Picks and Pans Review: Stars and Stripes, Vol.1
It's hard to imagine a worse idea: Re-record classic Beach Boys tracks with Nashville musicians, get country stars to sing lead and have the aging B Boys chime the familiar harmonies. Endless bummer.
Intrepid fans will find one or two nice moments: Willie Nelson's lilting take on "The Warmth of the Sun" and Junior Brown's rockabilly "409." But Kathy Troccoli's wan vocal (and the limp production) on "I Can Hear Music" is a pale shadow of Carl Wilson's 1969 reading of the Jeff Barry-Ellie Greenwich-Phil Spector classic. Timothy B. Schmit's simpering "Caroline, No" loses the original's stark beauty in a cloud of melodramatic strings.
Brian Wilson takes credit as co-producer, but these generic arrangements don't bear the mark of the prodigal genius whose recent solo work (particularly his album of reworked classics, I Just Wasn't Made for These Times) showcases the inspiration this lacks. Blame lead singer Mike Love, who not only served as executive producer but also threatens a second volume. What's next, Mike? Surfin' Macarena? (River North Nashville)