Wednesday, May 20, 2015


The Edwards Family travelled full time from 1974 to 1984.  They recorded eight albums and sold over 10, 000 copies.  Later on, father, Jim and some of his children put out three tapes.  Here, I am reviewing the CD entitled THE BEST OF THE EDWARDS FAMILY which has twenty-one tracks, with multiple songs on some of them.  It clocks in at 78 minutes and 50 seconds.

Starting things off, we have Jim’s son’s quartet, Willing Vessel.  Mark Edwards has a good voice.  ‘Faith of My Father’ is a nice country ballad that includes these words: “Faith of my father is living in me/Faith that God loves even me/In every song that I sing for You/There is faith of my father in me.../There’s a day comin’ soon/When ‘Well done!’/We’ll hear/From our heavenly Father/And we’ll never say goodbye again”.  ‘Old Camp Meeting Time’ is a real toe-tapper.  It seems to be very similar tune and sound-wise to the old Southern Gospel classic ‘Get Thee Behind Me Satan’.  These lyrics reflect on revival in years past: “You can say what you want, you can say what you will/I’m not crazy, I remember still/The time when gettin’ saved made some shout/And it was old camp meeting time/It was old camp meeting time/The saints began to pray, shoutin’ ‘Glory’ as they sang/It was old camp meeting time”.

‘Amazing Grace’ includes a great electric guitar solo and testifies: “It’s amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me/And when I die I know that I will run into the arms of amazing grace”.  ‘That’s Him’ speaks of Christ: “That’s Him, He’s Sharon’s Rose/That’s Him, our Morningstar that glows/He’s Alpha, Omega, the Beginning and the End/That’s Him”.  A dandy ragtime version, complete with horns, of ‘I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey Now’ is next.

Track 5 on the CD begins the retro Edwards Family material.  ‘Say I Do’ was popularized by Evie.  Here, it is a nice country gospel song that includes these lyrics: “Anybody here wanna live forever?/Say ‘I do’/Anybody here wanna walk on golden streets?/Say ‘I do’/Anybody here sick and tired of livin’ like you do?/Anybody here wanna home with love forever?/Say ‘I do’”.  Jim’s daughter takes the lead on the popular chorus ‘Thy Loving Kindness’.  Here it is given the country gospel treatment.  ‘Over the Next Hill’ reminds us that this earth is not our home: “I’m sailing toward home on the old ship of Zion/I see the lights upon the lakes across the misty fold/Angels guide my vessel till I’m safe within the harbor/Captain guide my ship till I get home”.  ‘Thank God For Daddy’ is delivered with innocence: “I have a heavenly mansion where I’ll live forever and in that heavenly city I shall see my dear Savior/But till I reach that place in glory/My Daddy is with me/He’s the head of our home as spoken in God’s Word”.

‘More About Jesus’ is an old ballad that features nice harmonies and is Christ-centred: “More, more about Jesus (2X)/More of His saving fullness see/More of His love who died for me/More about Jesus let me learn/More of His holy will discern”.  It is easy listening.  April Joy delivers ‘Walkin’ in the Spirit’, an upbeat country gospel song of testimony: “I used to walk with the wicked, talk with the foolish/Singin’ a song of the blues/No one to talk to, no one to trust in, nobody gave a hoot/Well, they were too busy even to see me and even know my name/But I was gettin’ fed up, my life was all messed up/Thinkin’ the world was to blame/Then someone said Jesus loved me, said He would save me/He’d come and live inside of me/Said He would help me, He would do it for me supernaturally/So now I’m walkin’ in the Spirit, talkin’ in the Spirit/Singin’ a song of praise/Prayin’ in the Spirit/Trust in the Spirit/ Happy all the day”.

Mark Edwards contributes ‘I Need a Friend’, an artistic rock song.  ‘Don’t Ever Let Go of My Hand’ is a pleasant country gospel song that many will be able to relate to: “I just came through a battle Lord and thanks to You I won/The dark clouds are disappearing now and here comes the sun/I’ve been a long time in this valley, but there’s a mountain just ahead/And I’ll make it with You holding my hands”.  ‘Be Not Afraid’ speaks of God’s power to intervene in our lives: “Once my ship was sinking/’Twas the end I was thinking/And there was no lifeboat ‘tween me and the sea/In despair I cried out and plead/’Dear God, please save me’/’Twas then my Lord’s sweet hand of love lifted me/He said ‘Be not afraid, ‘tis only the Master/Calmin’ the storms/Removin’ all harm/Now be of good cheer/Your Saviour’s here now...”.

Jim Edwards sings lead on ‘Thank You Lord’, a great country ballad that includes these thoughts: “Thank You Lord for Your blessings on me/There’s a roof up above me/I’ve a good place to sleep/There’s food on my table and shoes on my feet/You gave me Your love Lord and a fine family/Thank You Lord for Your blessings on me”.  April sings lead on Track 17, ‘Born Again’.  It is a cheery tune: “Born again, there’s really been a change in me/Born again, just like Jesus said/Born again and all because of Calvary/I’m so glad, so glad that’ I’ve been born again”.  Jim sings harmony.  Track 19 looks forward to a family reunion: “Oh, there’s gonna be a meeting in the air, in the sweet by and by/I’m going to meet you, meet you over there/In that home beyond the sky/What singing you will hear, never heard by mortal ear/We’ll be glorious I do declare/And God’s own Son will be the leading One/In that meeting in the air”.  Track 20 is a more recent modern country recording featuring April declaring her love.  It’s called ‘I Want You’.

Some of the lyrical themes on THE BEST OF THE EDWARDS FAMILY include: seeking after Jesus, coming to the end of ourselves and falling into the arms of Jesus, joy in the Lord and in being a Christian, a desire for all to be saved, Jesus as Best Friend, loving our fellow man, Jesus as the Ultimate Answer, and our hope of heaven as believers.  This project is family based, rated G, country gospel music.  It will appeal mainly to the older crowd.   I’m rating it 85%.  Jim Edwards, who will be 86 in October, plans a tour of retirement homes in Eastern Ontario.  The Edwards Family will appear with The Torchmen Quartet on Wednesday, June 24th, from 7-9pm at Music in Aurora Town Park on Wells Street.  For more info or to obtain a copy of this CD for ten bucks, please contact Jim at:

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


L. A. LIGHT ALBUM is the 23rd studio album released by The Beach Boys.  Light is defined here as “the awareness of and the presence of God, here in this world as an ongoing, loving reality”.  This album released by Brother/Caribou/CBS in 1979 was produced by Bruce Johnston (who hadn’t been with the band since 1972), James William Guercio, and The Beach Boys.  Brian Wilson was not in great shape at the time, so he was not a major contributor to the album.  At this time many viewed The Beach Boys as an oldies act.

The album opener ‘Good Timin’’ was penned by Brian and Carl Wilson.  Carl sings lead on this wonderful light pop song with signature harmonies.  It hit #40 on the Billboard chart and is carefree: “We’re all goin’ places/Sharin’ each other/A celebration/Of being together/I love/Good, good timin’/Good, good timin’/Ahhhh, ahhhh/You need good timin’/It takes good timin’/You need good timin’/Yeah/Good, good timin’”.  ‘Lady Lynda’ is based on Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ and did well in the UK.  It is a tribute to Al Jardine’s then wife, sung by him: “Won’t you come here and lie lady Lynda with me?/We can lie in the green canyon meadows/And we’ll hear the birds sing in the Spring/Don’t you know if you’ll stay lady Lynda with me/We can talk about love ever after/When you lie lady Lynda with me.../Lynda won’t you say that I am your man?/Don’t look surprised, it’s all in his plan, ooh/But darlin’ evolution is drawing us near/Lie lady lie”.

Carl and Geoffrey Cushing-Murray wrote ‘Full Sail’.  It is an easy listening tune that will capture the attention of boaters: “Full sail, full sail/Waiting for the wind to blow/The wind will blow/Does the silence of the sea/Sound warning of a storm ahead?/Whispers of the breeze/Stir and disappear/Too soft to hear/What’s in store for me/Adventure on the high seas/Put the childhood dream to the test/Find the measure of the man/Follow the sun heading west”.  Dennis Wilson sings lead on the adult pop song ‘Angel Come Home’.  It is a song of longing and heartache: “I’m waitin’ till my angel comes home/It’s been hell bein’ here alone/I’ll be in heaven when my angel comes home/Angel, angel come home/If you see her tell my angel come home.../Does she remember that I can’t forget?/Does she know I regret I never told her how I, I wanted to hold her?/I just let  her go”.

‘Love Surrounds Me’ is another song on the subject of lost love: “On my own again, left alone/To remember when her love filled my life/Made my life alive her love/Love around me/How can I cope without the love that I had?/All around me, love surrounds me/The love that I lost was more than I could hope to find/Love surround me, all around me/Did I have love or did love have me?/Oo, love around me/But there’s no/There’s no love of my own”.  Mike Love wrote and sings lead on ‘Sumahama’.  It is easy on the ears and includes these lyrics: “Sumahama/There’s a lover’s leap in old Japan/Where the lovers walk along the sand/Hand in hand at Sumahama.../Sumahama/In the autumn as the leaves are falling/One can almost hear the lovers calling/From the sea at Sumahama”.  The song also includes Japanese lyrics.

‘Here Comes the Night’ was an R&B influenced track on 1967’s WILD HONEY.  They turned it into a disco single that hit #44 on the Billboard chart in early 1979.  The album version here runs almost eleven minutes long.  Carl and Al sing lead and Bruce Johnston and Curt Becher produce this funky track.  It includes these passionate words: “I know livin’ is takin’ and givin’/Baby I’m givin’ you my best/One of these days you know/I’m gonna go crazy in the middle of your caress/When the day goes down/Honey, I’ll be around/Why don’t you wear your pretty red dress?/Here comes the night/Hold me, squeeze me, don’t ever leave me/Tell me I’m doin’ alright (2X)/Hold me, love me, ooooo”.  Dennis Wilson, his wife Karen Lamm, and Gregg Jakobson wrote ‘Baby Blue’.  It is the piano-based ballad of a man in touch with his feelings: “Lie alone in bed at night/Feel the pull of a lonely day/Thoughts like music start to play/I wonder where you were today/Baby, baby blue/Baby, blue eyes I dream of you/Late at night when/The whole world’s sleeping, I dream of you/Close to you/I feel your sweet heart beating/I dream of you”.

Carl Wilson sings lead on ‘Goin’ South’.  It uses keyboard and sax.  Many Canadian snowbirds will easily relate to these words: “I think of goin’ south for the winter/It’s getting mighty cold/I watch the fire glow/The moon shining ‘cross the snow/Maybe Florida or Mexico/Is where I oughta go/Somewhere where everything is green/Oo, the change of scene/Might do me good/When the swallows go/When they leave Capistrano/Fly away so gracefully/Maybe that’s for me”.  The last song, ‘Shortenin’ Bread’ dates back to 1900.  Here it is adapted by Brian Wilson into a happy go lucky rockin’ tune.  It contains these playful lyrics: “They caught me with the skillet/They caught me with the lid/They caught me with the girl eatin’ shortenin’ bread/Six months for the skillet/Six months for the lid/Now I’m doin’ time for eatin’ shortenin’ bread...Mama’s little baby loves shortenin’ bread”.

To me, L.A. LIGHT ALBUM is a creative highpoint for The Beach Boys.  They proved they could put out a pleasant, artistic, emotional album for the most part without the help of Brian Wilson.  The songs here are of very good quality and the vocals are performed well.  Pair this project with their oldies hits and you have a great and diverse musical group.  I’m rating L.A. LIGHT ALBUM 90%.  For more info visit:


Friday, May 01, 2015


In 1978 The Beach Boys released their 22nd studio album entitled M.I.U. ALBUM (Brother/Reprise Records).  It was named after the Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, where most of the album was recorded.  Group member Mike Love was a big proponent of Transcendental Meditation.  The album was produced by Alan Jardine and Ron Altbach.  Jeff Tamarkin writes: “That it sounds like a Beach Boys album at all is perhaps remarkable, given that two of the five core members, Brian’s brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson, made only cameo appearances.  That left most of the work to Brian, Mike Love and Alan Jardine, the other mainstays, and the team they assembled to make the album”.

‘She’s Got Rhythm’ is upbeat musically with a Motown feel to it.  Many men who frequent bars and clubs will relate to this tale: “She came to my table/We both ordered something to drink/Before you know it/What do you think?/The music started playin’/Oo, the music got us so excited/And we had to get up on our feet/She’s got rhythm, she’s got something I need (2X)/The place was near closing/I offered to take her home/But she was with someone and left me alone/But I still remember”.  ‘Come Go With Me’ is a doo-wop song written by C.E. Quick, an original member of The Del-Vikings.  In 1982 the Beach Boys’ version with Alan Jardine on lead hit #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  It is a song of romantic longing: “I love, love you darlin’/Come and go with me/And come home with me/Way beyond the sea/I need you darlin’/Come and go with me/Come, come, come, come/Come into my heart/Tell me darlin’/We will never part/I need you darlin’/So come go with me”.

‘Hey Little Tomboy’ was originally meant to be on a Brian Wilson solo album.  It includes these interesting lyrics: “Hey little tomboy/Sit here on my lap/I got things that I gotta tell you.../Hey little tomboy/I’ve had my eyes on you/Thinkin’ what a girl you could be/Mmm, I smell perfume/Let’s try some cut-off jeans/Look at all the changes I see/I’m gonna teach you to kiss/You’re gonna feel just like this”.  ‘Kona Coast’ is a breezy pop tribute to Hawaii penned by Alan and Mike: “Suntanned beauties are everywhere/Lovely island ladies with long dark hair/You’re sure to find a honey waitin’ for you there in Hawaii/Kani and Wahinai and Wahowalis too/Get a friendly ‘Aloha’ from this mecca to you/They’re the friendliest people anywhere in Hawaii”.

‘Peggy Sue’ which was originally called ‘Cindy Lou’, was popularized by Buddy Holly in the late 50’s.  Here, Alan Jardine sings lead on this rock and roll declaration of love: “Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue/Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty Peggy Sue/Oh Peggy-My Peggy Sue/Well, I love you girl, and I need you Peggy Sue/I love you Peggy Sue/With a love so rare and true/Oh Peggy-My Peggy Sue/Well, I love you girl, and I want you Peggy Sue/Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue”.  Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote and sing lead vocals on ‘Wontcha Come Out Tonight’.  It includes these playful lyrics: “Late at night, when I’m sleepin’/I get to dreamin’ of you/That’s when I find myself schemin’/Of ways that I can spend all my nights with you”.

Carl Wilson sings lead on the easy listening tune ‘Sweet Sunday’.  It describes meaningful time spent with one’s partner: “We’ll read the funnies together and watch some T.V. too/You can do something for me/And I’ll do the same for you/We’ll fill the hours with things/That we both most like to do/Spending a sweet Sunday lovin’ you/Why don’t we unplug the phone?/Let’s pretend nobody’s home/Quietly, just you and me/Oh, how nice that will be”.  ‘Belles of Paris’ is another easy listening tune.  It paints a picture of one of Europe’s most famous destinations: “C’est tres jolie en Paree in the Spring/Watching all the lovers walk along the Seine/Pitch a penny in her like a wishing well/Feed the pigeons in the park near Tour Eifelle.../Sunday morning hear the bells of Notre Dame/Watching belles jeune filles and the handsome gendarmes/Near the Arch de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees/Coffee and croissants in a sidewalk cafe”.

‘Pitter Patter’ reflects on nature: “A rain swept plain/Soon after Springtime rains blow over/Will sprout new grain/And miles of fresh green fields of clover/Winter and its cold soon will lose its hold/With the changes Spring will bring/Sun comes pourin’ down, warmin’ up the ground/Bringin’ new life with the Spring”.  ‘My Diane’ is a ballad inspired by Brian Wilson’s recent separation at the time, from wife, Marilyn.  Brother Dennis delivers these heartfelt admissions from Brian: “Now that I have lost my Diane/There’s no plan as to where to go/It was hard to lose my Diane/Now I just miss her so.../Everything is wrong and nothing is right/I want you back with all of my might/Shadows hanging over my head/I love you Diane/I miss you Diane”.

‘Match Point of Our Love’ is an adult contemporary song that uses tennis language to make its point: “Early in the game when you broke me just like a serve/We shoulda walked off the court/But we both didn’t have the nerve/So we volleyed a while with small talk/And a smile and as push comes to shove/I’d say this must be the match point of our love”.  ‘Winds of Change’ written by Ron Altbach and Ed Tuleja ends the album off on an optimistic note: “Winds of change are here at last/The clouds are lifted, the storm has passed/Nights we’ve known are on the run/And there’s a bright and shining sun for everyone to see”.

M.I.U. ALBUM is a must have for serious Beach Boys collectors.  It leans mostly towards softer pop sounds, but does have a few fun, more peppy songs on it as well.  The old time rock and roll sounds of the group’s earlier hits aren’t very present here though.  I recommend this album more to adults than youth.  I’m rating M.I.U. ALBUM 87%.   For more info visit: