman Mike Love the voice, passionate singer/guitarist Carl Wilson was no doubt the heart. There was little Carl Wilson couldn’t do, vocally, whether the angelic tones of “God Only Knows,” the soulful shouting of “I Was Made to Love Her” or the dreamlike psychedelia of “Feel Flows.” And when brother Brian wasn’t able to guide the band through the tumultuous 1970s, Carl stepped up to the plate with an amazing run of songs bringing the band’s sound into a new decade: “Long Promised Road,” “Trader,” and the aforementioned “Feel Flows” among them. He channeled a nostalgic sound to co-write 1974’s “Good Timin’” with Brian, and also assumed the production reins to finish many of Brian’s lost masterworks, including “Surf’s Up” from the aborted SMiLE sessions.
Yet as the 1980s dawned, the Beach Boys found themselves a fractured unit. Carl, once the glue that held the group together, made the decision to embark on a solo recording career. He signed with James Guercio’s CBS-distributed Caribou label, home to Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue, and in March 1981, Carl Wilson was released. Despite the presence of the gorgeous ballad “Heaven” which was a Top 20 Adult Contemporary single, the album only reached No. 185 on the Billboard 200. Nearly two years later, in February 1983, the singer released his second and last solo effort, Youngblood. This Caribou release is being reissued for the very first time on CD on September 21 courtesy of the fine folks at Iconoclassic Records, who on the same date will be reissuing the Guess Who’s 1973 Artificial Paradise. Hit the jump for more on the story behind these two albums, as well as the track listings and pre-order info!
Unlike Carl Wilson, for which every track was written by Carl and Myrna Smith (a third writer, Michael Sun, joined the duo to pen “Heaven”), four cover versions appeared on Youngblood: John Fogerty’s “Rockin’ All Over the World,” John and Johanna Hall’s “What You Do to Me,” longtime Beach Boys associate Billy Hinsche’s “One More Night Alone” and the Doc Pomus/Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller song that gave the album its title, “Young Blood.” Nicky Hopkins, Burton Cummings (of the Guess Who!) and Timothy B. Schmit all made contributions to the album, and Wilson supplied his usual passionate, supple vocals. Still, Youngblood didn’t chart, although “What You Do to Me,” like “Heaven,” was a Top 20 AC hit.
By the time of Youngblood’s release, however, Carl had already rejoined The Beach Boys, where he would remain until his premature passing of cancer in 1998 at the age of 51. He would be the instantly-identifiable lead voice on the chorus of 1988’s smash single “Kokomo,” and shortly before his death record Like a Brother, with Robert Lamm of Chicago and Gerry Beckley of America. That recording’s title song was a touching tribute to Brian, and the album stands as one of the finest accomplishments of Wilson’s career. Its “I Wish for You” was the final song ever recorded by Carl Wilson, and its goodwill is a fitting summation to his career and life. Posthumously, unheard Carl vocal tracks have appeared on both Brian’s album Gettin’ In Over My Head and Al Jardine’s just-released Postcard from California, and of course, his vocals with The Beach Boys have ensured him a place in rock and roll heaven.
The Guess Who’s 1973 release Artificial Paradise is the latest release in Iconoclassic’s ongoing series of Guess Who reissues, and a high point of the band’s post-Randy Bachman era. While not a major hit with no single receiving massive airplay, Artificial Paradise nonetheless marks the debut of two band members: Don McDougall on guitar and vocals, and Bill Wallace on bass and vocals. Both men contributed original material as did Kurt Winter and of course, Burton Cummings. The original LP found the Canadian band at a crossroads in an effort to appeal both to fans of their AM-radio hits (“These Eyes,” “No Time,” “Laughing”) and the somewhat harder-edged sound that characterized “American Woman” in 1970. The band even tackled world music with “Hamba Gahle Usalang-Gahle” on this diverse assemblage of songs.
Iconoclassic’s reissue of Youngblood will contain the single edit of “Givin’ It Up” as a bonus track. Audiophile-quality mastering is provided by Vic Anesini, and a new remembrance by Billy Hinsche will appear in the liner notes. Artificial Paradise has no bonus material, but the CD will recreate the original’s infamous sweepstakes-style packaging (for which the LP may be best-remembered) and also include lengthy notes and track-by-track commentary. Like Youngblood, it is mastered by Anesini.
Pre-order links are here and here. It appears likely that the Guess Who campaign will continue, but let’s hope that Iconoclassic has plans for the CD debut of Carl Wilson, too; the youngest Wilson brother with the golden voice deserves no less.
Carl Wilson, Youngblood (Caribou LP 37970, 1983 – reissued as Iconoclassic 1019, 2010)
- What More Can I Say
- She’s Mine
- Givin’ You Up
- One More Night Alone
- Rockin’ All Over the World
- What You Do to Me
- Young Blood
- Of the Times
- Too Early to Tell
- If I Could Talk to Love
- Givin’ You Up (Single Edit) (from Caribou single 04020, 1983)
The Guess Who, Artificial Paradise (RCA LSP-4830, 1973 – reissued as Iconoclassic 1018, 2010)
- Bye Bye Babe
- Samantha’s Living Room
- Rock and Roller Steam
- Follow Your Daughter Home
- Those Show Biz Shoes
- All Hashed Out
- Lost and Found Town
- Hamba Gahle-Usalang Gahle
- The Watcher