2015 has been a banner year for Brian Wilson. The Beach Boys legend has already released a new album, is currently preparing for a tour with Searching for Sugar Man cult hero Rodriguez, and will next month see the full release in theatres of his biopic Love and Mercy. Ace Records is joining the celebration with the June 29 U.K. release (July 10 in the U.S.) of Here Today! The Songs of Brian Wilson.
One of Ace’s first releases in its Songwriters and Producers Series was 2003’s Pet Projects: The Brian Wilson Productions, featuring Wilson’s own production work with The Honeys, Glen Campbell, Paul Petersen, Sharon Marie and other artists. Here Today explores Brian the songwriter with 25 tracks (many of which qualify as real rarities) spanning the 1960s through the 1990s from both sides of the Atlantic. The collection features such diverse artists as Bobby Vee, “Little” Peggy March, Kirsty MacColl, Carmen McRae and The Tokens. Brian’s co-writers include Roger Christian, Gary Usher, Mike Love and others.
A number of artists represented here have worked directly with Wilson. The set kicks off with “Do You Have Any Regrets” from Wilson’s abortive Sweet Insanity as interpreted in shimmering Pet Sounds style by Brian’s longtime band member Darian Sahanaja of The Wondermints. Bruce Johnston, who joined The Beach Boys in 1965, and the group’s sometimes collaborator Terry Melcher are heard on their take of “Help Me, Rhonda” (first unearthed for a compilation in 1998). Brian arranged and produced “I Do,” which he co-wrote with Roger Christian, for The Castells in 1964; the track also appeared in a previously-unreleased stereo mix on Omnivore’s Sessions ’64!! limited edition Record Store Day 2015 vinyl release. Christian and Wilson also co-wrote Jan and Dean’s “The New Girl in School,” one of many of Brian’s songs recorded by the pioneering surf duo. Another one of those songs, “Surf City,” is presented here as sung by Philly group The Tymes. “Time to Get Alone,” recorded by The Beach Boys on their 1969 LP 20/20, is heard here in its original recording by Redwood, a.k.a. Three Dog Night and first issued in 1993.
Other treats come in the form of Pet Sounds classics performed by a diverse group of artists including Bobby Vee (“Here Today”), Carmen McRae (“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder),” Betty Everett (“God Only Knows”), Nick DeCaro (“Caroline, No”), Louis Philippe and Dean Brodrick (“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”) and Kirsty MacColl (“You Still Believe in Me”).
Brian’s sublime “Guess I’m Dumb,” written with Russ Titelman and first recorded by Glen Campbell, is heard here in a rare cover by Keith Green. Jay and the Americans appear with “Things are Changing,” a public-service cut recorded by Phil Spector associate Jerry Riopelle based on Brian and Mike Love’s “Don’t Hurt My Little Sister.” The PSA for equal opportunity employment was also recorded by The Blossoms and The Supremes. “Don’t Hurt” appears with its original lyric in The Surfaris’ version.
These 25 slices of pop perfection from the pen of Brian Wilson arrive on June 29 in the U.K. and July 10 in the U.S. from Ace Records. You can pre-order the set and peruse the track listing below!
- Do You Have Any Regrets? – Darian Sahanaja (Pop the Balloon BANG 6, 1997, commercial debut here)
- Here Today – Bobby Vee (Liberty 55921, 1966)
- Guess I’m Dumb – Johnny Wells (Parlophone R 5559, 1967)
- Don’t Worry Baby – The Tokens (Buddah BDA 159, 1969)
- Farmer’s Daughter – Basil Swift & The Seagrams (Mercury 72386, 1965)
- Help Me Rhonda – Bruce & Terry (first released on The Best of Bruce and Terry, Sundazed SC 11052, 1998)
- I Do – The Castells (Warner Bros. 5421, 1964)
- The New Girl In School – Jan & Dean (Liberty LP LST 7361, 1964)
- Time To Get Alone – Redwood (first released onCelebrate: The Three Dog Night Story, MCA, 1993)
- Don’t Hurt My Little Sister – The Surfaris (Decca 38135, 1965)
- My Buddy Seat – The Hondells (Mercury 72366, 1964)
- Move Out, Little Mustang – Rally-Packs (Imperial 66036, 1964)
- She Rides With Me – Joey & The Continentals (Claridge CR-304, 1965)
- The Girl From New York City – Tony Rivers & The Castaways (Immediate IM 027, 1966)
- Surf City – The Tymes (from Everybody’s Goin’ Surfin’, Parkway P-7035, 1963)
- My First Love – The Super Stocks (from Surf Route 101, Capitol T 2113, 1964)
- Things Are Changing – Jay & The Americans (EEOC promo single 1140, 1965)
- Girl Don’t Tell Me – Keith Green (Decca 31859, 1965)
- Aren’t You Glad – Peggy March (RCA Victor 47-9627, 1968)
- God Only Knows – Betty Everett (from Happy Endings, Fantasy F 9480, 1975)
- Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) – Carmen McRae (from For Once In My Life, Atlantic SD 8143, 1967)
- Good Vibrations – Hugo Montenegro, His Orchestra & Chorus (from Good Vibrations, RCA LP 4104, 1969)
- Caroline, No – Nick DeCaro (A&M 1000, 1968)
- I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times – Louis Philippe With Dean Brodrick (from Rainfall, Polystar PSCR-1028, 1991)
- You Still Believe In Me – Kirsty MacColl (Polydor POSP 368, 1981)