Picks and Pans Review: Carl Wilson
The Beach Boys' classic sunshine collection All Summer Long contained a lively guitar instrumental, Carl's Big Chance, so called because it gave the baby guitar-strumming Wilson brother a rare moment in the spotlight. Since that happened in 1964, Carl has played the peacemaker role in a blood-linked band who have been as dissonant in their private lives as they were harmonious in their singing. Now, at 34, he has cut his first solo album, joined by Beach Boy-Chicago producer James Guercio and an unlikely collaborator, Myrna Smith, once one of the Sweet Inspirations. For the most part, Carl crafts the melodies, Myrna fashions the lyrics, and the results are better than anything the Beach Boys have issued collectively since Pet Sounds. The songs are pretty and upbeat without being poppishly dopey. Carl is not the first Beach Boy to hang 10 alone (brother Dennis issued a solo in 77), but he seems troubled by the venture. In The Right Lane, he sings Smith's lyrics: "I've been livin' in the right lane/ Seein' others cruise on by/ I've been tryin' to do the best thing/ Think I'll give the passin' lane a try/ Am I the kind who could run over my brother/ Just to get where I should be?" Not to worry, Carl; it's a big beach.
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