Carl and The Passions – So Tough!

Carl & The Passions – So Tough!

The Beach Boys
Brother / Reprise
15 May 1972

Produced by The Beach Boys

Full credits on CD:
Produced by Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Alan Jardine, Ricky Fataar, Blondie Chaplin (Especially Carl).

UK LP 1972 Reprise, distributed by WEA

There is also a new 180 gram vinyl reissue from 2015.

CD version, 1991. Epic / Brother CD. Distributed by CBS
2 CD set Carl & The Passions / Holland, 2000 24 bit remaster. Brother / Capitol CD.
Rear jewel case insert
side oneside two
You Need A Mess of Help To Stand Alone
(B. Wilson / J. Rieley)
Hold On Dear Brother
(R. Fataar / B. Chaplin)
Here She Comes
(B. Chaplin / R. Fataar)
Make It Good
(D. Wilson / Daryl Dragon)
He Come Down
(A. Jardine / B. Wilson)
All This Is That
(A. Jardine / Mike Love / C.Wilson)
Marcella
(B. Wilson / J. Rieley)
Cuddle Up
(D. Wilson / Daryl Dragon)
Carl and The Passions – So Tough! The Beach Boys, Reprise UK LP, 1972

CHARTS:

UK albums: #25
US Billboard: #50

MUSICIANS

The Made in California 1962-2012 box set lists all the musicians who played on Beach Boys records. It covers two 12 x 12″ pages in tiny text, four columns a page. I counted half a column and guesstimated. I’d say 750 plus. There are various comments, e.g. that this one played bass on that track, then another comment by the one mentioned that he didn’t play on it at all.

INTRODUCTION

Books on The Beach Boys have very little on the album. Half a page generally does it.

A Reviled! Beach Boys album? You are spoiled for choice. Look at the ratings in the New Rolling Stone Record Guide from 1983:

The New Rolling Stone Album Guide 1983

Phew! Four one star albums and four two star albums. However, for me Sunflower would be easily four stars and is the subject of Feel Flows, a 2021 box set combined with Surf’s Up.

Holland would be four stars too. I love it. Rolling Stone was harsh on The Beach Boys to the point of being cloth-eared. Look at these ratings:

The New Rolling Stone Album Guide 1983

Ah, they give Pet Sounds, almost universally acclaimed as one of the greatest rock albums of all time four stars, not five. Then Surf’s Up a five star album for me, gets three.

I thought long and hard about choosing 15 Big Ones as an example of over-hyped at the time of its release. Then there’s M.I.U. and L.A. (Light Album), Keepin’ The Summer Alive, Still Cruisin’, That’s Why God Made The Radio , 50th Anniversary Tour. I’ve got them all.

Surfin’ USA (EP): The Beach Boys, Capitol UK

I really like The Beach Boys. I was an early adopter for the UK too. Friends shook their heads in disbelief when I bought 45s of Surfin’ Safari and Surfin’ USA. ‘Why do you want spotty teenagers doing Sweet Little Sixteen with different words?’ they said, ‘Stick to Chuck Berry, or at least The Rolling Stones. And look at those stupid striped shirts!’ Then at university, the guy in the next room had Pet Sounds which we played to death. At last The Beach Boys could cease being a guilty pleasure.

In the end, I chose Carl & The Passions- So Tough! because at least the main Beach Boys get their names on it, and it is sandwiched between two of my favourites, Surf’s Up before it, in 1971 and Holland afterwards in 1973. Both were products of Carl Wilson, rather than Brian.

I never bought it at the time (I bought the first CD issue)… I had just bought an open-reel tape recorder in 1972. I taped my friend’s copy and a while later he taped my Holland. I do know I chose to do it at 7.5 ips on the highest quality tape, reserved for better albums.

It comes at a point where Brian Wilson was at his lowest point with drugs and with mental illness. The Beach Boys were firmly in two factions. Mike Love and Al Jardine wanted to continue churning out major hits and touring their back catalogue. Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson were definitely into following up that SMiLE, Surf’s Up route. Both sides needed to persuade or cajole Brian to provide material, but Brian wasn’t doing it. Bruce Johnstone had just left. Johnston said he chose to leave, though Mike Love’s autobiography declares he was voted out by ‘The Wilsons,’ following posting a sign on the studio door, ‘No Wilsons Allowed.’

The Wilsons versus Love & Jardine is the defining theme in the story of The Beach Boys. Feuds within bands have an accepted goodie and an accepted baddie according to the fan base… John v Paul, Keef v Mick, Levon v Robbie, Ray v Dave. Here Brian v Mike. It will never be that simplistic. I always thought Mike Love was the baddie, but reading his autobiography, you see that he had a great deal to put up with from The Wilsons (as he calls them). Al Jardine later summed up the anti-Mike Love view.

Al Jardine:  Mike was very confused by (Pet Sounds). I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the change, but I grew to appreciate it as soon as we started to work on it. It wasn’t like anything we’d heard before it. I already had a lot of classical music in my household. I already had an appreciation for that … Mike’s a formula hound – i it doesn’t have a hook in it, if he can’t hear a hook in it, he doesn’t want to know about it.At the time there was some seriously good music that wasn’t getting heard because Capitol Records wouldn’t promote it. They couldn’t accept it. Nobody really accepted it. Capitol hated it. I know it. They wanted some hit records. We were a hit record machine and we stopped delivering those big hits. 
Goldmine interview by Ken Sharp, 28 July 2000

Mike Love was happy enough to be a Golden Oldies band. I saw them in 1991 when Carl Wilson was still alive. They looked aggressively uncool. Mike Love with cap over his bald head, bent double on a walking stick. Then there was shaggy bearded Carl Wilson towering over the tiny, tiny Al Jardine, who was totally dwarfed by his own guitar. The nadir was in California Girls when a bevy of bikini clad girls danced across the stage and later appeared as cheerleaders. Even in the early 90s that wasn’t a cool image. Al Jardine upset Mike Love by saying he thought their image was cheapened by the cheerleaders.

Carl Wilson was clearly “the talent” in that line up. I’ve seen Brian Wilson solo three times and his band were better than The Beach Boys.

Things were not happy. All the members talk about lack of communication. Carl and Dennis travelled together on tour. Mike Love and Al Jardine travelled together … this sort of separation is not at all uncommon with bands.

Mike Love: on tour we had a smoker’s jet, which was a euphemism for who was smoking hash and pot—and a non-smokers jet.  We were still a group but there was definitely a schism there. 
Rock Cellar interview 14 September 2013.

The non-smokers were Love, Jardine and Johnston. In November 1971, Dennis Wilson stalked out for a few days, missing gigs, announcing he was leaving (for the second time).

Ricky Fataar: It was a liquid situation: the conflict was really within the Wilson / Love family. You never knew where you stood, from one hour to the next. People shifted from one side to the other, and back again. There was always someone not talking to someone else in the band, and refusing to come to the studio because their enemy was there.
Quoted in Back To The Beach, edited by Kingsley Abbott, 1997

Early in 1972, Bruce Johnston decided to leave (or was pushed out) … and he really did. Brian Wilson was having serious drug issues. The brothers, Carl and Dennis were desperately trying to squeeze musical contributions from him. Mike and Al were trying to sell their Maharishi / Guru trip. (Though in 2019, Al Jardine said Surf’s Up was his all-time favourite Beach Boys song). They all needed … well, a mess of help.

Dennis Wilson had severely injured his arm and was unable to drum, though he could still sing backing vocals and play a little keyboards. That is, when he wasn’t missing gigs.

Mike Love: (Dennis’s) biggest problem wasn’t his lack of talent (of which he had plenty), but his lack of discipline. With his injured hand, he still showed up at Beach Boys concerts, and he would wander around the stage, play some keyboards, maybe sing a little, often under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Mike Love: Good Vibrations – My Life As A Beach Boy, 2016.

Al Jardine: (On Mike Love & Dennis Wilson): It was which testosterone meter was the highest. It just went on and on and on. Constant competition. When Mike talks about competition on stage I’m sure he’s referring to Dennis. They were just at it all the time. Those first cousins had quite a battle to fight all the way up until the end … Dennis would take the microphone with Mike up on stage and you can imagine the competition that goes on there. Oh God, and he began to sing some great songs … (Dennis) was competition for the frontman. Dennis would infuriate Mike by simply standing up.
Interview by Ken Sharp, Goldmine, 28 July 2000

The arm injury throws up the issue of rock history as reported by participant observers. Mike Love says Dennis put his arm through a plate glass window. Al Jardine says it was a thrown Sparkletts bottle that broke. Other sources agree it was a chain saw. A Dennis Wilson interview from 1976 explained how he severely cut his foot tendon dropping a Sparkletts bottle on it (which may be what Jardine was thinking of). The guy was accident prone.

So to the album. They needed new blood, what with Dennis shedding so much of it. Carl Wilson, (or Manager Jack Rieley, but probably Carl), came up with a surprising plan. Brother Records, the Beach Boys label, had signed South African group The Flame. Their album, The Flame had been produced by Carl Wilson. The band centred around the three Fataar brothers.

The plan was to recruit two of The Flame, not as sidemen, but as full members of The Beach Boys. The two were Blondie Chaplin on guitar and vocals, and Ricky Fataar on drums and vocals.

Mike Love: Formerly living under apartheid, they integrated The Beach Boys, bringing us greater diversity in race and sound.
Mike Love: Good Vibrations – My Life As A Beach Boy, 2016.

The Beach Boys were extremely popular in South Africa. A South African friend introduced me to The Flame. He had been a musician in South Africa. I remember asking whether Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar would know the Beach Boys repertoire, and he said any South African musician who wanted to eat could play anything The Beach Boys had ever had a hit with. Blondie Chaplin’s later career included working with Rick Danko and Paul Butterfield, then The Band in the 1980s and then The Rolling Stones. He has toured with Brian Wilsin and Al Jardine in recent years. Ricky Fataar was in The Rutles and worked extensively with Bonnie Raitt and Boz Scaggs. Most importantly, they both toured with Brian Wilson and Friends in 2016.

It seems odd that Chaplin and Fataar were regarded as full Beach Boys, but their musical director on tour from 1969-1972, Daryl Dragon (see below), was kept at mere sideman status. I suspect this is because he was seen as a Dennis ally, and Dennis was not popular.

Carl & The Passions release

It was said at the time that this was the name of Carl Wilson’s first group. Carl later denied that, though Carl was undeniably the driving force through the trio of early 70s albums … Surf’s Up, Carl & The Passions, Holland. Other sources say there were three pre-Beach Boys groups: Kenny & The Cadets, Carl & The Passions and The Pendletones.

Al Jardine: Carl really came into his own. We had to pick up the slack and he was the most able of all of us to do that. Most of those albums that you mention were spearheaded by Carl leading the charge. Carl was a great musician and had all that talent. He was the whole package, real easy to work with. Never tried to impose himself on anyone and was always open to everybody’s suggestions.
Rock Cellar, 14 September 2013

The album combines the end of Surf’s Up with a weird period when they were already deciding to move to Holland on the advice of their manager, Jack Rieley. They had been on an exploratory visit mid-way through recording. Bruce Johnstone was on early sessions before departing.

Gatefold of US copy of Carl & The Passions / Pet Sounds 2 LP set

Reprise were not happy with the album, and proposed releasing it with a version of SMiLE as a double set. Brian Wilson nixed that … he did not want the label’s idea of SMiLE released. So instead, in the USA, it was packaged in a gatefold sleeve as a double with Pet Sounds. Two issues arise … fans who own Pet Sounds wonder why they’re expected to buy it again, even if the price is budget. Then, as reviewers pointed out, it led to direct comparison between the two albums, and Carl and The Passions was not up to the quality of Pet Sounds. (But what is?)

What The Critics Said

I think the album was ignored or skipped rather than truly reviled. Everyone latched onto Marcella as the best track (it is) and ignored the rest. Stephen Davis in Rolling Stone was the honourable exception and he reviewed the whole album. I will be quoting him throughout on tracks.

So Tough’s insurmountable problem is that only four of the eight cuts fall into the subtly specialized class of “acceptable” Beach Boys. It was at least honest to call the band Carl and The Passions. Because the difference is Brian, and the difference hurts.
Stephen Davis, Rolling Stone 22 June 1972

They can’t have much faith in the new one if they’re loss-leading with an old one (the one that turned them into a cult band – now finally – how did we stand the wait? – in its original form of pristine mono. And indeed there’s no reason they should. Despite the title, it’s not some sort of primitive surf doo-wop – sounds a lot like Friends and Holland to me. Fairly pleasant, but even the highlights aren’t all that hot: a nice Brian Wilson oeuvre called Marcella (sounds like Smiley Smile) and a silly gospel song for the Maharishi. C+
Robert Christgau, Christgau’s Guide to Albums of the 70s.

This LP serves the purpose of presenting the best of Beach Beach Phase One and Two. Pet Sounds, half of this two-album set, is a re-release of the classic financial failure of several years back. Here the Boys wail and shoop with the best of taste, while on Carl and the Passions-So Tough they take a different course. So Tough finds some excellent music with no trace of anything left over from the Pet Sounds days. I coulda sworn “Hold On Dear Brother” was The Band.
Cameron Crowe, San Diego Door, 22 June 1972

Fairly pleasant, even if the highlights aren’t that hot.
The Village Voice, June 1972

Probably the least successful of The Beach Boys’ albums.
New Musical Express

one star.
(an overview of the early 70s albums) By now Mike Love had become the lead singer, and with age, his nasality lost its charm. Brian Wilson was wiped out- he barely makes his presence felt.Each of the last two (Holland, Carl & The Passions) contains a class effort, Sail on Sailor and Marcella respectively.
Dave Marsh, New Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1982

two stars
Carl and The Passions – So Tough! is weaker. Two stand out cuts, You Need A Mess of Help and Marcella.
(The New) Rolling Stone Album Guide, 2004

A frustratingly incomplete album with the group struggling to find a post-Brian Identity.
Vintage Rock, Beach Boys 60th Anniversary Special Edition, July 2021

AND THE POSITIVE… from SIR ELTON JOHN

Elton John: This is an album which I have loved for a long time. It is perhaps the “loosest” of all The Beach Boys albums in that it has more of a band feel than the others. It contains one of my favourite all time Beach Boys tracks Marcella and another, He Come Down. The traditional harmonies are still there but they’re “drier” and more ambient. Carl Wilson’s hand is much in evidence here as in his voice and the addition of Ricky Fataar, who is a superb drummer, enhances the live feeling that pervades the songs. I am a huge fan of The Beach Boys. They have been and still are a major influence on my writing. This album is a step away from Pet Sounds, but still has moments of breathtaking genius and experimentation. When this record was released, I remember how different and fresh it sounded. It still does. 
Elton John, CD reissue liner notes 2000

What The Beach Boys said

Brian Wilson After eight months and more than $500,000 in expenses, The Beach Boys had finally returned from Holland, having left behind our manager, Jack Rieley, the brains behind the Holland debacle, who wanted to oversee the group from there. The record company thought we should have left the album (Holland) over there too. Warner Bros took one listen and rejected Holland for not having a single. They they debated dropping the band from the label altogether, feeling burned that this album was no better than the previous LP, Carl and The Passions – So Tough, a flop I had no part of. They didn’t need two bombs.
Brian Wilson with Todd Gold, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, My Own Story 1992.

Bruce Johnston: To sum up the album, I don’t think it’s as good as Surf’s Up, and I don’t think it matches anything that Sunflower did … I would like to see more Brian Wilson involvement with the Beach Boys. I spoke to Brian a couple of weeks ago and he told me that he really didn’t have too much to do with this album. … I don’t hear his voice very much on this album.
Guest reviewer in New Musical Express 11 May 1972

Carl Wilson: Carl & The Passions – So Tough! was a scattered project. We were all really under an extreme amount of pressure. The group kind of got distant, just for a little while there. with each other. And then it passed and we all started talking.
Made in California, 6 CD Box Set

Mike Love: (Brian) was there with You Need A Mess of Help and Marcella to help with the vocal harmonies. The recordings were very spontaneous. Some were done in late 1971. We branched out and did types of songs we hadn’t done in the past … gospel, some with the sound of a choir, and a couple from Ricky and Blondie that have a rock feel. When Carl writes he has a Brianesque feel, but before Carl began writing the overwhelming force was Brian … and Brian moved on and lost interest in the mechanical aspect of things.
Melody Maker interview, quoted by Keith Badman,2004

Mike Love: Carl and The Passions was a disjointed rush job, hastily assembled between live gigs, that even Carl admitted was weak overall. We included two quirky Brian rocker songs (produced by Carl), two Blondie and Ricky tunes that didn’t sound like The Beach Boys at all, two solemn Dennis songs with full symphony orchestra tracks and two TM-themed songs by Al and me, with some help from Carl. More than anything the album emphasized how confused we were about our own brand.
Mike Love: Good Vibrations – My Life As A Beach Boy, 2016

Blondie Chaplin: We recorded some of the tracks in the studio at Brian’s home, but mostly he was up in his bedroom while we were working downstairs. He would come down occasionally and work with us, but most of the time we were down there and he was up there … I wasn’t about to go up and say hello. When he did come down his contribution was amazing.

Ricky Fataar: It was just all done very piecemeal. Someone would be cutting a track at Village Recorders, and somebody else would be recording at Sunset … It was an ‘inbetwen touring’ kind of album. We kept changing studios all the time. Perhaps that’s why it sounds so bad. If Carl had mixed it, it would have been really good. But it ended up really terrible.
Interview with Sylvie Simmons, both quoted in The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary, Keith Badman, 2004

Side one

Carl & The Passios- So Tough! US release (in a set with Pet Sounds). Brother logo before Reprise
UK release on Reprise. No Brother logo.

You Need A Mess of Help To Stand Alone

by Brian Wilson & Jack Rieley
The first single from the album.
The original title was Beatrice from Baltimore.

Released as a single b/w Cuddle Up, 15 May 1972. It did not chart in the UK or USA.

You Need A Mess of Hemp To Stand Alone: The Beach Boys, Reprise 45, UK, 1972

Prominent piano for a band not known for its keyboard sound.

Bruce Johnston: I didn’t play on it, but I watched Brian make the track. I’m disappointed at the vocal. I didn’t think there was much energy or unique arrangements put into the background vocals, and I don’t like Carl’s lead. It sounds a little forced and it’s a double lead, which didn’t sound right to me.
Interview with New Musical Express, quoted by Keith Badman, 2004

Carl showed he could swallow sandpaper just as well as his brothers, and his uncharacteristically raw vocal is a perfect match for Brian’s loose, shouted harmony and the propulsive drumming of Ricky Fataar. Throw in an inventive combination of tack piano (near and far), banjo, slide guitar, fiddle, some oddball high-pitched tremelo sound (like a meeting between Brian and a ring modulator), plus the clincher: a trademark doo-wop vocal breakdown. A hit single? Nope.
Scott McCaughey, 2000 reissue, liner notes

Dave Hill of Slade: The Beach Boys. I love their music. Surf’s Up was their best album. Is this their new album? It’s very typical of Surf’s Up. It’s like a continuation of that album. Virtually everything The Beach Boys do is good. I think they are more a recording group than a live act. Their numbers seem too difficult to perform live.
Melody Maker “Blind reviews” 24 June 1972

Why it was released as a single instead of the bejewelled Marcella, to which it can’t hold the proverbial candle, is known only to some incompetent loon in Burbank.
Stephen Davis, Rolling Stone 22 June 1972

You Need A Mess of Help To Stand Alone / Cuddle Up: The Beach Boys. Reprise 45 Germany / Netherlands 1972

I agree that Marcella was the screamingly obvious single, not this. It didn’t feature much on live shows which should have been its natural home.

It also appears on:
The Good Vibrations 4 CD Box set 1991 (previously unreleased version)

Here She Comes
By Ricky Fataar & Blondie Chaplin

The two Chaplin / Fataar tunes are derivative and boring. Here She Comes sounds like Traffic.
Stephen Davis, Rolling Stone, 22 June 1972

(IT) is hampered by a puzzling mix that puts Fataar’s admittedly stellar drums so upfront as to occasionally overwhelm the vocal of compatriot Blondie Chaplin. It’s also a curious choice as second song on the album, as it really sounds nothing like The Beach Boys, and contributions to the recording by other band members are not readily available.
Scott McCaughey, CD reissue liner notes, 2000

Piano and organ feature strongly, which is why this also nodded its head to The Band or Traffic, though a further comparison that no one spotted is the second pre-fame Supertramp album, Indelibly Stamped.

What’s not to like? Burbling bass intro. Piano and organ join in. Very nice guitar solo from Blondie. Ricky Fataar is an outstanding drummer. I don’t think anyone would knock it if it had been put out as The Flame.

He Come Down

by Al Jardine and Brian Wilson

Ah, gospel. But for meditators.

People have you heard of the world plan
To know the inner nature of every man
Jesus came down to save the world from sin
Sayin’ ‘seek ye first the kingdom within’
Maharishi teaches us to meditate
To dive deep within come out and radiate
All of the saints through all creation
Sing the same song of revelation

The Two Jardine / Love numbers, whose authors comprise the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi cadre within The Beach Boys continue along the forward-looking sincere lines of their work on Surf’s Up. He is Come (sic) arranged by Brian (sic) is a gospel flavoured celebration of Maharishi consciousness (to each his own, I admit) and is pretty neat for its tight six voice choral singing and the crackling energy of the vocal jamming on repeated choruses at the end.
Stephen Davis, Rolling Stone, 22 July 1972

Spot on, apart from the two slight factual errors: the title plus Carl produced it.

Piano leads again. Never mind the (dreadful) lyric, the song sounds great and is extremely catchy. We note that Brian always brought in lyricists for his music. The end unaccompanied ‘Yes, I believe!’ is an anthem and during that section sounds like Queen, just a good few years earlier.

Marcella
by Brian Wilson / Jack Reiley

It’s one of two tracks on the 6 CD box set Made in California. That has a different credit line:
Brian Wilson / Tandyn Almer / Jack Rieley
It adds:
Produced by Carl Wilson
Lead vocal: Carl & Mike

Marcella: The Beach Boys. 45, Canada Brother-Reprise, 1972

The second single from the album in the USA, Canada, Netherlands and Germany. It’s surprising that a UK single wasn’t issued, given that the album had done reasonably well in Britain.

The added writer, Tandyn Almer, wrote Along Comes Mary for The Association. He was working with Brian Wilson from 1970, but relations broke down over two allegations: First that Almer had stolen recording equipment from Brian’s studio, and second that he’d had an affair with Brian’s wife, Marilyn. That would explain no initial credit on the album, but we can assume it was discussed and amended at a later date.

Both instantly recognizable and surprise ingredients include a tremendous lead vocal and fuzz guitar from Carl, intricate back-ups, words chosen more for sound and feel than “relevance” (Rieley typically at this time would inject weightier lyrics in a campaign to dispel the group’s unhip image – to his credit, it seemed to work), the crazy strummed zither, echoed slide guitar from Fataar, sleighbells keeping time in the extended outro and fade. Indeed, Carl’s brilliance as Brian’s successor in overseeing the group’s studio work is gloriously proven again here.
Scott McCaughey, CD reissue liner notes, 2000

The high point of the album, which became a concert staple for both The Beach Boys and for Brian Wilson and Friends. There’s a straight line from Surf’s Up to Marcella. In a perfect world, or given a time machine, I would go back and eradicate Student Demonstration Time (the flaw in one of my Desert Island ten albums) and replace it with Marcella. This is full-on Beach Boys at their finest.

This was recorded in Brian Wilson’s home studio on 17 February 1972, and Bruce Johnstone featured on it before he left The Beach Boys.

Brian Wilson: It represents one of the first times we tried to emulate The Rolling Stones. In my mind, it was dedicated to the Stones, but I never told them that. It’s one of the rockingest songs I ever wrote.
CD notes: Classics Selected by Brian Wilson, 2000

Jack Reiley: About that time Brian began talking in detail about a massage parlour in West Hollywood and one of the girls who worked there. At first he spoke only of going there for massages. Some days later he began going on and on about the masseuse who he said was turning him on.… The only thing I could think of to quell Brian’s fixation was to channel it. Thus it was I who suggested Marcella as the title for a tune Brian had been working on. With my promise to write the Marcella lyric, he jumped into the project with immense enthusiasm. Brian, Carl, (Steve) Desper and I worked hard on that record. Dennis helped too. The zither was a cool idea but it was mixed poorly. My lyric was minor… efficient at best.
Online at Smiley-Smile

So …

Mystic maiden’s more than soft and sexy
She can mess my mind with the stuff that she knows
Her new found beauty goes beyond her covering
And sets a flame in her soul

The instrumental break is as Beatlesque (Abbey Road era) as you can get.

Marcella appears on:

Ten Years of Harmony, 2 CD set 1981
The Good Vibrations 4 CD Box Set, 1991.
The Best of The Beach Boys 1970-1986: The Brother Years (Capitol, 2000)
Made in California 6 CD box set, 2013
The Beach Boys Live: The 50th Anniversary Tour, (Capitol 2013)
Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, Live 2004
Brian Wilson & Friends Live, CD / DVD set 2016 (with Chaplin & Fataar)

US version
UK release

Side two

Hold On Dear Brother
by Blondie Chaplin & Ricky Fataar

Blondie Chaplin- lead vocal,
Red Rhodes – steel guitar

Three reviews picked up a reference to The Band. Blondie Chaplin was later a member of The Band for a short time in the mid-80s and there are live tapes of The Band performing Sail on Sailor with him. First comment from the man who was Levon Helm’s collaborator / ghost writer on This Wheel’s On Fire, Stephen Davis:

Hold On Brother sounds like The Band with pedal steel guitar. Execrable.
Stephen Davis, Rolling Stone 22 June 1972

I agree that Ricky Fataar is thinking Levon Helm in the drum part, and the rather ponderous melody and the bass and piano part has a Band tinge. The pedal steel is incongruous. I don’t think it’s anywhere near as bad as Davis suggests, and The Band were massively influential around then. The vocal goes into registers that Richard Manuel would have made a better job of, but I’m sure he was on their mind. The main thing is that it sounds nothing like The Beach Boys and it’s odd that the new boys were given the space.

It was the B-side of Marcella in the USA and Germany and on the German picture sleeve, Chaplin and Fataar got to do the car on a beach pose as the Beach Boys.

Marcella / Hold On Dear Brother: The Beach Boys, German 45, Reprise 1972

Make It Good
by Dennis Wilson & Daryl Dragon

Daryl Dragon is his real name, and he was The Captain in The Captain & Tennille. He played keyboards with The Beach Boys on tour from 1969 to 1972. Mike Love used to call him ‘Captain Keyboards’ and it stuck. He is known to have arranged and orchestrated at least both these tracks on Carl And The Passions, as well as arranging Don’t Go Near The Water on Surf’s Up. He was musical arranger for The Beach Boys on tour and formed Captain & Tennille with his wife, Toni Tennille, in 1972, after this album. Toni Tennille later toured with The Beach Boys on keyboards too.

Dennis Wilson’s two songs are both delivered in an irritating nervous tremelo which isn’t at all helped by Brian’s (sic) big-toned symphonic accompaniment to his troubled brother’s heavy-handed lyrics and rudimentary piano playing. The more trite and tortured the lyrics, the louder the strings become, until both Make It Good and Cuddle Up are swallowed in a lugubrious Mahleresque crescendo.
Stephen Davis, Rolling Stone, 22 June 1972

That was written in 1972. We now now that Daryl Dragon did the arrangements, and Carl Wilson did the production. Brian is not guilty.

This is the shortest song on the album. This is positive. The tremelo is nervous. It’s overblown and over-orchestrated and portentous symphonic prog.

All This Is That
By Al Jardine, Mike Love and Carl Wilson
The other track on Made in California, the 6 CD box set
It adds:
Produced by Al Jardine and Carl Wilson
Lead vocal: Al, Carl & Mike

According to Keith Badman’s The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary it’s based on Robert Frost’s poem The road Not Taken. I can’t see much similarity apart from a couple of lines, so maybe ‘vaguely inspired by’ fits better. On the online lyric site someone posted:

It’s about some of the values of HInduism. This is that in sanskrit is “Tat tvam asi” which is from the Upanishads (an important text of vedic Hinduism).

All This Is That:
Two waves and I. Both Travel By
And that makes all the difference to me

The Road Not Taken:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I think Robert Frost said it better. But then he didn’t have the hypnotic melody line to carry it.

And Jai Guru Dev is ‘praise the divine guru.’

(It) was arranged by Carl (whose own songs are sorely missed on this album) … All This Is That with its light harmonies and pretty rhythmic vocals is reminiscent of Cool Water from Sunflower, and it’s a delight, one of the pleasures of this record.
Stephen Davis, Rolling Stone, 22 June 1972

Mike Love: All This That is one of my favourite Beach Boys songs. The performing of it is mystical because it’s from the Vedas. It has a pulse and makes a real impact.
Record Collector #521, August 2001

I came up with the music, but Mike would love to interject words of wisdom on thse kinds of things – those magnificent statements were because we were students of Transcendental Meditation,” Al Jardine recalls. With Carl hitting an ethereal high note on the fade, the song reveals how open each member was to contributions from the others. “Oh, my god. I gave him a writer’s credit just for doing that,” Al says, “That’s the best part of the song.”
Record Collector #521, August 2001

True. It’s lovely. An essential 70s Beach Boys song. It has that persistent piano track. I always thought Marcella was the centrepiece. I’m no longer sure.

They played it on their 1993 ‘Unplugged’ tour.

Al Jardine: I just thought, why not do an “Unplugged” tour and hear the vocals for a change, just primarily the singing? It really worked well. We wanted to play some of our lesser heard but artistic songs like “All This is That.” It seemed like a lot of big bands were unplugging at that time so we just had a fun time doing it. We rehearsed up in my barn in Big Sur and it was a fun time.
Rock Cellar, 14 September 2013

They then chose it for their 50th Anniversary Tour, in a livelier version. It’s still outstanding.

It also appears on:
The Good Vibrations 4 CD Box Set 1991
The Beach Boys Live: 50th Anniversary Tour, 2013, where Al Jardine sang lead.

Cuddle up
By Dennis Wilson and Daryl Dragon

Cuddle Up: B-side of You Need A Mess of Help To Stand Alone,
Reprise UK 45, May 1972

No wonder that Sir Elton liked the album, as on this song the initial piano sounds like him, and the lead vocal like third-rate cod-70s soft soul. It is wildly, nay, pretentiously, over-orchestrated. It sounds pretty good for the first couple of minutes, then you realize it’s trite and cliched.

Dragon transcribes Dennis’ melodic ideas into a classical arrangement of pianos and orchestra, this time adding a Beach Boys choir, making Cuddle Up seem slightly less of an anomaly than Make It Good, and in fact the band did occasionally perform this song live in the early ‘70s. This is a perfect album closer. 
Scott McCaughey, CD liner notes 2000

Dennis may have been the original surf catalyst, but in spite of Pacific Ocean Blue was nowhere near as musically talented as his siblings, plus we have the whole Charles Manson connection that prejudices me strongly against anything he did.

I never liked either of the Dennis Wilson songs. As I’ve listened to the album so much the last few days, Cuddle Up is beginning to stick with me strongly. But so does toothache from too much sugar.

Overall

An album for the download age, grab Marcella and All This Is That and lose the rest? Certainly there’s not enough Brian and not enough Carl on there.

The trouble with our download / streaming age is no one listens through albums anymore. The more you play this one in its entirety the better it gets. Yes, it’s not as good as the two albums bookending it chronologically, but it’s much better than a lot of what was to come.

I like the two Blondie Chaplin / Ricky Fataar tracks, so they don’t sound like The Beach Boys, but it’s variety.

Marcella, All This is That and He Come Down are worthy of any Beach Boys album. A Mess of Help rocks along.

A fault (I’m sure Mike Love would agree) is that eight long 4-5 minute tracks is pushing it for their style. Shorter versions and a couple more for me.

THE REVILED ALBUMS ARE (so far) …

Beatles For Sale – The Beatles
Their Satanic Majesties Request … The Rolling Stones
Electric Mud– Muddy Waters
Self Portrait – Bob Dylan
Byrdmaniax – The Byrds
Cahoots – The Band
Carl and The Passions- So Tough! – The Beach Boys
Wild Life – Wings
Recall The Beginning: A Journey From Eden … The Steve Miller Band
Hard Nose The Highway … Van Morrison
Chicago III … Chicago
Berlin– Lou Reed
Pinups – David Bowie
Born Again – Randy Newman
Mingus – Joni Mitchell
Everybody’s Rockin’ – Neil Young
American Dream – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

And here’s a rule-breaker. I’d decided one album each, but Van Morrison got so much vituperation from critics (unjustly) in 2021, that I had to add it:

Latest Record Project Volume1… Van Morrison

This list will grow steadily

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