Friday, April 27, 2018


Brian Douglas Wilson was born on June 20, 1942 in Inglewood, California.  He is best known for his work with my favourite rock 'n' roll band of all time, The Beach Boys.  They released their debut studio album SURFIN' SAFARI in 1962 and their latest studio album THAT'S WHY GOD MADE THE RADIO in 2012. These were both on Capitol Records.  In 1988 Brian released his first solo album. It was self titled.  He has said: "Love is the theme of my whole album".  In the liner notes to the deluxe edition of the album released in 2000 via Warner Archives and Rhino, David Leaf writes: "When BRIAN WILSON was initially shipped to stores in July 1988, it immediately became a career landmark, not just for its sheer quality but also for the mere fact that it was finished.  At the time, his only solo output had been a single released 22 years earlier (1966's 'Caroline, No').  The main musicians on BRIAN WILSON besides himself are: Andy Paley and Michael Bernard.

1. The standard edition of the album begins with one of six songs penned solely by Brian, entitled 'Love and Mercy'.  Brian says: "It's a personal message from me to people...We accomplished what we set out to do, which is to bring some spiritual love to people".  This adult pop song was the album's first single and offers hope: "I was standin' in a bar and watchin' all the people there/Oh, the loneliness in this world, well it's just not fair/Love and mercy, that's what you need tonight/So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight".

2. Brian co-wrote 'Walkin' the Line' with Nick Laird-Clowes. Terence Trent D'Arby and Russ Titelman provide backing vocals on this song with an old time rock 'n' roll feel to it. It's about a guy pursuing a gal: "I walk the line/I walk the line every day for you/I keep on workin'/I keep on workin' every day for you/If I don't get my way this time I'll die/And that's no lie.../I keep on pushin'/I keep on pushin' so hard for you/I keep on tryin'/I keep on tryin' my best for you".

3. The album's third single, 'Melt Away' follows. Brian says it's "about the identity crisis I have in my life-the way I see myself and the 'me' that everybody thinks I am".  It includes this romantic verse: "Sometimes I close up to the world/You know I close up to you girl/But when I hear you talking/I feel my heart unlocking/And my blues just melt away/Melt away".

4. Brian has said: "Long hair exemplifies beauty in a girl".  Next up is 'Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long'. I would best describe it musically as circus atmosphere pop music. These lyrics aren't very deep: "I wish you'd listen when I tell you now/Baby let your hair grow long/There's somethin' missin' with you darlin' now/Baby let your hair grow long/In my mind I can see, just the way you used to be/Don't want girls who don't care about nothin'/And throw their lives away".

5. 'Little Children' follows.  Brian says: "I admire the freedom from responsibility that kids have. I'm jealous of it". It's a peppy rock 'n' roll song that begins with these words of innocence: "On a Monday mornin' you see 'em all there/Little children they're marching along/On a sunny mountain without any cares/Little children they're marching along/Marching along, singin' a song/Makin' rhythm and rhyme/It used to be somethin' to see/They don't keep track of the time".

6. 'One for the Boys' is a tribute to The Beach Boys and is the second song in a row not to reach the two minute mark.  There are no words really, but it is a nice track of vocal harmonizing.

7. 'There's So Many' is an adult contemporary song of positivity: "I wonder/Why has it taken so long?/I wonder if you know where you belong?/Your face up in the sky/Where angels fly/In heaven's eye/Where planets are spinning around/There's so many songs to sing/I'm thankful for the love they bring/Don't let old scars keep us apart/We're gonna mend our broken hearts/Starting tonight".

8. Brian co-wrote the album's second single 'Night Time' with Andy Paley.  Christopher Cross is on backing vocals.  Brian says: "The process of twilight, dusk turning into total darkness, has always fascinated me.  All of my life, I've always been a night person, never did like the daytime, which signifies work time".  This pop/rock song is very catchy indeed. Here are some of the lyrics: "Night time is delight time/It's starlight time/And it's the right time for me/'Cause the sun shines a little too bright/My eyes can't take that light/Will you be waitin there /In the cool of the twilight air?"

9. Brian and Jeff Lynne co-wrote the also catchy pop song 'Let it Shine'.  This one is about heavenly bodies:"Let it shine, oh let it shine (4X)/Shadows fall, the ocean calls to me/The night is still, she's where I wanna be/The stars all send their silver light to me/Forever shine on me eternally/I couldn't think of anything that gives me more than what you bring/The color of an endless dream/Let it shine (2X)/Whoaah-ooh".

10. 'Meet Me in My Dreams Tonight' was penned by Brian, Andy Paley, and Andy Dean. It's got a rock 'n' roll vibe to it and is lovingly addressed to one's partner: "If we can't get together here's what we'll do/Hold on/Meet me in my dreams tonight/Baby, close your eyes and hold on tight/Sleep in my arms 'til the mornin' light/Meet me in my dreams tonight".

11. Closing out the standard edition of the album is 'Rio Grande' which Wikipedia calls a psychedelic western.  It was written by Brian and Andy Paley and runs over 8 minutes long.  It's ultimately a song of romantic longing: "The river's deep and the river's so wide/She's waitin' for me on the other side.../I want the river to take me home/Can't ride the river no more all alone.../I wanna tell you that she's so fine/I'm gonna love her 'til the end of time.../I wanna tell you that she's my girl/There's nothin' like her in the whole wide world". Because of the length, you may not want to listen to this song over and over.

BRIAN WILSON is a cheerful album of mostly pop and rock 'n' roll music that will put a smile on your face. We need more of these types of albums in the troubled age we are living in today.  Musically the album combines the sounds of the 60's with the sounds of the 80's resulting in a wonderful CD.  There are some really great harmonies on this record, which Beach Boys fans will appreciate.  Male-female relationships are the main subject matter.  Brian celebrates the concept of romantic love.  This is a hopeful album not just when it comes to love. There are tracks where Brian celebrates the innocence of childhood and also his time with the Beach Boys.  This is a very strong solo debut record which I'm rating 95%.

Now for the Deluxe Edition re-issue bonus cuts:

12. Here, Brian shares what the song 'Love and Mercy' is about. He says it's a spiritual song and he also reflects on being a musical artist.

13. 'He Couldn't Get His Poor Old Body to Move' is a co-write with Lindsey Buckingham. It's an upbeat rock 'n' roll number about the value of exercising: "If you're feelin' lost and lonely too/I'll bet sometimes you don't know what to do/Early in the mornin'/When the sun shines through/That's when you get your poor old body to move/Why sit hypnotized when you could feel alive?/Take my simple advice/You gotta get your poor old body to move".

14. 'Being With The One You Love' finds Brian speaking to his partner: "You have my promise/If you want to count on me/Let's have a talk about a life of possibilities/Whoa oh oh I sing this song to tell you/What you mean to me/Whoa oh oh I see our love/Stretching to infinity".

15. Gary Usher and Brian co-wrote 'Let's Go to Heaven in My Car'.  It was on the 'Police Academy 4' movie soundtrack. It's an energetic pop/rock track that gets steamy: "Let's go to heaven in my car/I want to drive you there tonight/Let's go to heaven in my car/We won't be stoppin' for red lights.../I only know it's time for body contact/I'll never be satisfied touching you with my eyes/There ain't no doubt/I can't go without your lovin'/So come on baby/Let me take you for a ride".

16. 'Too Much Sugar' is a fun, health conscious autobiographical pop song: "Getting in shape is what it's all about/Don't you just feel it's true/Moving all around just like Jane Fonda now/Then there will be a brand new you.../One, two, three, four/Kick 'em high/Join a gym or visit the 'Y'/Five, six, seven, eight/Feelin' fine/You can live 'til 99".

17 and 18. Demos of 'There's So Many' and 'Walkin' the Line'.

19. 'Melt Away' (Early Version-Alternate Vocal).

20. A freaky, fun instrumental version of 'Night Time'.

21. Demo of 'Little Children'.

22. Next up is the Brian Wilson written 'Night Bloomin' Jasmine' (demo).  The chorus of it was part of 'Rio Grande' on the album: "Night bloomin' jasmine/It comes a creepin' through my window/Night bloomin' jasmine/While I'm a sleepin' near my window".

23. 'Rio Grande' (Early Version-Compiled Rough Mixes).

24. Brian reflects on 'Rio Grande' calling it a Cowboy and Indian song, but not one about fighting. Brian also reflects on God.

25. Brian says the record was inspired by something higher than he and that it is an expression of love to his listeners.

I'm rating the Bonus Tracks (12-25) an 80 percent. Other than the few songs here that don't appear on BRIAN WILSON, most of the tracks will appeal only to serious collector's.  For more info visit or look him up on Facebook.