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

Cherished rockers die every day. Most just get a shrug of the shoulders from many 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 loved The Beach Boys and always admired Carl’s prime BB 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 his own 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 purely 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 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. We’ve got more Beach Boys in the archives, including The Smile Sessions box set (HERE), Instrumental Hits (HERE), The Big Beat 1963 (HERE), 1968’s Stack-O-Tracks (HERE), “Here Comes The Night” Disco 12″ (HERE) and Pet Sounds (a cappella) (HERE).

Carl+Wilson+-+Long+Promised+Road+-+CD+ALBUM-150916Long Promised Road (1999)
The Rare Promo-Only Tribute
A promo CD that was given away to attendees of the Carl Wilson Benefit Concert, held in LA in 1998 (though, it’s dated 1999). A few copies were also sold to benefit the American Cancer Society. The CD, which 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 (1998)
The Personal Compilation

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 (who 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)
The Solo Albums

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.”

CARL WILSON
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)

YOUNGBLOOD
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)

55 Comments

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

    Find it all HERE

    • 2
      Tony
      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
    JM
    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.

    • 4
      Willard
      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.

      • 5
        james
        June 8, 2014 - 07:41 | Permalink

        The Beach Boys very own ‘George Harrison’, in my opinion. All of us rate Carl’s vocals, obviously, but his writing and production (accepted the production is ‘of its time’) are meanderings from the mother-band’s trip (honking, no less) down the highway. ‘The load less travelled’, as you put it, Willard.

        Like Harrison, there’s a poetic nature to some of the lyrics, his guitar playing is measured, never fussy and under-rated, and at times he’s the glue that held bigger egos together.

        Even Dennis appears to have got a better press. Of course, ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ and ‘Bamboo’ are remarkable things in themselves, still revered, while Carl’s work probably reaps the same critical acclaim as Al Jardine’s ‘Postcard from California’.

        And like Harrison, it makes for some exceptionally interesting moments, both within and without the band in which they’d made their names.

        • 6
          Willard
          June 8, 2014 - 11:15 | Permalink

          Actually, Carl’s Beach Boys productions are spot on. Fun, inventive and still timely (if not as ambitious as brother Brian’s). It’s the production of his solo albums, by James William Guercio and Jeff Baxter (respectively), that are horribly time-dated. An unfortunate misstep for a talented guy. Thanks for the comments.

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

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

  • 11
    3410
    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
      Willard
      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
    miles
    September 20, 2011 - 22:06 | Permalink

    Willard…

    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
      Willard
      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
        Willard
        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
              Willard
              September 24, 2011 - 17:12 | Permalink

              … but not just because of the Mike Love comment.

    • 24
      james
      June 8, 2014 - 07:48 | Permalink

      Received wisdom is that Ringo was ‘the luckiest man alive’ to join THAT circus weeks before they took off like a rocket. Which is a bit unfair, he’s a terrific drummer and contributor to the body of work. Realistically, the title should go to Mike Love, who was fortunate to be able to hang out with three much more talented cousins who carried him (a few lead vocals on a couple of surfing and hot rod hits is hardly a great achievement) throughout. Mike Hate….the man who tried to scupper ‘Pet Sounds’ from happening, and who has spent the subsequent years talking up his own contribution to a high-water mark of pop music.

  • 25
    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?)

  • 26
    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!

  • 27
    Roskam
    September 21, 2011 - 13:32 | Permalink

    BLW Like a Brother?

    • 28
      Willard
      September 21, 2011 - 15:02 | Permalink

      .
      .
      .
      Beckley/Lamm/Wilson @320 HERE
      .
      .
      .

  • 29
    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!

  • 30
    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.

    • 31
      Willard
      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.

  • 32
    September 22, 2011 - 12:56 | Permalink

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

    • 33
      Willard
      September 22, 2011 - 14:05 | Permalink

      You old softy.

  • 34
    Dave
    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.

  • 35
    September 22, 2011 - 19:07 | Permalink

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

  • 36
    side3
    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.

    • 37
      Willard
      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.

  • 38
    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.

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

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

  • 41
    Leon
    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
      Willard
      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
    keef
    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
      Willard
      September 28, 2011 - 08:44 | Permalink

      Many thanks.

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

    Thank you

  • 46
    jn
    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
    Marcia
    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
    KDNYfm
    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 !!
    Al

  • 49
    Rhod
    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

    Regards

    Rhod

  • 50
    Supersonic75
    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.

  • 51
    Rhod
    June 7, 2014 - 22:25 | Permalink

    Thanks Willard for the chance to have a good listen to Carl Wilson an artist I have not focused on before.

    Regards

    Rhod

  • 52
    zappahead
    June 8, 2014 - 07:02 | Permalink

    Excellently put together compilation of most of Carls work…will enjoy listening to this…thanks Willard…cheers.

  • 53
    pjr
    June 8, 2014 - 21:08 | Permalink

    Hollands still my fav beach boys album.Didnt like the cover.Great post Thanks!

  • 54
    buzzbabyjesus
    June 9, 2014 - 09:39 | Permalink

    Some of my favorite Beach Boys music was when Carl and Dennis really stepped up after Brian retreated. You could make a similar Dennis comp.

  • 55
    Joe
    June 9, 2014 - 10:47 | Permalink

    Thanks so much!

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