Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Like George Harrison before him, the quieter Beach Boy came up with possibly the best solo album of any group members. Dennis Wilson’s “Pacific Ocean Blue” sent white caps through the Beach Boys community. Brian eventually debuted with a really nice one but has mostly been adrift since then. Carl who many expected to run away with it couldn’t seem to overcome the production of the times he recorded his in. Bruce Johnston paddled out a few hundred feet, but never went into open water, while Mike and Al chose to stay on shore and forgo solo careers.

This elaborate two disc reissue finally arrived on our shores yesterday and was it ever worth all those years waiting on the dock. The first thing you notice is that it totally belies its 1977 year of origin. It almost seems like an album out of time. It has the West Coast vibe you might expect, but it remains a more personal statement from the handsome surfer behind the drums.

The biggest surprise though is that the second disc offers the never before released follow up album “Bambu.” I have to say in many ways it may be an even stronger album. One of the reasons is that it is a bit more organic and ever so slightly less polished. In short you get two revealing musical experiences in a single package. And what a package it is, elaborate and with tons of info on the sessions, a forty plus page booklet, essays and more.

He died just after Christmas in 1983 at the age of 39. Swallowed by the waters off of the California coast that had been his second home. Fitting, but way too soon. I can’t help but imagine the character of the Jimmy Buffett song “A Pirate Looks At Forty” when I think of him.

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall.
You've seen it all, you've seen it all.

Watch the men who rode you,
Switch from sails to steam.
And in your belly you hold the treasurethat few have ever seen,
Most of them dreams, most of them dreams.

Yes, I am a pirate two hundred years too late.
The cannons don't thunder there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late.

I've done a bit of smugglin'I've run my share of grass.
I made enough money to buy Miami,
But I pissed it away so fast,
Never meant to last, never meant to last.
I have been drunk now for over two weeks,
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks,
But I've got to stop wishin',Got to go fishin',
I'm down to rock bottom again.
Just a few friends, just a few friends.

I go for younger women, lived with several awhile
And though I ran away, they'll come back one day.
And still could manage a smile
It just takes awhile, just takes awhile.

Mother, mother ocean, after all these years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupations just not around.
I feel like I've drowned,
Gonna head uptown.

(J. Buffett)