CARL WILSON Long Promised Road (Promo, 1999), CARL (1998), Carl Wilson (1981) & Youngblood (1983)

Cherished rockers die every day. Many just get a shrug of the shoulders from most of us, though, there are some passings that have an effect. I felt really bad when Carl Wilson died. I wasn’t what you’d call a fanatic, but I’ve always admired his prime Beach Boys years, especially when he stepped up in the late 60s/early 70s with some brilliant material, just as brother Brian was heading into retreat. Carl’s productions (“Sail On Sailor”), compositions (“Long Promised Road”) and studio creations (“Feel Flows”) are among the group’s finest, Brian be damned. It was also Carl who stood up to The Beach Boys’ “oldies faction,” actually leaving the band in the early 80s to move forward artistically… simply because the band collectively refused to leave the past. Carl’s two solo albums, 1981′s Carl Wilson and 1983′s Youngblood, are smart efforts, produced with commercial intent by James William Guercio and the Doobie Brothers’ Jeff Baxter (respectively), but the material is far removed from Carl’s work with the Beach Boys, and most of the consumer complaints centered around the albums’ trendy production and sub-quality co-compositions. Yet… when all else failed, there was always Carl’s voice. So here’s a small Carl Wilson collection for your approval. One album not included here, that should be mentioned, is the Beckley-Lamm-Wilson release, 1999′s Like A Brother – a solid, if largely forgotten, project from the expatriate America/Chicago/Beach Boys members (there’s a link hidden in comments for B-L-W).

Carl+Wilson+-+Long+Promised+Road+-+CD+ALBUM-150916Long Promised Road (Promo, 1999)

A special promo CD that was given away to attendees of the Carl Wilson Benefit Concert, held in Los Angeles in October, 1998 (though the disc is actually dated 1999). A few copies were also offered for sale to benefit the American Cancer Society. The CD, which originally came in only a plastic sleeve with inserts, is extremely rare. The only other hard copy I’ve seen was selling online for £175. The disc contains some of Carl’s high-profile compositions as a Beach Boy, including two songs co-written with Randy Bachman for Keepin’ The Summer Alive, alongside material from his two 80s solo albums.

Long Promised Road (3:35) – Surf’s Up
Feel Flows (4:50) – Surf’s Up
Trader (5:06) – Holland
Full Sail (2:58) – L.A. (Light Album)
Goin’ South (3:18) – L.A. (Light Album)
Keepin’ The Summer Alive (3:43) – Keepin’ The Summer Alive
Living With A Heartache (4:06) – Keepin’ The Summer Alive
Hold Me (4:09) – Carl Wilson
Hurry Love (4:50) – Carl Wilson
Heaven (4:30) – Carl Wilson
What More Can I Say? (3:26) – Youngblood
Givin’ You Up (4:43) – Youngblood
One More Night Alone (3:07) – Youngblood
Rockin’ All Over The World (3:00) – Youngblood
What You Do To Me (3:58) – Youngblood
Of The Times (4:08) – Youngblood
It’s Gettin’ Late (3:27) – The Beach Boys
Maybe I Don’t Know (3:54) – The Beach Boys
Where I Belong (2:58) – The Beach Boys

CarlCARL (Compilation, 1998)

After his death in 1998, I put together a comp for a pal who was curious why I was obsessing over Carl’s passing. The idea was to spotlight Carl’s productions, compositions & that wondrous voice, via his work with The Beach Boys. It’s not meant to be definitive, complete or even historically accurate, as it’s just a collection of material where Carl shines, whether taking the reigns himself (“Trader”), singing lead on Brian’s compositions (he cried when first hearing Carl sing “God Only Knows”) or helping out brother Dennis’ skeletal creations (“Baby Blue”). All in all, I’d recommend this one for the Carl-curious, as it has a lot of familiar material by one of America’s great bands (not to mention a who’s who of session players). Repeated listens will reveal Carl’s compositional characteristics, and that’s where the real appreciation begins. Listen to “All This Is That,” above, to hear one of those hidden Beach Boys miracles you sometimes forget about.

KOMA (0:12)
Long Promised Road (3:35) #*
Feel Flows (4:47) #*
Sail On, Sailor (3:22) #
Cool, Cool Water (1:14)
Surf’s Up (4:12)
Trader (5:05) #*
God Only Knows (2:50)
All This Is That (4:00) #*
Darlin’ (2:14)
It’s Gettin’ Late (3:27) *
Let The Wind Blow (2:21)
Baby Blue (3:18)
You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone (3:27) #
Marcella (3:52) #
Our Sweet Love (2:39) *
I Can Hear Music (2:37) #
*Written, #Produced and many vocals by Carl Wilson

Carl Wilson (1981)
Youngblood (1983)

If you can fight past the production, which is very much of its time, you’ll find both of Carl Wilson’s solo albums have their moments. It’s just a strange sensation to hear one of the architects of The Beach Boys’ sound purposely side-stepping his own legacy to write for a new generation of listeners. Carl left the band over the idea that The Beach Boys could please their fans and attract new ones. When these albums failed to make their marks, the experiment failed, and Wilson would eventually return to the fold, rarely to venture outside the safety of the band again. Which is a shame. His talents deserved much more, if only because he had the balls to take the road less traveled. Carl Wilson was mostly co-written with Mynra Smith Schilling, but the end result generally lacks adhesive distinction. Youngblood introduces some spirited E-Street sax work to the mix to “update” the overall sound, which, of course, only ends up sounding more dated than ever. Listen above to the simply lovely “Heaven” and Youngblood‘s rockin’ “Time.”

Hold Me (4:09)
Bright Lights (3:54)
What You Gonna Do About Me (4:31)
The Right Lane (5:24)
Hurry Love (4:50)
Heaven (4:30)
The Grammy (3:10)
Seems So Long Ago (5:01)

What More Can I Say (3:26)
She’s Mine (3:11)
Givin’ You Up (4:43)
One More Night Alone (3:07)
Rockin’ All Over The World (3:00)
What You Do To Me (3:58)
Young Blood (2:43)
Of The Times (4:08)
Too Early To Tell (2:50)
If I Could Talk To Love (4:14)
Time (3:02)


  • 1
    September 20, 2011 - 10:57 | Permalink

    Find it all HERE

    • 2
      September 24, 2011 - 05:42 | Permalink

      Thank you, Willard. A forgotten star, and by all accounts, a real gentleman, too.
      And that song is Heaven indeed. It was worth the price of the vinyl in ’81 for that one beautiful song alone. Thank you for reminding me. Best wishes.

  • 3
    Visions of Neal
    September 20, 2011 - 15:04 | Permalink

    EMI Japan put out a nice CD-only collection of Carl singing these songs. Out of print now, but findable (for big-ish bucks) on Amazon. A really nice collection. Thanks for the post.

    1. I Can Hear Music
    2. Sweet Sunday Kinda Love
    3. Trader
    4. Livin’ With a Heartache
    5. Girl Don’t Tell Me
    6. Marcella
    7. God Only Knows
    8. San Miguel
    9. Only With You
    10. Darlin’
    11. This Whole World
    12. Full Sail
    13. Palisades Park
    14. Long Promised Road
    15. Good Timin’
    16. Night Was So Young
    17. Wild Honey
    18. Good Vibrations
    19. Steamboat
    20. She Believes in Love Again
    21. I’ll Bet He’s Nice
    22. Goin’ South

  • 5
    September 20, 2011 - 18:06 | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to hearing this. I’m a big Carl fan, too, but I’ve always avoided these albums b/c I heard the production was so lame — but I’m gonna listen with open ears.

    • 6
      September 20, 2011 - 18:20 | Permalink

      Unfortunately, on Carl’s solo albums you really have to dig for the treasures. You gotta feel for the guy, too. His own band wasn’t interested in what he had to offer and even fans, who can at least appreciate the albums’ merits, naturally gravitate back to his Beach Boys work. The compilation, CARL, is really a Beach Boys compilation, that just happens to be the best of Carl’s contributions. Some of his lead vocals, “Darlin’” & “God Only Knows,” are iconic, in their small ways, while the hidden multi-vocal treats, like “All This Is That” and the mid-80s’ “It’s Gettin’ Late,” are reminders of his natural abilities.

  • 7
    Visions of Neal
    September 20, 2011 - 18:12 | Permalink

    There are several interesting Beach Boys items on EMI-Toshiba besides the Carl Wilson compiliation, including Instrumental Hits, which I think you posted a while ago, plus the Brian Wilson Productions and Jan & Dean Take Brian Surfin’.

    Brian Wilson Productions (on EMI-Toshiba/19 tracks) is not quite the same thing as Pet Projects: The Brian Wilson Productions (on Ace/22 tracks), but like Pet Projects compiles songs by other artists produced by a very young and talented Mr. Wilson. That said, the best collection of such stuff by BY FAR is Still I Dream of You: Rare Works of Brian Wilson, on M&M Enterprises, 33 cuts of brilliance. I think those same recordings appear on Disc 5 of Brian Wilson Sessions, a 7-CD box set on CEDREM. Jan & Dean Take Brian Surfin’ has 29 tracks, featuring 13 written by Wilson, 3 of Jan & Dean with the Beach Boys, 3 of Jan & Dean singing Brian’s favorites, 5 of Jan Berry conducting Brian’s songs, and 5 live cuts, Jan & Dean singing Brian’s songs. All worth chasing, because Brian, way back then, was THAT GOOD.

    • 8
      September 20, 2011 - 18:36 | Permalink

      You’re pinpointing why I don’t collect these guys. Thanks for the tips.

      • 9
        Visions of Neal
        September 20, 2011 - 20:31 | Permalink

        Yeah, sorry, W, I got carried away. I collected BBs for years and there is a lot to collect.

        • 10
          September 20, 2011 - 22:44 | Permalink

          I appreciate it. I haven’t got the time to put in the leg work.

  • 11
    September 20, 2011 - 19:02 | Permalink

    Nice one, Willard.

  • 12
    September 20, 2011 - 21:13 | Permalink

    Big hell yes on “All This is That”…

  • 13
    Phil Winans
    September 20, 2011 - 21:21 | Permalink

    It’s been a while since I got out Surfs Up, Holland, and Sunflower but I’m gonna dig them out after listening to some of this. You put up great stuff Willard. Makes a person realize what a great voice Carl had. Phil

    • 14
      September 20, 2011 - 22:47 | Permalink

      That was such a great period. Carl was already envisioning new avenues for the Beach Boys when he brought in Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar to bolster the band’s sound. Those three are three of their best.

  • 15
    September 20, 2011 - 22:06 | Permalink


    The under-appreciated younger brother. Between Brian’s brilliance (how’s that for alliteration?) and Dennis’ wild exploits, Carl seemed doomed to remain in the shadows as the shy, quiet sibling, overshadowed by his brothers. But as you’ve pointed out, Carl admirably stepped up to the plate in Brian’s absence and proved himself to be a unique talent in his own right. If only he and Dennis had not been cut down in their prime, I believe that both would have demonstrated a wellspring of talent equal to their elder brother, but free from the constraints of Beach Boy lore and expectations.

    And yes, Carl’s voice was filled with warmth, honesty, and simpatico. Like Johnny Bacardi. ‘All This Is That’ is indeed all this and that!

    • 16
      September 20, 2011 - 22:58 | Permalink

      Carl had a luxury in that he could pick his spots. He was never expected to carry an album himself, though, he almost did just that a few times during Brian’s absence. That he was so inventive when he got the call says a lot about his abilities. Even his solo albums, which I never embraced myself, had a vision, though they were both also shaped by their producers, Wilson really tried to establish something completely new for himself in the early 80s. I kind of wish he’d stuck with it more, if even as a sideline.

  • 17
    Art Ducko
    September 21, 2011 - 01:09 | Permalink

    Thanks for the compilation, Willard. Outstanding, as always. And as always when discussing the Beach Boys, let me close with a hearty “Fuck Mike Love”.

    • 18
      Visions of Neal
      September 21, 2011 - 11:48 | Permalink

      I’m no fan of Mike’s either, but he did sing lead on a number of fine songs (early in the band’s career, to be sure, but including a couple from Pet Sounds). That’s worth something. For example: 409, California Girls, Fun Fun Fun, Here Today, Little Deuce Coupe, Little Honda, Little Saint Nick, Shut Down, Student Demonstration Time, Surfin’ USA and That’s Not Me. Okay, he turned into a seriously odd man, but he had his moments in the beginning.

      • 19
        September 21, 2011 - 12:20 | Permalink

        I don’t think the hatred for Love has much to do with his singing, though. It’s because of the lawsuits and his greedy addiction to holding the BB’s music hostage to the past. All that… and that he seems to be a major dick.

        • 20
          Visions of Neal
          September 21, 2011 - 13:22 | Permalink

          Agreed. The Wilson family (and the Love family cousins) were a major mess. At his death, Dennis Wilson was even married to Shawn Marie Love, Mike’s daughter. That makes Mike the father-in-law of his late cousin — a man who partied with Charles Manson. Those family reunions — tense!

        • 21
          Vaughn Abbott
          September 24, 2011 - 07:29 | Permalink

          To bad he’s dead ’cause Johnny Ramone and Mike Love could’ve made a great band: The Dickheads (yes, I’m sure the name’s been taken already)

          • 22
            Jerry Lee
            September 24, 2011 - 16:40 | Permalink

            If Johnny were still alive, he’d kick your sorry ass.

          • 23
            September 24, 2011 - 17:12 | Permalink

            … but not just because of the Mike Love comment.

  • 24
    September 21, 2011 - 05:05 | Permalink

    Thanks as always for this stuff. Apropos of both Carl and the comment immediately above, when I saw Brian’s first solo tour, in 1999, at the Moore Theater in Seattle, shortly after Carl’s death, a brief historical film was shown before the concert began. When Carl’s picture was displayed, there was a moving, warm round of applause.

    A minute or two later, when Mike Love’s picture was shown, there was a moving, warm round of boos!

    (By the way, why do you think that there will be no input from Van Dyke Parks into the booklet accompanying the new Smile Sessions box? How much do you wanna bet that Love(less) insisted Van Dyke not be involved at all if he were to consent to the release?)

  • 25
    September 21, 2011 - 06:57 | Permalink

    I love the 70′s BBs.

    About his solo work, I listened to his albums just once. That means a lot… I think.

    I’d like to make or get a Dennis Wilson compilation, with and without the BBs.

    Thanks Willard!

  • 26
    September 21, 2011 - 13:32 | Permalink

    BLW Like a Brother?

    • 27
      September 21, 2011 - 15:02 | Permalink

      Beckley/Lamm/Wilson @320 HERE

  • 28
    September 21, 2011 - 16:59 | Permalink

    Great job on this Willard — Carl WIlson was definitely one of the 70′s most underrated pop vocalist. He was overshadowed by his brother Brian, who ironically didn’t sing all that much in the 70′s! Anyhow, thanks for all your musicological work it…it’s really neato!

  • 29
    Uncle Fester's Colon
    September 21, 2011 - 22:33 | Permalink

    Fantastic entry, and some interesting discussion.

    I’ve always loved the Wilson brothers’ collective works. And such latter day gems (“Where I Belong” on 1985′s “The Beach Boys” album is some fantastic Carl stuff) tend to get ignored or dismissed too often.

    Thanks for the topic/shares/discussion.

    • 30
      September 21, 2011 - 23:38 | Permalink

      Yeah, that song provides a nice ending to the Promo. I used “It’s Gettin’ Late” from that album for the Comp. That 1985 Beach Boys album had a lot of good Carl on it. Thanks for commenting.

  • 31
    September 22, 2011 - 12:56 | Permalink

    He and his brothers sang ballads even I could listen too.

    • 32
      September 22, 2011 - 14:05 | Permalink

      You old softy.

  • 33
    September 22, 2011 - 15:07 | Permalink

    I saw the Beach Boys at a concert in the 80′s with Southern Pacific. I was more interested in Southern Pacific as it had two members of Creedence and one of the Doobie Brothers in the band…anyway, the Beach Boys blew me away, Carl in particular. His guitar playing really surprised me…he did quite a few leads and solos, and his singing was heavenly. Been looking for these for a while…thanks…this is fantastic! Carl is most definitely one of those unsung greats. He is missed. I know Mike Love is considered the front man, but there is no Beach Boys without at least ONE Wilson brother in the group, Carl in particular.

  • 34
    September 22, 2011 - 19:07 | Permalink

    The only good thing Mike Love ever did was deck Murry Wilson.

  • 35
    September 23, 2011 - 08:56 | Permalink

    Carl’s “Heaven” got a lot of radio play at the local station where I grew up. Easily one of the best BB related tracks post “Sunflower” in my opinion.

    • 36
      September 23, 2011 - 09:23 | Permalink

      It’s a gorgeous tune, and maybe the most Boys-ish of his solo work. You’re lucky, it never got any airplay in my neck of the woods.

  • 37
    Blank Frank
    September 23, 2011 - 12:59 | Permalink

    W, you always have something interesting to share. I’ve been listening to a lot of Carl and the BB’s recently. Thanks for this.

    • 38
      September 23, 2011 - 13:04 | Permalink

      HI Frank. Hope things are well over at the forum.

  • 39
    wylie prybar
    September 25, 2011 - 11:45 | Permalink

    Nice post, Willard! Glad you got hold of that Long Promised Road disc (which I still haven’t found in my collection, altho I think it’s there.
    One reason the 70s Beach Boys were such a successful live act (and the In Concert album was, mostly, so good) is, as you allude to, Carl’s resistance to the all oldie-hits contingent in and around the band. They were performing the best of the Holland/Wild Honey tracks, extraordinarily well, and never sounded better, live.
    You can hear the dizzying decline in a typical BBs show during that final stretch, when Mike Love takes over and throttles the early hits into bloody submission, on that In Concert set. I was lucky enough to see them on the tour that produced that album and they were killer.
    Glad, too, to see the love for Keeping the Summer Alive in the comments here. I’ve always considered that one of the neglected (albeit lesser) BB essentials. Weird how heavily Randy Bachman was involved with that album; apparently he and Carl were friends from shows the Guess Who and Beach Boys did together.
    Thanks for the spotlight on another incredible Wilson brother.

    • 40
      September 25, 2011 - 11:50 | Permalink

      Thanks Wylie… also for all your work on the Mott bonuses.

  • 41
    September 25, 2011 - 13:45 | Permalink

    Thanks for this, Willard. Man, I have to really re-evaluate what I thought I liked about the Beach Boys… everybody talks about Brian & Dennis, but man, “Cool Cool Water,” “All This Is That” and the sublime “Feel Flows” are three of my favorite ever songs by them. Had no idea those were Carl’s.

    • 42
      September 25, 2011 - 14:43 | Permalink

      “Cool Water” is really a Brian/Love tune, with Carl adding vocals, but the other two you mentioned are Carl creations. I notated the “written by” & “produced by” details on the post (for the CARL compilation) but didn’t include anything on the files themselves. Thanks for commenting.

  • 43
    September 28, 2011 - 05:01 | Permalink

    Great post, always liked Carls voice. There are a couple that have been missed, For Once In My Life’ from 15 Big Ones, The Night Was So Young from Loves You and I’ll Bet He’s Nice also from the same album which features all three brothers.
    Interesting that the Japanese compilation features She Believes in Love Again, written and sung by Bruce Johnston. Sail On Sailor has a lead vocal by Billy Hinche, Carls brother in law

    • 44
      September 28, 2011 - 08:44 | Permalink

      Many thanks.

  • 45
    Lou Bear
    October 21, 2011 - 17:53 | Permalink

    Thank you

  • 46
    May 4, 2012 - 17:54 | Permalink

    Most amazing praise for such a trove. I had the pleasure of having lunch with him once. Such a sweet guy.

  • 47
    May 8, 2012 - 12:48 | Permalink

    On the Beach Boys current 50th anniversary tour, the pre-show music includes a rare (to me) track of Carl Wilson singing the Zombies classic “Time of the Season” with Zombies vocalist Colin Blunstone – two of my all-time favorite male singers. Does anyone know where one can find this recording? I haven’t found it in searches of Carl’s solo work, Beach Boys, Blunstone solo, etc.

  • 48
    May 22, 2012 - 15:39 | Permalink

    Ditto on all comments about the Carl disks and the Carl-led BBs of the 70s. I think Carl and Bachman should have done more stuff together.
    Thanx for all these shares !!

  • 49
    September 22, 2012 - 23:35 | Permalink

    Thanks Cap’t for the ever going great work and giving us plebs the benefit of listening to such an eclectic mix of music

    Forever gratefull



  • 50
    August 14, 2013 - 09:42 | Permalink

    I’m totally with you on your feelings/opinions about Carl’s music and contributions to the BB’s during the Brother Records years, and your comp looks lovely…thanks for putting it together.

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