Big Noise served as project and marketing consultants for the release of Dennis Wilson's remastered masterpiece, 'Pacific Ocean Blue.'
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The Beach Boy's Dennis Wilson's 1977 solo album 'Pacific Ocean Blue,' long out of print and oft-bootlegged, finally resurfaces officially courtesy of Caribou/Epic/Legacy as an expanded 30th anniversary set. The double-CD 'Pacific Ocean
Blue: Legacy Edition' has arrived in stores, while a triple-gatefold vinyl edition of the LP has been released on the Sundazed label.
'Everything that I am or will ever be is in the
music. If you want to know me, just listen.' - Dennis
Much is made of his older brother Brian's tortured
genius, but Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson had his own
deeply artistic statement to make - one he made with moody,
heartrending beauty and fathomless, soulful introspection
on his 1977 masterpiece, 'Pacific Ocean Blue.'
Besides being the first solo album by a member of the Beach Boys,
'Pacific Ocean Blue' is a lost classic of '70s West Coast rock, a richly
orchestrated opus that swaths the singer-songwriterís delicate and
profoundly personal observations in epic, wide-screen arrangements that
easily match the drama of the celluloid blockbusters made in his
Hollywood back yard.
Awash in studio strings and layered, breathy melodies, the
piano-sprinkled balladry of tracks like "Thoughts of You" and "End of
the Show" offer glimpses of a more tender, wounded, and
never-before-seen side of this most famously free-spirited Beach Boys
member; while such ecology-themed meditations as "River Song" (which
boasts flashes of hard rock) and the title cut reflect other topics
close to the drummer's heart.
But despite the album's more serious subject matter, the Beach Boys'
good-time pop is still firmly on deck with the horn-pumping R&B of
"What's Wrong" and the sunshine lilt of "Rainbows."
No wonder Brian Wilson himself
is one of 'Pacific Ocean Blue's' biggest fans. Sundazedís
stunning three-LP edition of this unheralded landmark comes
in a lavishly illustrated triple-gatefold sleeve housing
a newly mastered version of the original album along with
two additional LPs containing Dennis Wilsonís absolute finest
unreleased solo work, including the fascinating material
he recorded for 'Pacific Ocean Blue's' intended follow-up,
'Bambu' - all pressed on gorgeous, high-definition, 'Pacific
Ocean blue' vinyl.
A cult classic that's truly worthy of this sumptuous and
magnificent-sounding package, this is one wave no Beach Boys fan will
want to miss.
Fans who have clamored for a
proper release of this storied material will delight in
this moment, while newcomers will be thrilled to discover
the musical treasure hidden within one of rockís true cult
classics. This is Dennis Wilson sailing out into historic
territory - as daring and wild as the sea, itself - and
carving his name in the clouds for all eternity.
A note from Reissue Producer Rob Santos:
In September of 1977, Dennis Wilson released what
is still today, in my opinion, the best solo album ever
released by a Beach Boy called 'Pacific Ocean Blue.' After
its initial release, the record was cut out in 1979, and
while it appeared briefly on CD for a few months in 1991,
it's been out of print ever since (when The Beach Boys'
Caribou Records deal with the Epic label ran out). Years
later, with the rise of eBay and the ubiquity of CD bootlegs,
the album attained a second lifetime among fans, many of
them young indie rockers who subsequently namechecked the
album in interviews as an influence.
Through the years I've had the pleasure of working on hundreds of albums that I love, but as a Beach Boys fan the one that I've always wanted to see reissued was 'Pacific Ocean Blue.' If you're familiar with the record then you know what Iím talking about; if you haven't heard it it's like discovering a buried treasure. If you're already a fan of this album then you've heard the stories of why it's been out of print - it's been tied up in litigation, labels fighting each other as to who owns the rights, the tapes were lost, the Beach Boys don't want it out, label head Jim Guercio doesn't want it out - none of which were true!
That's not to say it's been easy getting to this stage, but that's another story. The good news is yes, it's finally released a little over 30 years after its original issue.
The best news of all is that it has 20 previously unreleased tracks including several songs that have never even been bootlegged, like Dennis' version of "Only With You" (originally recorded by the Beach Boys for 'Holland'), and "Tug Of Love" (yanked off of the original album at the last minute in favor of "Farewell My Friend"), all newly mixed by John Hanlon, who recorded many of the original sessions. And of course, the reissue includes Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters' amazing version of "Holy Man."
The first disc of our Legacy
Edition is the original album along with 4 bonus tracks,
newly remastered by Vic Anesini from the 1st generation
master tapes, which for whatever reason were not used for
the '91 CD. Disc Two is a godsend to Dennis Wilson and Beach
Boys devotees around the world. 'Bambu (The Caribou Sessions)',
is a roundup of various tracks that Dennis recorded during
his term as a solo artist for Jim Guercio's Caribou Records.
'Bambu' was to be the follow-up album to 'Pacific Ocean
Blue,' but was never completed. One point I want to make
about the unreleased recordings is that we're not saying
this is what Dennis intended to be the finished 'Bambu'
albu,m but a compilation of the best tracks he recorded
during the POB/Bambu/Caribou period. The truth of the matter
is that Dennis recorded constantly during this period and
tracks that have been labeled as 'Bambu' tracks over the
years were started before and during 'Pacific Ocean Blue'
sessions. Who knows for sure what would have ended up on
the final album, but we do have the roadmap for where he
While the majority of the songs here were never
finished, Dennis' ambition to make this record more stylistically
diverse than its predecessor is still evident. Check out
the southern horns and lap steel on the instrumental "New
Orleans", or the funky percussion on "Companion." Yet, much
like 'Pacific Ocean Blue,' this is an aural record of a
man losing his grip and falling apart - which is, oddly,
what makes it so appealing. We'll save all of the details
for the liner notes, but the bottom line is if you're a
fan, you won't be disappointed. If you're not familiar with
anything I'm yapping about, then prepare to become a fan
of a great lost classic album by a grossly underrated artist
that hopefully will be rediscovered by a whole new audience.
Clearly collectors have reason to cheer at the news of this Legacy release. While the material on both albums can easily be found on the web as illicit downloads, to have all of the songs collected together under one roof, remastered at that, is like getting Beach Boys manna from heaven.
Voluminous liner notes include notably Beach Boys scholar David Leaf, author of the Brian Wilson biography Beach Boys and the California Myth (1978), and the follow-up, Beach Boys: Spirit of America (1985), and also a key participant in numerous reissues including the 'Good Vibrations: Thirty Years Of the Beach Boys' (1993) and 'The Pet Sounds Sessions' (1997) box sets. Additional essays will feature by Jon Stebbins (author of Dennis Wilson: The Real Beach Boy), journalist Ben Edmonds and David Beard (editor of the Beach Boys fanzine, Endless Summer Quarterly).
The set's full-color booklet include extensive discographic information and memorabilia. Among these are the images taken for the original LP package by photographer and lifelong friend Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean), thought for decades to be lost, but later uncovered in the Sony Music archives.
One other thing before you send
me emails frying my behind for not including your favorite
Dennis track (how could you leave off "Denny's Drums?"),
keep in mind that the purpose of this set was to focus on
a specific period of Dennis' recordings and not present
a full career retrospective. Hopefully this release will
be successful enough that weíll get to see a proper Dennis
anthology in the future. That set would of course include
"Lady," "Sound of Free," "Forever," "Little Bird," "Be With
Me," "San Miguel," "Cuddle Up," "Be Still," "Slip On Through,"
and so many more on 2 CDs at least. Last thing I want to
say, in addition to Dennis, none of this would have happened
without Jim Guercio. As I like to say, he made it happen
then and he made it happen again now. Jim really believed
in Dennis as a talent in his own right outside of the shadow
of his brothers and The Beach Boys. At a time when it probably
seemed like a dumb idea to give a boatload of your own money
to Dennis Wilson to make a record, Jim did and it ended
up being better than even the most loyal fan could have
When we first spoke over a year ago, Jim put together a team (Don Williams, John Hanlon and Gregg Jakobson) to work with us to ensure that this time a reissue of 'Pacific Ocean Blue' became a reality. There are many more folks to thank, all mentioned in the CD, but As Dennis said in the notes to his own album, 'Thank You Jimmy G.'
Rolling Stone Review
Pacific Ocean Blue
by Billy Altman
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Although Dennis Wilson never wrote many of the Beach Boys' songs, his
few compositions over the years have been consistently memorable. Prior
to this solo debut (the first by any of the five original Beach Boys),
he was most noticeable on 'Sunflower,' where he just about stole the show
with such standouts as "Forever," "Slip On Through" and "Got to Know the
Woman." Still, 'Sunflower' came out seven years ago, leaving one with
guarded feelings about what a Dennis Wilson solo album would sound like.
The news, as delivered by 'Pacific Ocean Blue,' is more than just good.
This is a truly wonderful and touching album, a cinematic meditation on loss.
Wilson's style, both in terms of singing and songwriting, is unique. His
voice somehow manages to be both rough and fragile at the same time,
making his vocals strangely powerful and moving. As a songwriter, his
strong suit is the ballad, and though the tunes are often little more
than fragments, they have a way of taking hold of your emotions.
"Farewell My Friend" and "Thoughts of You" demonstrate the intensity of
Wilson's songs, although both avoid the verse/chorus/bridge structure of
most pop songs. And even on such uptempo numbers as the title track and
"Friday Night," there's a sensitivity and vulnerability that is almost
To his credit, Wilson did not gather a carload of familiar names to make
it through this project - none of the other original Beach Boys appears
here. Nor did he attempt to mimic the Beach Boys' sound. Yes, there are
certain Beach Boy touches here and there, especially in the complex
vocal arrangements: "Thoughts of You" has a passage that seems right out
of 'Surf's Up,' and "You and I" could easily have been part of 'Friends.'
But on the whole, 'Pacific Ocean Blue' is a distinctly personal statement
and reveals Dennis Wilson to be a talented and gifted performer in his
Buy 'Pacific Ocean Blue' now
A great fan site devoted to Dennis Wilson
Back to Big Noise Beach Boys Page
Billy Hinsche's Documentary film 'Dennis Wilson Forever'
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