Friday, December 4, 2015

CD Review: The Beach Boys Expand Their "Party!" Album After 50 Years

In 1965, the landscape of music was changing. Bob Dylan was going electric, The Beatles were discovering the studio and the Rolling Stones were becoming the original bad boys of rock and roll. The Beach Boys were on a roll of producing hit single after hit single, but more time was needed for Brian Wilson and the Boys to create their next masterpiece. The record company demanded a new studio album to keep their music flowing in the hearts of their fans. Instead of just throwing together an album of regular tunes, The Beach Boys decided to unplug for the 1965 album "Beach Boys' Party!" It featured a dozen tracks of The Beach Boys in the studio, sitting around for a sing-along, using acoustic guitars, bongos and whatever else was hanging around the studio. What they created is the original "unplugged" album as they decided to cover songs from some of their favorite artists in an intimate open recording session. The original album had them performing The Beatles' "I Should Have Known Better" and "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away," along with Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and The Everly Brothers "Devoted To You." The album did produce the #2 hit single "Barbara Ann," which has since become one of The Beach Boys' most well-known songs.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark album, Universal Music gathered together the sessions from the original album for the new deluxe edition of "Beach Boys' Party! Uncovered And Unplugged." The new two-disc set features over 80 songs from the five recording sessions for this album. You get to hear The Beach Boys at their most vulnerable, as they are having fun with each other, singing some of their favorite cover songs and even making fun of their own hits. Highlights of the set include their version of Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind" and a medley of "Hang On Sloopy/You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling/Twist And Shout." The in-between song dialog is priceless as you feel as if you are in the studio with The Beach Boys and they argue playfully with one another, deciding what to play next. Almost every take they recorded of these songs are one-of-a-kind as they perform them "off the cuff" with no overdubs, "as nature intended." This album is the closing chapter of the early days of The Beach Boys, as Brian Wilson would expand their sound with their next iconic album "Pet Sounds" and also with the creative masterpiece "Smile." To find out more about the new deluxe edition of "Beach Boys' Party!," please visit

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