Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Indigenous Voices Part 2-John Trudell-The Eighties by Peter Reum


Portrait of John Trudell from his websitejohntrudell.com

John Trudell is of Santee Lakota heritage, and is a visionary poet, musician, actor, and activist. He was the spokesperson for the occupation of Alcatraz Island by Indigenous people from 1969 to 1971. Trudell was Chairman of the American Indian Movement from post 1973 Wounded Knee until 1979.  A mysterious fire in 1979 killed his wife, 3 children, and mother-in-law. The quote above from his website is implicitly a reference to this event. In coping with such a massive personal tragedy, Trudell coped by writing poetry and composing music and lyrics. This article, covering the post fire years, summarizes his recorded work, much of which was done with the amazing guitarist Jesse Ed Davis. Trudell said he began composing and writing to "stay connected to this reality," in his words.

Trudell's first album, dating  from 1983, was released on his own label. Entitled Tribal Voice, the album explored themes related to the experience of being Indigenous.  The album is spoken word, and is recorded over traditional Lakota songs. The album rejects so-called "progressive" Indigenous views, advocating Traditional beliefs. John explores the relationships that he has or had in this album, such as his daughter, his sister, his female friend/lover, his tribe. He struggles with the picture of himself as stoic warrior. He instructs young tribal members to be in the USA, but not to accept it's values. He describes the predominant view of Traditional Indigenous peoples, that the Dominant Culture is insane. He walks into his grief and loss, directly facing it, expressing his feelings of grief regarding his deceased wife and children. As is says in the song "I Went So Willingly...."Laughter or crying, the tears taste the same." The album's closing song, Look At Us, is a meditation and a letter to the Dominant Culture. The tune evolves into a dialogue between Trudell and the Creator. He contrasts the differences between the Consumer Culture and Indigenous Culture. Here is this song...  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h6-zEmKI7k&list=PL66F205ADFFC95284


1983-Tribal Voice Album

In 1986, Trudell collaborated with the brilliant Indigenous guitarist Jesse Ed Davis on an album that attacked the position of privileged society with respect to war, wealth distribution, and materialism, Original aka Graffiti Man. The lead off track, Rich Man's War sets a strong tone of protest, with a beat that is Indigenous, yet also has very contemporary slide guitar by Davis as well. This is a thick slice of blues, and Davis's guitar positively sizzles behind Trudell's narrative. Named by Bob Dylan as the best album of 1986, the whole album presents a powerful indictment of live in the "get yours while can" decade of the 80s. Lavender's Blues has a shuffle beat and a great melody. The song attacks materialism, the youth culture America worships, and offers a sarcastic and yet compassionate view of the lives Indigenous people have to live with an inner duality between the Dominant Culture and Indigenous traditions. New Old Man, the third track, is a  rocking blues number that has Trudell bemoaning the loss of his female friend to a new "old man." In this case, the song's rocking tempo perfectly matches the lyrics.  God Help You and Breed You All, the fourth track, has Jesse Ed Davis playing a George Harrison style guitar, and Trudell's words are mocking of the Caucasian Society trashing its heroes and moving on to the next 15 minutes of the next lionized temporary hero.


John Trudell and Jesse Ed Davis-Original aka Graffiti Man-1986

Star Dreamer Woman is a beautiful love song to a person that Trudell doesn't identify by name, but is obviously smitten with. The song is 4 minutes of lyrical, gorgeous guitar, and a softer John Trudell than usual. Simply, this is a great track. Graffiti Man is a tune about the seamy side of life. It laments the use of different chemicals that mess with the quality of Indigenous life. The analogy is extended to materialism, the disease of American Life....addiction to power, money, and things. The implication is that America has no soul, and if people are to survive, things have to change.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIM4COJaJ3k   He Said, She Said is a beautiful song about two people newly in love. The music is gorgeous, the lyrics chronicle the evolution of a relationship from beginning to it's ruptured end. Profound, simple, and absolutely on the mark. The next tune, Baby Boom Che celebrates the liberation of America from it's inhibited pop music by people like Elvis Presley. The song celebrates the newfound sensuality of rock and roll. Love Me Tender plays in the background, along with a beautiful Sleepwalk type guitar from Jesse Ed Davis.  Trudell celebrates the triumph of Elvvis and Chuck Berry over vanilla pap like Pat Boone. Elvis....America's baby Boom Che..... Silent Lightning is a track that begins with a chant, then moves into spoken word by Trudell with Jesse ed Davis playing behind him. Probably the weakest track on the album, it is the only artistic misfire here. The album concludes with Shaman (Make a Chant). It is an examination of the role of healing in Indigenous Culture, and the guitar is searing, with Trudell's vocal drenched in reverb.

Trudell's next album is But This Isn't El Salvador. This album combine traditional tribal drum songs with contemporary lyrics. The album is a series of vignettes  or pictures of Native life in a materialistic culture. Trudell makes sure that the listeners understands that the problems of Indigenous People in Central and South America, Australia, and Asia are the same as problems of American Indigenous Nations. There is no valid argument to the concept that somehow US Indigenous nations are unique and different. Butler's Honor opens the album. Trudell explains that he and other Indigenous people grow up quickly, and there is no such thing as childhood innocence. Written in the middle of Reagan's insane Contra affair, Trudell sees the irony of being in America, yet not being able to get decision -makers' attention. Performed to traditional drums and chant, in Born 18 the point Trudell appears to be hitting is the loss of innocence and dependence and the unwitting dependence upon and identification with Dominant Culture, even though such culture instantly devalues Indigenous Peoples. The Newspaper Stand is the next track, and Trudell reflects the problems that inner city Indigenous People face...addiction, homelessness, women having to sell their bodies to live. He points out that community servants treat such people as invisible. The following track is Elk Song (But This Isn't My Life). Trudell reflects on his days as an activist, feeling that it took too heavy a toll on his life and the lives of those he loved. He seems to feel that the price he paid was very high. Old Spring Owl Song (Instant Heat) describes the experience of new love, the discovery of a loving partner again. Thicker Than Blood (Chief's Song) explores the antics and exploits of young male friends, raising hell, defying convention, all done to a wonderful chant. Beauty In a Fade has some cool guitar behind it, along with a woman chanting similar notes. The song examines the role of male ego in destroying a loving relationship. The two people grow apart in the song. The woman had their dreams together as a priority, but the man's dreams were only for himself, not her. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxcqydoS8pQ  The next track, 1 Side of the Face (What Happens), examines the struggle of grief, the fear of letting go of loss, the wondering about what the next life chapter will bring. At Some Point (Umatilla Song) describes the price of vanity, not being real, not embracing life on ts own terms. Woman Treat (Wide Spot Own Song) looks hard at first love. This song examines the "chemistry" of initial attraction, asking the question, will you be mine....Co-Optation (49 Crazy Horse Song) addresses the plight of Indigenous Peoples in Central America, describing the illogical doublethink that Dominant Culture presents to justify meddling in other nations. The gist is that struggles against European (Dominant) Cultural Power are universal for Indigenous People. There is no time for the Dominant Culture to really HEAR the Indigenous Peoples' anger at the rape of the Earth. Song of the Trees (Warm Springs Honoring Song) is the final track of this very complex album, and calls attention to the values honored, cherished by Indigenous Peoples...loving freely, not attaching to possessions, loving the Earth, and listening to the world around you. This album is the product of an artist looking without any defenses raised toward himself or the world around him. The album's objective, unbridled honesty, is more than met.


John Trudell-This Isn't El Salvador-1987

Heart Jump Bouquet, John Trudell and Jesse Ed Davis's second collection of songs in 1986-7,  a song cycle about relationships, immediately puts chills down the listener's spine by starting with a wolfpack howling. Davis's guitar echoes the howling, perhaps signaling a man's resignation to a woman who is beautiful but distant and unconquerable. Davis and Trudell's Listen Closely is a beautiful appreciation of a man's love from a woman who feels that love from the depths of her soul. It is a declaration of a relationship that is a true partnership. Such a Fine Day has an interesting beat to it, with some cool female backing vocals. It almost has a bit of lightness in it's melody....the backing vocals remind me of the girl group records of the Sixties. In the end, it is a celebration of a woman who is sure of herself, no matter where she is, or how she is dressed. Never Never Blues is graced by thrilling slide guitar from Jesse Ed Davis, and it dominates the tune. There is a blues harp in the background that just wails. Trudell's vocal is a declaration of intention from a man who is feeling that he is drowning in the relationship. This is classic 12 Bar Blues, and is another example of these two mens' mutual chemistry as creative partners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7nIBiIaFMk  Heart Chanting again spotlights some gorgeous slide guitar. The tune rocks in a cool manner, and Davis lets his guitar sing. The song almost hearkens back to some of the early Eighties synthesizer tunes, the heart chanting phrase refers to two peoples' hearts beating as one in lovemaking. Rockin' the Res opens with a woman chanting. Trudell's lyrics complement Davis's tasteful guitar in the background. The whole feel of the tune is a catchy and energetic declaration of love. 


John Trudell and Jesse Ed Davis-Heart Jump Bouquet 1987

Bringing Back the Time is a meditation on the good times that a couple had in their relationship. It jumps along, and is perhaps a little lighter in its subject matter than some of this album's other songs. The title track, Heart Jump Bouquet follows. The track is a love song about love at first sight. The slide here by Jesse Ed Davis is again beautiful. This is love poetry set to music. The track is engaging, drawing you in, inviting you to feel the same. Trudell's poetry here complements the simple but beautiful accompaniment.  Davis's guitar work is exceptional. Poetic Motion follows, a tune that addresses a worldly woman who has been around the block. It features a cool track, and Trudell's appreciation of a woman who has been through as much as he has. Sweet Things is a funky ass track, accompanied by Trudell, speaking almost as if he is confiding in the listener, who is carried away by the music. The harp and brass line is pure Chicago Blues. It is as if Little Walter dropped by and layed down the smack. Tina Smiled opens with a blistering guitar solo from Davis, followed by Trudell reminscing in a loving way about a woman who is gone. Davis's guitar literally wails, cries with anguish.   This album is truly a masterwork by any measure. It is a study in sound, the emotions of love, and poetry.

These four albums are exceptional in their scope, honesty, and musicianship. Jesse Ed Davis is no longer with us, but his guitar playing here is a wonderful sample of his capability and extraordinary guitar work. The next artcile in this series will examine Trudell's work from the Nineties. Thank you for reading this, as Indigenous Music is often ignored. Trudell's albums are available through most major online retailers and ITunes.


Text Copyright 2013 by Peter Reum-All Rights Reserved










Friday, July 26, 2013

Review of The Beach Boys 15th Anniversary Special DVD-Good Vibrations Tour by Peter Reum

The original It's OK TV Special, which I had the chance to view in 1976, was sponsored by Dr.Pepper and produced by Saturday Night Live's Loren Michaels. The special was a mixture of short snippets of songs mixed with vignettes of various Southern California people and places designed to illustrate the world that The Beach Boys music came from. The live scenes were taken from a Beach Boys concert filmed at Anaheim Stadium. It was remarkable in that it was only the second time that Brian Wilson had appeared live since 1970. He had also appeared a few weeks earlier at a Bill Graham Day On the Green in the Bay Area.



This was the heyday of the infamous "Brian's Back" campaign, a public relations ploy designed to convince the Music World that Brian Wilson was a renewed human being, competent enough to be responsible for the musical output of the family business. That Brian was willing to undergo this travesty of therapy was not a choice open to him. Eugene Landy had been retained to be his psychologist, and the publicity was relentless. The family business was, of course, The Beach Boys, and there were 5 Beach Boys' families livelihoods and  quality of life at stake, not to mention the backing band, the road crew, and related services.


A 1976 Publicity Photo for the It's Ok TV Special Press Kit

Anyone who has run a small business will tell you that maintaining forward momentum is a huge challenge. That the group was historically having ups and downs musically was also not debatable. Concert attendance was growing exponentially, but there was the question of new music. The group decided to try to ask Brian for help. The previous years 1973  to 1976, were called "The Wilderness Years" for a reason. Brian's self-destructive behavior had worsened, and his use of stimulants was approaching implosion levels. Another important point to make is that there was little to no knowledge of how to treat the dual diagnosis of Chemical Dependence/Mental Illness extant. The field was in it's infancy.

Into this environment came the film crew for the 'It's Ok" special. The footage from Anaheim, and a little from the Bay Area show displays the group at the zenith of their potential for filling large concert venues. Not more than 30 months previous, prior to Endless Summer's release, their concert demand was for 3000 to 5000 seat venues. As early as the summer of 1974, they were beginning to play large summer festival type concerts. I remember attending one in Denver with The Beach Boys playing second to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

The Beach Boys stage presence at this period of their career was powerful. Upon viewing this dvd, it is evident that they were no longer self-conscious about their Pet Sounds and earlier songs, and the energy onstage is high. The set was a sailboat, and there were about the same number of musicians onstage as Brian Wilson tours with these days. The backing band crackled with energy. Ed Carter, Billy Hinsche, Bobby Figueroa, and Carli Munoz were all visible. The band was led  very obviously by Carl Wilson. Brian's participation in the footage is fitful. He can be seen at times sitting and watching the crowd, waving at people, noodling on the keyboard, and at times singing. It is apparent that he felt terribly out of place.



1976 Publicity Shot aboard The Harmony

Some of the songs themselves are dynamite. There are great versions of most of the group's evergreen live arsenal, such as Sloop John B, I Get Around, Fun Fun Fun, Good Vibrations, California Girls, and Help Me Rhonda  being present. The dvd begins with a radio being punched to the tune of a live Fun Fun Fun. Scenes of the Malibu Coast Drive are cut with concert footage, and the late Karen Lamm-Wilson is the beautiful blonde driving the proverbial T-Bird. Brian, laying in his famous bed with the angels on the headboard, bogarts a cigarette and stokes the legend of being in bed for "3 and a half years." Dennis's shots on his boat, The Harmony, are poignant. Be True To Your School is introduced by Brian's high school music teacher, who says that he gave him an "F" for the song Surfin. Never mind that it is an urban legend....it was his 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame. One indication it is 1976 is that the Hawthorne High Cheerleaders are mostly Caucasian, whereas in 2005 at the dedication of the Beach Boys Monument, they were mostly Hispanic, Asian, and African-American. The Southland's demographics had changed dramatically in those 30 years.

Brian, Carl, and Dennis do I'm Bugged at My Old Man, and it is goofball funny. It is apparent that the Wilsons look back at their dad with affection, even if they did experience abuse. This is the paradox of a family that is chemically dependent. It is a touching moment that is genuine and authentic. They cut to the group breaking into an angelic version of God Only Knows, illustrating The Wilsons' memory of why their dad would cry when he heard their harmonies.  The song may have been written by Brian, but Carl owned it live. I Get Around is cut with film footage of an aerial acrobat riding atop what looks like an old Boeing 737. Stuff like this only happens in Southern California....


Dennis Wilson at the slip for the Harmony


Brian names Van Dyke Parks as his favorite collaborator. Van Dyke is cameoed standing in front of the old Tower on Sunset saying the doesn't want to look like a "rickets reject." More telling is Van Dyke's observation that The Beach Boys did not embrace their musical history at the beach where Van Dyke says "you know, where the land comes down to the water." He then points to the group's history of a spiritual sound, remarking that they "are basically church people." Brian then sings with the group and the Double Rock Baptist Choir in what is a highlight of this special, a tremendous live version of That Same Song. Billy Hinsche can be seen singing in the choir. For a few brief moments, we see Brian on fire, enthused, bouyant, and animated.


My Favorite Rickets Reject



Camera Capture of Brian's 1976 Saturday Night Live Performance That Resulted In Charges By Paul Krassner That Brian Was Being Exploited Using Mental Health Therapy As a Pretext  

Carl is highlighted on Good Vibrations, which sounds oddly bassy and dirgelike.  This version was filmed on a soundstage, and there is some phony wind blowing Carl's hair.  Paul and Linda McCartney come to Brian's 34th birthday party, most likely at the old Bellagio home. The families are all there, and the size of the entire clan is formidable. The end of the song is from Anaheim. There is some goofy scat singing, but the footage of Dennis drumming is worth every second. Brian admits he stole song ideas from watching Dennis. Skateboarders are shone doing amazing tricks in an empty pool, and the boy talking about it says it spread nationwide. Sloop John B follows. Carl's command of the live Beach Boys is very apparent.

The infamous Belushi/Ackroyd arrest scene of Brian is next. He has stated that he was terrified facing the ocean. In his state of mind at that time, it is understandable. His resigned look from the back of a CHP patrol car is very sad, yet amazing. Cut to the Band doing Surfin' USA.To the comedians' credit, they accompanied Brian into the water. The famous Rolling Stone David Felton interview and  cover shot (see below) was done here. It is at this point that the therapeutic treatment of Brian tipped from ordinary milieu therapy into exploitative attention seeking on Landy's part. Paul Krassner, at that time the editor of Crawdaddy, later blasted Landy for his insistence that Brian do Saturday Night Live in an epic editorial. A month, or so later, Landy was fired.


The Famous Brian Goes Surfing Photograph


Dr. Eugene Landy

A guy sounding like Art Linkletter introduces a local beauty pageant, at which Dennis is a judge then cuts into California Girls. There is a nice segment of Alan at his Big Sur ranch. The camera then cuts to Rhonda, with Alan on lead vocal. There is some nice footage of a California Casual Cookout, again highlighting Alan. Brian actually plays electric keyboard on Rhonda, looking Sphinx-like, not singing.  Brian gets out of bed, and the camera cuts to a terrible version of It's Ok. They seem to bungle the chorus. Before the days of Autotune Mike sounds pitchy. Cut back to Van Dyke Parks....who is amused that they have survived musically despite repeatedly sabotaging themselves. Rock and Roll Music is then rolled out, and is workmanlike. What is apparent in the shots of the crowd is that they came to party, and The Beach Boys could have sung out of tune throughout, because no one noticed, they were all too busy partying.


The Beach Boys at Joffrey Ballet-San Francisco 1976


What to make of this historic piece of Beach Boys and Brian Wilson history???? Well, the evergreen tunes are done beautifully and anything from this period live in soundboard quality and in stereo sound is both rare and  nice. The footage itself shows its age, but is still powerful. The poignant moments in the footage are many...Brian's Double Rock appearance, candid footage of the Beach Boys' children, small then, but who now have their own children, the three Brothers Wilson affectionately singing a song to remember their dad, Carl's utter command of the live Beach Boys,  and Dennis, on the Harmony and drumming throughout, showing why he was the soul and spirit of The Beach Boys.

If you have not already bought a copy of this piece of Beach Boys history, it is worth the price of admission. The sound itself is available in Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS Surround Sound. Thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment for reissuing it at a reasonable price.


Text copyright 2013 by Peter Reum-All Rights Reserved














Thursday, July 18, 2013

25 Books I Call My Favorites with Annotation by Peter Reum

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by

 Richard Rhoades




This book helped me understand my hometown's place in world history. My family came to wartime Los Alamos in 1943, and lived there during the war. My dad had close contact with some of the world's greatest physicists, chemists, metallurgists, and got to see the first test of a nuclear device in the    New Mexico desert in 1945. My dad and mom shared stories with me of life on the New Mexico frontier with heat that worked sometimes, water that was chronically short for use, and electricity that was unpredictable. They drove from Chicago to Los Alamos in 1938 Nash Rambler, and it would not go up the steep and switch backed primitive road to Los Alamos. My folks were residents of a 4-plex with Edward Teller living in the apartment above them, and told me stories of him playing his piano at 3 AM in the morning and keeping the neighborhood awake, not just once, but several times a week. My dad told me about Robert Oppenheimer and what a brilliant project director he was, and how he walked a fine line between General Groves and his own scientific staff. The book not only goes into this information,but goes through the saga of the effort to beat Germany to "the bomb." It won a Pulitzer Prize for history. The tragedy of Hiroshima is examined, and the inner conflict the men who did the research about it's use in Japan is examined.  


The Thomas Jefferson Reader


Front Cover

Why Jefferson? Of all American Presidents, he was the most conflicted and complex. Yes, I know Lincoln was as well, or any number of others, but Jefferson was a man who lived lavishly and died in debt, who wrote about freedom eloquently and held slaves, and who advocated for liberty and held Indigenous peoples, African-Americans, and women as less than human, who was monogamous, but had children with his African-American housekeeper after his wife died. He read voraciously, had an incredible library, and began the University of Virginia. His genius is not only in evidence in this anthology of his letters and writing, but at Monticello.com, the site which examines his impact upon history and his life in Virginia as a farmer, inventor, politician, and scientist. 


The Bible-King James Version




This book opened the English speaking world to reading, and transitioned control of Christian belief from the clergy to the laity. The orthodox approach to scripture changed slowly into biblical scholarship, opening a new world of interpretation to anyone willing to do the basic research to understand it. As an Anglican, it was essential reading in my childhood, although many old timers did not like the updating of the Lexicon to everyday English from 17th century English. Perhaps, for better or worse, one of the most influential books in history.



The Maestro Plays by Bill Martin Jr.






Bill Martin Jr. is a genius in the manner in which he writes and illustrates his work. His books are my childrens' favorites, and they are a delight to read and to "emote" to while reading aloud. This particular book is one of my favorites because it relates to music, my favorite subject. There is a hidden reference to the music of Dizzy Gillespie. See if you can find it. 



Man and His Symbols by C.G. Jung



C.G. Jung is a complex man who broke with Freud in the early 20th century and founded a form of humanistic psychology that still exists today. This small volume summarizes many of his basic theories and formed some of the groundwork for later research on the subject. Writers such as Joseph Campbell are indebted to Jung, and this examination of the universal symbols and Jung's theory of a collective unconscious are made more understandable here than elsewhere. 


The Kingdom of God is Within by Leo

 Tolstoy




This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the principles of living nonviolently. The powerful arguments Tolstoy makes are grounded in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. One of the most common phrases Jesus speaks is his sharing of "The Kingdom of God is like...."  This is perhaps the most influential book of the 20th century, as both Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. used these principles in the liberation of India and African-America. King's methods were adopted by Mandela in South Africa......well, you see where this is going.


Mahatma Gandhi-An Autobioraphy



Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi had a life that may be regarded as almost unbelievable. Regarded as the liberator of India and Pakistan, his methods presaged Nelson Mandela's by 80 years, but were very influential to Mr. Mandela's approach to reuniting South Africa. Gandhi's first years as a lawyer were spent in South Africa, and his family still has a branch there. The subtitle of this book, "The Story of My Experiments With Truth" explain how he was faced with many unpleasant ethical dilemmas. That he died violently is not surprising, but his contribution to the life of the 20th and 21st Centuries is undeniable.


Dune by Frank Herbert



This book is one of my rare ventures into fiction, and is as mesmerizing  as any book ever written. Like the work of Tolkein and Rowling, the reader is transported into a world so foreign yet so familiar that one wishes the book would never end. Film people have tried unsuccessfully to replicate the wonder of this book, but it is so detailed that the author provides a dictionary at the back of the book to help readers follow the story. 

The Book of J by Harold Bloom and

 David Rosenberg



This book is the co-authors' exposition of the idea that The Books of Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers were partially written by a 10th Century B.C. author, along with two other authors. Today's Biblical analysis, at least the liberal strand of it, is indebted to this volume. A fascinating venture into the minds of ancient Judaic literature and the Torah.


Death Comes for the Archbishop by

 Willa

 Cather




My home state of New Mexico was inhabited by Indigenous peoples dating back at least 15,000 years if not longer. Their subjugation by Spanish conquistadors and the enslavement and murderous genocide of thousands was no different than elsewhere in the Americas. New Mexico is the site of the only successful revolt by Indigenous people in the US. It happened in 1680 and the Spanish were driven south on the Rio Grande to El Paso, Texas, not returning until 1692, and then only through promises of nonviolence and the rights of Pueblos to be able to live on their lands. The Mexican War brought New Mexico into the status of being a territory of the USA, but Spanish Colonial traditions were continued well into the 20th Century. Into this three stranded mix of cultures came the first Archbishop of Santa Fe, Jean Baptiste Lamy. This is a biographical novel, written beautifully by Willa Cather. The entrenched interests the Archbishop encountered were complex. Although the names have been changed, the story is enchanting and full of the stuff that makes for late night reading.


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee

 Brown








The American Holocaust is a subject not commonly discussed in schools in the United States. This book uses Indigenous Peoples' accounts of their experiences with first Europeans, then, Americans, to illustrate how an estimated 15 million Indigenous People in North America were systematically enslaved or exterminated over the course of the last 500 years. That they are alive to account for their stories is remarkable, given the fact that the winners usually write history. Mr. Brown is meticulous in his documentation of event after event that indicts the Dominant Culture for its devaluation of Indigenous life, lands, and spirituality. Before anyone talks with an Indigenous Tribal Member, this is essential reading. The story Indigenous People have to tell is a profound story, but is hard to comprehend without a grounding like Brown's book offers.


The Rock Encyclopedia by Lillian Roxon




This volume is the answer to a Rock Music fan's prayer if there was a band or musician that you didn't know about, but want to explore. It's various editions  literally documented the world of Rock Music as it stood from 1969 through 1978, as various editions updated information. Ed Naha, a rock critic, took over the editing of the book after Ms. Roxon's death. Still a definitive book of Rock Music of the Fifties and Sixties some 35 years after the last edition was published.


Beach Boys and the California Myth by

 David Leaf




This book was a logical step for David Leaf after his founding of the Pet Sounds Fanzine. He had moved to Southern California to pursue a career in writing and film, and this project, his first, was a labor of love. It was impossible to live in Los Angeles, love Brian Wilson's music, and not be moved by the man's life and creativity. This book I helped with by doing photo and memoribilia research, and it essentially moved me from being a fan of the Wilson music into an advocate for the health and well being of Brian Wilson. David's involvement went far deeper, into a lasting and important friendship with Brian and then his second family. In the 1980s and early 1990s, I saw the effect of various psychotropic medications sap the consciousness and vitality of Brian Wilson, draining him toward death, and spent hours on the phone with David Leaf explaining what I believed was happening. He then was able to explain to Carl Wilson what he thought was happening, and the Liberation of Brian Wilson began. Yes, I know this book has some inaccuracies, but it was the event that began the eventual long journey Brian made back to reclaim his life and his music.


 An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by

 D.T. Suzuki and C.G. Jung




Someone once wrote that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Zen, being an intuitive discipline, is also something that really cannot be reduced to rationale explanation. Yet, D.T. Suzuki did an incredible job of illustrating the principles of Zen, and using sacred texts to make his points. Dr. Jung is here only to write the introduction to help Europeans and Americans to at least try to understand what makes Zen the wonder it is. If you get through this book, and still want to know more, there are number of sites and places where further exploration can take place.


Sacred Places and Sacred Objects by

 Andrew Gulliford



Growing up in New Mexico with an Indigenous member in my family made me acutely aware of the sacredness of certain places to Indigenous peoples. Throughout the Southwestern United States, there are tribes who identify certain places as holy in their tribe's beliefs. These are not books....they are vivid, incredible places that often literally almost scream their sacredness. The cover of Mr. Gulliford's book illustrates a sacred place a few hours way from where I live in Montana. The Medicine Wheel has been in use for at least 12,000 years, and is still utilized by certain tribes during important dates in their spiritual beliefs. I have published a blog entry in my Old Reuminations blog about the desecration of these places, and their endangered status. The loss of these places is tantamount to burning a Bible or urinating on a Koran. A fellow Colorado College alumnus, Mr. Gulliford has contributed immeasurably to the understanding of these places by the Dominant Culture.


Sneetches on the Beaches by Dr.Seuss



This thin little volume has educated more children about the psychology of segregation and discrimination than almost anything I can name. Like other volumes of Dr. Seuss, there is a story that is humorous on the surface, and which has a subtle but powerful message underlying it. In this case, a traveling huckster manipulates two different groups of sneetches into changing themselves to be superior to the other group. The groups do things exclusively to their group, and do not permit the other sneetches to take part. When they wake up to being swindled, they unite against the huckster, and come together living and doing things together in harmony.


George Gershwin: His Life and Work by Howard Pollack






There are a number of books that purport to cover the life and music of George Gershwin, but this one is the gold standard. The amount of research and its accuracy is exhaustive, and show, that in his 37 short years, he moved mountains. There are critics of Gershwin on both the classical music side and the popular song side, but the facts make their own argument here. That Gershwin was a natural musician is unquestionable, but he also made strong efforts to learn the mechanics of writing both types of music. His personal life was full of speculation and rumor, but it all pales when Pollack illuminates the incredible creative force that was George Gershwin.


The Tewa World: Time,  Being and Becoming In a Pueblo Society by Alfonso Ortiz


So many of my friends growing up were Indigenous people. It was a great time to go over to what was then called San Juan Pueblo (now Okee Owingay) for their Feast Day and be invited to visit friends' homes. Okee Owingay is the site where Spaniards first settled in New Mexico in 1598. The history of the Rio Grande Valley in that region of New Mexico goes back to that time, with Indigenous sites being dated to being 14,000 years old. Okee Owingay's Spiritual Beliefs are  explained by one of their tribe, the late Alfonso Ortiz, who had a Ph.D. in Anthropology from The University of Chicago, and who  taught at my alma mater, Colorado College. If you want to fathom how differently Indigenous people view the world, this is a good place to begin. The sheer beauty of their beliefs are something to behold, but I am certain that due to Mr. Ortiz having been a member of Okee Owingay, that his book can only scratch the surface. To do more would have been counter to his Indigenous heritage.


Silent Spring by Rachel Carson



When I was a student in high school, the use of DDT, a highly toxic poison, was common. The use of organic foods was but a small portion of the food market nationally, and people had not done the research on the deleterious genetic implications of certain pesticides that today is familiar in the scientific canon. Monsanto in the Sixties had a display in Disneyland, and their slogan was "better living through chemistry." Although many in the environmental  movement have been critical of her scientific methodology in writing the book, the fact is that many people had their thinking permanently changed by this book, including myself. We now realize how strong the relationship between certain chemicals and cancer and genetic damage is, and the toll that it took upon all types of life, not just birds, amphibians, and mammals.   

Alcoholics Anonymous Fourth Edition by The Alcoholics Anonymous World Service Committee





When we look at books that have impacted human life at its most basic levels, such as survival and family life, Alcoholics Anonymous, now in its Fourth Edition, must be a book that comes to mind immediately. No matter how one sees chemical dependence, for those suffering with it, this book and corresponding books in other fellowships have improved the quality of life for literally MILLIONS of people, both those who are chemically dependent, and also their relatives and families. Like all self-improvement books, the assumption here is that if you are reading this book, your life has become unmanageable. The most moving part of watching people recover from this illness, for me as a chemical dependency counselor, is seeing them healthy wherever I go in the community where I live, and watching them thrive as renewed people. These are people who literally were the walking dead, at death's door, and who now prize life more than anyone I know. 

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams



When I was a boy, the disease we call Rubella (Measles) was still prevalent, and many people either died, had heart problems, or became blind from having it. My turn came when I was 7, and i was kept in a dark room for three weeks, and burned with fever and had red marks everywhere. The other common childhood diseases from the time that this book was written in 1922, Polio, Scarlet Fever, Rheumatic Fever, Mumps, and so forth, all caused children to lose their beloved stuffed animals to being burned due to being contaminated by the diseases. For me, a beloved teddy bear I got as a baby bought the farm after Measles went away. The Velveteen Rabbit in this story wants badly to be made real by his Boy's love, and when Scarlet Fever separates them, the transformation to becoming a "real" bunny comes to pass. Reality in this case, is a desirable way of living, and the theme of the transforming power of love as the agent of change is prominent.

Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Field Guide by Thomas A. Heinz


When I first saw a picture of Fallingwater as a high school student, I knew that  whoever designed that incredible home was unique. As time passed, my acquaintance with Frank Lloyd Wright grew, and I had the opportunity to tour Wright's winter headquarters, Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona and the original Spring Green, Wisconsin headquarters with the original Taliesin. The more I saw, the more I wanted to see. It was as if Mr. Wright had pulled designs out of thin air. His designs certainly influenced the modern ranch style home so common in the latter half of the 20th century, yet his designs remained so different and unique that his school still trains architects over fifty years after his death in 1959. If you collect experiences, like I do, Mr. Wright's work is a great place to begin.

In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer: The Security Clearance Hearings Edited by Richard Polenberg




The King of Israel, Solomon, wrote in Ecclesiastes "there is nothing new under the sun."  In this time of excessive and intrusive monitoring by NSA of ordinary American citizens, with the corresponding demolition of the Fourth Amendment, it is worthwhile to revisit another time when the United States Government was intimately and illegitimately involved in the lives of prominent and not so prominent Americans. The revocation of J. Robert Oppenheimer's Security Clearance in 1954 was an example of the fear and perception of imminent threat overcoming common sense and rationality. Mr. Oppenheimer was a patriot, a veteran of scientific debate and public policy, and a person whose efforts in World War 2's Manhattan Project resulted in the successful design, testing, and deployment of two types of atomic bombs...When Oppenheimer questioned the wisdom of building and testing a thermonuclear bomb (hydrogen bomb), he was vilified and every sordid detail of his private life was trotted before the men who were judging whether Oppenheimer was a security risk or not. This was after Oppenheimer served as Los Alamos Project Y Director, and as Chair of the predecessor of the Atomic Energy Commission for 6 years. Several colleagues later commented that Oppenheimer never recovered from the  hearings, dying a sad and broken man from cancer in 1966. The McCarthy Era had hundreds of Oppenheimers, but this case is so telling because a man, who scientific credentials were impeccable, and whose achievement were legion, DARED disagree with the war machine that drove our country to the brink of war repeatedly, and in 1962, nearly caused the wanton destruction of our country had it not been for a Soviet Submariner who had the common sense to not follow orders. We are approaching that time again, when our liberty is threatened by our own paranoia, and our prosperity is waning because of a military budget we cannot possibly afford, and wars our childrens' children will still be paying for long after the authors of those wars are dead. When will we ever learn?   




Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Collection by Barbara Buhler Lynes


Growing up in the Espanola Valley in New Mexico, one could not be unaware of the towering presence of Miss O'Keeffe, as my mother called her. Miss O'Keeffe lived in a large adobe home on the brow of a hill above Abiquiu, New Mexico, about a 20 minute drive from our home. Her Ghost Ranch "retreat" home was smaller, and that is where I had the opportunity to meet Ms. O'Keeffe. I got to tag along with another person who was friends with her, and who was invited for a brief afternoon hello type of visit with her. At the time, I would guess that she was in her late 60s. I also remember being told to be on my best behavior as a child when my mother would take us kids to her beauty salon because she couldn't find a sitter. Ms. O'Keeffe had a standing appointment at that salon in Espanola that briefly overlapped with my mom's.  I really had no clue how venerated her art was until I went to college and discovered that her art was prominent in discussions about 20th Century American Art, especially by women. I first saw her work then, and was bowled over her interpretation of the land around Abiquiu, and also by her various paintings of flowers. When I got to the Santa Fe Museum bearing her work, it was a treat beyond belief. It was nearly 3 hours of just standing and looking at painting after painting. This book collects most of the paintings in the permanent collection, which was willed to the Foundation bearing her name by Ms. O'Keeffe.  It is a multicourse banquet for the eyes, and I can only say that if you cannot get to the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, buy this book. 

On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers


With the advent of Motivational Interviewing, there has been a revived interest in the pioneering work of Dr. Carl Rogers, and what he called Client Centered Therapy. The wars between Dr. Rogers and Behavioral Psychologist B.F. Skinner were renowned. That Dr. Roger's theories have been empirically validated through literally thousands of studies through the years has made the practice of psychotherapy a science instead of an art. Though the principles of behavior modification are essential to any psychotherapy practice, now we know that the ideas advanced in Dr. Rogers' books like this one are also essential to know. When I was a junior in college, I had the privilege to hear Dr. Rogers lecture for an evening on his ideas, especially as they applied to group therapy. He was a warm, kind, and gentle soul. For any of us who saw the obligatory counseling training videos showing Dr. Rogers in action counseling with a woman, and then the same woman being counseled by Dr. Albert Ellis (Rational-Emotive Therapy), and Dr. Frederic "Fritz" Perls (Gestalt Therapy), it was evident that Dr. Rogers was every bit as effective as the other two pioneering psychotherapists using Client Centered Therapy. The ideas in this book are as valid and alive today as they were 53 years ago when this book was first published.

Hiroshima by John Hersey


The horror of World War 2, brought on by power mad nations, was a blight on the history of the human species. The atrocities committed by nations can only be viewed in hindsight with trepidation and amazement of the temerity with which human life was regarded. The last brutal act of a war with every possible type of atrocity having been committed that was imaginable was the atomic bombing of innocent civilians by the United States in what was to be the last week of the War. John Hersey's book, which documents the suffering of Japanese civilians from the bomb, was a milestone in the literature surrounding the suffering of innocents due to warfare. In a brief moment, shorter than a commercial on television, human life was wiped out in a two mile perimeter around what is now the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Books like this are needed to show ordinary people that war from the air, by drone, by bomb, or by other means, is NOT anonymous. Real people die, real people survive maimed, and real people mourn the loss of their loved ones. We need a book about drones' effects on innocent targets. War by proxy is dehumanizing, except for the civilian victims. Damn the drones, damn the submarines, damn the missles, damn the chemical and biological weapons, damn the automatic weapons. Hiroshima is a marker in time, a letter from the past to the present, warning us about our future, if we do not learn from the lessons Hersey's book has to offer. Who will be the next John Hersey? I hope he or she publishes soon before it is too late.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My 25 Favorite Brian Wilson Solo Tunes by Peter Reum

There was a thread on a message board that I frequent that had a link to an article that said that Brian Wilson had not written music the caliber of his Sixties work in his solo career. There are a number of people who think Brian has been recycling old  melodies in new combinations, which is characteristic of most composers, Gershwin included. With the possible exception of the of the "Shortnin' Bread riff," Brian's work has been at times transcendent but usually inspired.  Now, some of the selections I have chosen have appeared on Beach Boys albums, but are Brian by himself without The Beach Boys contributing vocally. The 25 selections that I have made are songs where Brian worked alone, or, with people outside of the Beach Boys. These picks are solo, even if the selection appeared on a Beach Boys album, or in most cases were recorded specifically for his solo career.  Within this specific framework, I will now share with you my picks. I do not expect anyone else's picks to match mine. These are just my favorites. These are in no particular order.

A) Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks-Palm Tree and Moon


I love this track, and would have bought Orange Crate Art even if the remainder sounded phoned in. It is a nice combination of  rare romanticism from Van Dyke Parks, and Brian's vocals are also done tenderly. The melody is impossibly catchy, and that tells me that Van Dyke could toss off commercially intended tunes whenever he so chose. Both men come together with their chemistry matching here. The song sounds like one of those Rodgers and Hart tunes, or the tunes the Gershwins wrote for movies in the Thirties and Forties.  Even if you don't like the album, give this one a spin on Youtube.

B) Meet Me in My Dreams Tonight-Brian Wilson



Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight is Brian Wilson and Andy Paley's paean to Phil Spector from the Eighties. Their songwriting yielded some mixed results, but Brian's work with Paley was genuine and heartfelt. It is probably the most commercial tune they wrote together, and is produced using somewhat of a combination of Spector and Good Vibrations approach. Brian's vocal here is not his strongest, but the sheer catchiness of this tune more than makes up for it.

C) Busy Doin' Nothin'-Brian Wilson


1968's Friends album caught the buying public waiting for something "heavy." Being a Beach Boys fan back then was rough. Out of the ether came The Beach Boys' most jazz flavored album, Friends. As someone who played lots of jazz in high school, it was very welcome, even if it wasn't "heavy." The Sixties was the decade of samba and Brazilian jazz, with Jobim setting the pace. When I first heard this track, I was bowled over. It was simply the result of Brian reflecting his life style of the time, and no one understood. As Brian himself said at the time, "it is music for chillin' out by."  

D) This Isn't Love-Brian Wilson


The collaboration between Brian Wilson and Tony Asher in the Nineties yielded two songs that  I am aware of that were simply two of the best songs Brian has written in his solo period. Like Pet Sounds, there is an accessibility to Tony Asher's lyrics that matches the beauty of Brian's music wonderfully. The song was first released on a sampler, and also appeared in a Flintstones movie, but the definitive version is on Brian's Roxy Live double set that stoked me at a time when things were quiet. Quite simply, it is a Wilson/Asher masterwork.  If Mr. Asher is willing, Brian should consider doing another album together, as their work is always excellent.

E) In My Room-Brian Wilson and Tammy Wynette


There is a pathos in the sorrow these two people share that makes this version of the song the definitive one in my opinion. The Beach Boys version is lovely, but Brian's subtle and tasteful background vocals here, and the simple eloquence of the performance transcends every other version. Tammy's death, shortly after this was cut, marooned this track for a time, as it was intended for a second Beach Boys' country collaboration. It was issued instead as a memorial to Ms. Wynette on a cd that was issued following her death.

F) Your Imagination (vocals only) Brian Wilson


Brian Wilson was first paired with Joe Thomas on the Stars and Stripes Collaboration. Their work together has been uneven, but on this particular song, they cut a diamond perfectly. This version is on Spotify, but I first heard it as a bonus track on the Japanese issue of Imagination, which is superb. The vocals are crisp and beautiful, a treasure.

G) Surfs Up 1967-Brian Wilson


This version of Surfs Up was in the can for over 40 years before it appeared on The Beach Boys Smile Sessions Boxed Set. It is a version cut after Smile died it's first death, only to be resurrected repeatedly until it was completed in 2004. This version is vintage Brian, still vocally agile, and is unforgettable. More than even the video of the tune from the Oppenheim special, this version captures something the song always had, a spirituality that is unmatched on other versions.

H)  Midnight's Another Day-Brian Wilson


This tune is the tune that convinced The Beach Boys that they should work with Brian again. There were interviews at the time of release that showed Brian being praised by members of the group, including Bruce Johnston. The material on this album is top notch. Scott Bennett is another person who has Brian's back, and their trust yielded a great album, crowned by this magnificent song.

I) In Blue Hawaii-Brian Wilson


This tune was completed by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks in 2003, after Brian agreed to tackle assembling his Smile music into a piece for live performance. I can't believe that I was there for the premiere. A big thank you to David Leaf and Dave McHarry for making that possible. I am indebted to both of them.  This is for me a big reason why Smile works live. The segue from Fire into this tune is incredible. The segue from this piece into Our Prayer and Good Vibrations is genius. But if there is a latter day Brian Wilson tune that is evidence of his genius when he works with Van Dyke Parks, this would be a prime example.

J) The Like In I Love You-Brian Wilson



This project was close to my heart, as my two favorite musicians are Brian Wilson and George Gershwin. Someone at the Gershwin Estate also enjoys Brian's music, and gave him access to a set of unfinished Gershwin song pieces that he could rework (reimagine) and cut for this majestic album. The lyrics are beautiful, the arrangement is catchy, and most of all, Brian is really into this piece performance wise. This one is very close to his heart.....and mine. 

K) Little Deuce Coupe (demo)-Brian Wilson


This version of Little Deuce Coupe is a demo Brian cut with Bob Norberg, and perhaps Dave Nowlen and The Survivors.  The version here swings, and is catchy as hell. I include it here because there is a wealth of Brian demos out there awaiting proper compilation and release.  Such a set would offer a look into the thought processes of Brian as a composer and occasional lyricist.

L) Good Vibrations (2006 basic stereo track) Brian Wilson with The Wrecking Crew



This track was issued with the Good Vibrations 40th Anniversary Package that came out in 2006. Mark Linett's mix here is superb, and illustrates the manner in which the various segments were put together seamlessly to make the track heard here. Instruments hard to hear in the finished single are prominent here. Simply a tour de force. The cellos on the fade are just awesome.

M) Mrs. O'Leary's Cow-Brian Wilson


Hearing this Grammy winner within the context of a live Smile was remarkable, as it made sense in the Third (Elements) Movement. As a composition, the scales that are played perfectly mimic a fire, and one can envision a raging building or forest fire upon listening. The track received the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental, and deservedly so. It is fairly unique in the sounds Rock has made, and, in context, is part of the wonder that is the finished Smile.

N) South American-Brian Wilson




Brian Wilson has been a collaborator with a number of  different people through the years. I have noted in this article some of the more successful collaborations. An unlikely one happened on Imagination, when Brian wrote this tune with Jimmy Buffett.  Buffett was the king of good time music in the late Seventies and early Eighties, and has also been a celebrated novelist.  The song is a true collaboration, and is a good time record for the Nineties.  There is a vocals only version which is incredible as well. 

N) Don't Let her Know She's An Angel-Brian Wilson




Among Brian's solo albums, this one is the most uneven. What is great is great, and what is not so great....well, you know what I  mean. Collaborators were many, and true gems were rare. This is one of those gems where Brian wrote the lyrics himself, and they are as gorgeous as the melody. This song is a powerful testament to Brian's lyrical aptitude when he chooses to exercise it.


O) Joy to the World-Brian Wilson


This version of Joy to the World rivals We Three Kings of Orient Are as the finest Christmas song Brian ever recorded. It is so simple and yet so welcoming. It is a brilliant arrangement in an album that is somewhat uneven. The fact that is shines so brightly on this album is a tribute to Brian and Joe Thomas, who engineered this song. Truly a masterpiece.


P) Listen to Me-Brian Wilson



Through the years, Brian has cut a number of individual songs that have been placed upon compilations designed to pay tribute to certain artists and songwriters. This is probably the best one of these types of tunes Brian has recorded through the years. As a Buddy Holly lover, I can tell you that this is a beautiful and respectful recording of Buddy's classic, and is well worth buying.  Give it a listen, and see if you don't agree!

Q) What Can Love Do-Brian Wilson



This tune is a collaboration between two great American songwriters, Burt Bacharach and Brian Wilson.  Lyrics are by Steven Krikorian. The song makes me wish these men had gotten together much sooner. Simply a masterpiece. Warmly written and performed, the song needs more exposure.


R) Love and Mercy-Brian Wilson



Perhaps I am partial to this version because it comes from a project that I was personally involved with over a period of a year or so. This version has a warmth that the version on Brian's first solo album does not. He seems to enjoy this performance in the film, and really sings his heart out. That is he is attached to the song goes without saying, and in my opinion, this is the best version of one of his best solo songs.


S) Song For Children/Child Is Father of the Man-Brian Wilson


These are a pair of the songs from the Second (Cycle of Life) Movement that Brian finished with Van Dyke Parks in 2003 while preparing Smile for live performance. Their economy and beauty is a major achievement for Brian and Van Dyke, and for his talented backing band. Close your eyes here, listen, and you will be moved. The song segues into what many people believe is the most haunting and beautiful piece of music Brian ever wrote....Child Is Father to the Man. There is so much here that is a pinnacle of the meeting of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. It is a piece of music as beautiful as any any American composer and lyricist ever wrote.

T) Lay Down Burden-Brian Wilson




This song Brian wrote in memory of his brother Carl Wilson, who so powerfully stepped up and saved Brian's life when his psychiatrist had almost killed him. Brother to brother, I can hear Carl singing this and knocking it out of the park. Brian is very sweet voiced here, especially in the background vocals. It is one of those perfect Brian Wilson records.

U) Pet Sounds-Brian Wilson's band


This tune has always knocked me out, and to hear The Brian Wilson Band bring it to life so vividly in London in 2002 is a memory in sound I will never forget. It is simply one of the coolest things Brian ever wrote. The version on youtube is great, in that Brian says to the audience "I  told you they were good." Just an amazing piece of music.


V) The One You Can't Have-The Honeys and Brian Wilson



Perhaps I am biased, but I think the Brian Wilson Productions outside The Beach Boys are the best kept secret in rock music. All together, there are roughly 20+ of them, and each one is a jewel, albeit, some shine more brightly than others. This particular one is especially catchy, and a Brian Wilson composition to boot. You will find some of this stuff lots easier today for lots less money than when I had to scare them up in the Seventies. The lead vocal on this tune is by Ginger Blake, and she is a great singer.


W) Still I Dream of It (demo)-Brian Wilson




When I first heard this demo, it struck me as being as raw as anything Brian ever cut. If Brian can sing the blues, this is it. The verse with "a little while ago my mother told me Jesus loved the world" just rips things up. You can see the man trying to internalize those words, but they don't ring true for him at this point in his life. He is suffering, and like Job in the Old Testament, he is sitting on a dung heap wondering "Why me?" There is no answer for Job, except Jehovah saying "I am that I am....have faith!" This is a man wrestling himself for his own soul.

X) Baby of Mine-Brian Wilson



This album was Brian's second of two for Disney. The connection between Brian and Disney goes clear back to happy memories when Brian went to Disneyland at age 13 or 14 with friends and family. Brian's version of Baby of Mine from Dumbo is tenderly arranged and sung. It stands out on this album, which like Gettin' In Over My Head is somewhat uneven. The song itself is as tenderly sung as any song in Brian's canon. 

Y) Everything I Need (demo) /Everything I Need-The Wilsons/Jeff Foskett and Brian Wilson



This one is complicated, because Brian's demo of Everything I Need with Carnie and Wendy is innocent and full of spirit. The tune sparkles with life, and is truly a joy to hear. Compared with the version on The Wilsons album, it is just livelier and brighter. Jeff Foskett asked Brian if he could record the song on his Stars In the Sand album. On Jeff's version,  Brian counts off the take. The version is very well done, and Jeff and Brian make the tune sparkle. The fade is pure Brian. This is the second of two Brian Wilson and Tony Asher songs I am aware of being recorded in the Nineties.  Simply a beautiful and little known Wilson/Asher tune.

Z) Let's Go Away For Awhile-Brian Wilson with The Wrecking Crew



Brian Wilson once called this song "the most satisfying song I have ever cut." Suffice to say that is is a beautifully arranged piece, with a gentle summery breeze feeling to it. I hear this tune following Theme From a Summer Place in the soundtrack in my mind. This is a bonus track....couldn't leave out "Z," could I??????


Text copyright 2013 by Peter Reum-All Rights reserved