The Beach Boys

Hawthorne, CA

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AllMusic Review by

Ever wanted to hear the Beach Boys' 1965 album track "Salt Lake City" in stereo instead of mono, or maybe an a cappella version of "Can't Wait Too Long," which the band recorded in 1967 but never released until it was tacked onto a 1990 reissue? If so, then you're undoubtedly one of the more obsessive Beach Boys fans out there, and Hawthorne, CA was produced with you -- and only a scant few others -- in mind. More akin to an audio scrapbook or musical documentary than a true rarities compilation, this two-disc set is packed with over two exhausting hours of session excerpts, alternate versions, backing tracks (à la Stack-O-Tracks), and a handful of stereo remixes. It's also interspersed with dialogue from bandmembers, a process that only enhances the already fragmentary nature of a collection like this. The only genuinely new songs are "Lonely Days," an artifact from the Wild Honey era, and Dennis Wilson's "A Time to Live in Dreams" from 1968. Still, almost every track has never been released previously, and fans of the band's lost masterpiece Smile will find several tracks of intriguing material, including revealing stereo versions of "Heroes and Villains" and "Vegetables." Also included is a considerable excerpt from the original tapes of the Beach Boys' first garage session (for the "Surfin'" single), complete with Dennis' wacky mic testing and threats from various bandmates that they'll get popped in the nose if they laugh during another take. Hawthorne, CA proves two things over and over again -- with every a cappella mix, it proves the Beach Boys were one of the most amazing harmonists of the rock era, and with several of the newly stereo versions, listeners can hear what a good stereo remix can do to even the most lackluster songs, like 1970s "Cotton Fields (The Cotton Song)" -- itself a misguided attempt to duplicate the success of 1966's "Sloop John B." A bounty of intriguing songs for the collector and true-believer fan, but far from necessary for disinterested listeners.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 00:48 SpotifyAmazon
2 02:40
3
00:56 SpotifyAmazon
4 00:45 SpotifyAmazon
5 02:31 Amazon
6 02:03 SpotifyAmazon
7 02:35 SpotifyAmazon
8
00:15 SpotifyAmazon
9 01:56 Amazon
10 01:51 SpotifyAmazon
11
00:25 SpotifyAmazon
12 02:26 SpotifyAmazon
13
00:29 SpotifyAmazon
14 02:05 Amazon
15 02:49 Amazon
16 02:32 Amazon
17
00:21 SpotifyAmazon
18 01:49 Amazon
19 02:08 Amazon
20 01:12 Amazon
21 01:06 Amazon
22
02:12 SpotifyAmazon
23 02:33 Amazon
24
00:29 SpotifyAmazon
25 02:52 Amazon
26 03:08 Amazon
27 00:22 SpotifyAmazon
28 02:19 Amazon
29 02:25

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 00:51
2
00:43 SpotifyAmazon
3 03:13
4 04:09
5 03:40
6 00:56
7 03:01
8 00:49
9
00:52 SpotifyAmazon
10
00:14 SpotifyAmazon
11 02:35
12
feat: Brian Wilson
01:35
13 03:39
14
00:19 SpotifyAmazon
15 01:50 SpotifyAmazon
16 03:17
17
00:10 SpotifyAmazon
18 03:15
19
00:21 SpotifyAmazon
20 03:12
21 03:29
22
00:27 SpotifyAmazon
23 02:51
24 03:16
25 01:20
26
00:39 SpotifyAmazon
27 02:33
28
02:28 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick