By late 1967, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson had become so reclusive that he commissioned a studio to be built inside his Bel Air mansion. A majority of the band's albums during this era would be created here. This 19th instalment of the Unsurpassed Masters series gathers a handful of studio sessions -- held both at Wilson's home as well as Wally Heider's studios in Los Angeles -- during the creation of the Wild Honey album. As with every entry in the Sea of Tunes bootleg catalog, the remarkable audio quality of these recordings makes for, at the very least, a fascinating ear-to-the-wall perspective on the processes and methodology behind some of the best-made, and likewise best-loved songs in the whole of popular music. This set commences with over 20 minutes worth of fragments titled "Cool, Cool Water." While often connected with SMiLE, most Beach Boys historians consider this song apart from those used to compile the legendary, albeit incomplete, project. Enthusiasts will undoubtedly recognize the title, as these tapes were revisited for a similarly named track three years later on the Sunflower album. "Can't Wait Too Long" is more brilliant musical flotsam and fallout from SMiLE. Those with the patience to sit through the 20-plus minutes are treated to some of Brian Wilson's finest post-"Good Vibrations production work. Although the track was infinitesimally close to completion, it would be over two decades before a hodge-podge version was issued as a bonus track on the Smiley Smile/Wild Honey two-fer. One distinct quality separating Wild Honey from other then-recent Beach Boys albums is the inclusion of a cover song. In this instance, Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her" is given a respectably heartfelt treatment by lead vocalist Carl Wilson. His passion for R&B can be heard throughout the vocal rehearsal and overdub session that rounds out disc one. While no amazing musical ground is broken here, these are interesting none the less. The second disc is notable mostly for the inclusion of "The Letter" and "Darlin.'" The former track is somewhat out of place on this disc, however, as the recording heard here is from an overdub session for the unrealized Lei'd In Hawaii live album.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2