Carl Wilson

Carl Wilson

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A solo album by Carl Wilson was an extremely appealing proposition. As one of the main ingredients of the Beach Boys' vocal sound, he certainly commanded some real attention. As a harmony vocalist, he usually sang the middle part of the pattern, with Mike Love at the bottom and Brian Wilson on top. The middle-range harmony is what truly made the sound work, and Carl Wilson was a master of it. And forget about his ability as a lead singer and guitarist. "Good Vibrations," "God Only Knows," and "Surfin' USA" (and numerous other records) are impressive showcases for those skills. But this album, his solo debut for Caribou/CBS, falls sadly short of those benchmarks. Most of the songs -- co-written by Wilson and Myrna Smith (who also appears as guest vocalist on this record) -- are bland affairs, doing little justice to Wilson's awesome gifts. Added to that, producer James William Guercio (Chicago mentor, and a real talent in his own right) unfortunately saddles the record with a generic '70's "hit" sound. Wilson's contributions, especially vocally, underline what a sad situation all this is. He actually sings like a bird. What a shame he didn't have anything to sing. For purists only.

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