The Beach Boys

Beach Boys '69

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First off, let's clear up some discographical confusion: this album was originally titled Live in London and released overseas in 1970. When it was issued in the States in 1976, the title was changed to Beach Boys '69; further obfuscating matters, the performances were actually recorded in 1968. Brian Wilson is not present on these tracks, in which the group combine 1965-1968 hits like "California Girls," "Good Vibrations," and "Darlin'" with much less celebrated songs from their late-'60s LPs. The Beach Boys were always far better in the studio than they were on-stage. This record does demonstrate that they could recreate their music in a live setting with reasonable competence (though the singing oushines the playing). It is not, however, particularly exciting or essential stuff; the live arrangements, especially on the more complex numbers, can sound pretty pale when compared to the more familiar studio versions. [Concert/Live in London, a Capitol two-fer CD, combines this and Concert (1964), adding previously unreleased live versions of "Don't Worry Baby" (from 1964) and "Heroes and Villains" (from 1967).]

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