The Beach Boys

Beach Boys Concert

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Recorded live in Sacramento in 1964, the Beach Boys run through several of their big early hits and a bunch of covers that hadn't made it to record. The screaming, while not at a Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl level, is loud enough to present a real problem as far as sonic clarity, especially given that the instruments aren't recorded too well either. Even more crucially, the Beach Boys simply didn't play nearly as well on-stage as on record, at least at this concert; the arrangements are thin and the playing and singing are ragged, though the group is enthusiastic. None of this stopped it from becoming one of their biggest sellers; in fact, it topped the charts for four weeks, at the height of the British Invasion. It's also of interest in that it has several covers that they didn't release as studio recordings in the '60s, including "Johnny B. Goode," Jan & Dean's "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena," the dorky "Long Tall Texan," "Monster Mash," the Four Freshmen's "Graduation Day," and the Rivingtons' goofy doo wop rave-up "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow." Everyone other than major Beach Boys fans, however, should give it a miss. [Concert/Live in London, a Capitol two-fer CD, combines this and Live in London (1968 live material that has also, confusingly, been issued as Beach Boys '69) onto one disc, adding previously unreleased live versions of "Don't Worry Baby" (from 1964) and "Heroes and Villains" (from 1967).]

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