The Beach Boys

Greatest Hits, Vol. 3: Best of the Brother Years

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Treasured by collectors and particularly obsessive fans, the Beach Boys' work from the '70s and early '80s enjoyed a growing cachet with music cognoscenti during the '90s. Finally, in 2000, Capitol reissued the group's later catalog on a series of two-fers. The Greatest Hits, Vol. 3: Best of the Brother Years preceded the reissues with a 20-track overview of the years 1970 through 1986, from the first Brother single ("Add Some Music to Your Day") to the last ("California Dreamin'"). Besides the inclusion of '70s classics like "Surf's Up" and "'Til I Die," there are a few engaging Brian Wilson rockers ("Honkin' Down the Highway," "Good Timin'") and the many classic R&B standards ("Rock and Roll Music," "Peggy Sue," "Come Go With Me") pointing the way to the county-fair oldies act the Beach Boys were soon to become. On the whole, the track selection is solid but rather unappealing: the Greatest Hits, Vol. 3 may have taken a lot of singles from the Brother years, but it didn't take all of the best songs. And the short shrift given to Dennis Wilson is very disappointing. The tender ballads Dennis delivered at the end of albums like Carl and the Passions - So Tough and Holland were excellent, and among the most affecting work of the Beach Boys' career. For listeners curious about the quality of the '70s years, this probably isn't the best compilation: the group just wasn't a singles act anymore, and the most entertaining Beach Boys albums of the decade -- Sunflower, Surf's Up, The Beach Boys Love You -- are best heard in their entireties.

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