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The Beach Boys: The SMiLE Sessions
Buy! - (Capitol)
This 2-CD set collects recordings from the 1966-67 sessions for the Beach Boys’ legendary lost album SMiLE. The album was intended to be the follow-up to the band’s psych-pop masterwork Pet Sounds, but it was never completed. Conceived by Brian Wilson, it was supposed to be an album-long suite that played like a musical journey across America, encompassing American cultural and historical themes while incorporating various American pop styles ranging from doo wop and ragtime to western and Native American, along with a few pop standards (Jimmie Davis’s “You Are My Sunshine,” The Crows’ “Gee,” Peggy Lee’s “The Old Master Painter”). As for the music, it’s mostly wonderful: densely layered and richly detailed psychedelic pop combining the group’s glorious harmonies with wildly imaginative lyrics from the project’s guest lyricist Van Dyke Parks. The first CD features the album as more-or-less intended by Brian Wilson, along with some fine bonus tracks. The second disc is comprised of outtakes, with most of the songs including studio dialog. Some of these songs later appeared on other releases, but many haven’t been officially released until now. 11/11/2011 - Don Yates