Carl and the Passions: So Tough (1972) Mar 15, 2019 15:14:52 GMT
Post by Kapitan on Mar 15, 2019 15:14:52 GMT
The Beach Boys have plenty of candidates for Most Overlooked Album, but Carl and the Passions: So Tough certainly warrants mention among them. They've also got plenty of candidates for Most Unusual Album, and it belongs among those as well.
Its story--being released with a Pet Sounds reissue--is one wrinkle, of course. But its construction is pretty strange, too: two Flame (more or less) songs, two Brian songs, two Dennis songs, and two multi-member (of the core band) co-written songs.
Handing a quarter of the songs to new band members whose sound was so different from the rest of the band and its history is a brave, but odd, choice. Personally I'm glad they did it. I don't actually like the Flame's music that much, but I do like both of these songs, especially "Hold On, Dear Brother." (The pedal steel solo is great.)
I'm also a really big fan of "Mess of Help." I think it actually should have been a hit, and consider it better than the more-often played rocker from the album, "Marcella." (Both are good to these ears, though.) And it has been great to see something of a resurgence (or a 'surgence,' if I may coin a term) for "All This is That": it was played at C50, for example, and seems based on my purely anecdotal observations that it is discussed by more fans in recent years.
The downside for me is probably predictable, mostly, being what seems to be the one non-fan of Dennis Wilson among hardcore fans of the band. "Cuddle Up" is so overlong, and "Make It Good" feels like it despite its shorter running time. His songs, particularly the ballads, just have so little movement, so little melody, so little harmony. They're just blunt blows by sugar-bats. (Bats made of sugar. You don't have sugar bats?) Then the sugar breaks or melts and gets all over you and you're sticky. Before this goes into a truly disgusting direction, I'll move on.
I'm not a fan of "He Come Down" either. I think this band's gospel attempts are pretty pale, pretty stiff.
Considering the number of unreleased songs the band had at this time, it's astounding to me they didn't flesh out the album with at least two more tunes. But the oddball of an album they actually did release is pretty good.