The Beach Boys

Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1

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In a move that only the crassest marketing men (or Mike Love) could have imagined, the Beach Boys cashed in on the popular boom in country music in the early '90s with Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1. Instead of recording a country album themselves, they hired a batch of country vocalists -- ranging from Toby Keith to Willie Nelson and Lorrie Morgan -- to perform the group's old hits. As for the Beach Boys themselves, they just provide backing vocals. None of the songs translate particularly well to country settings, and the production has a canned, sterile ambience that sounds nothing like either country or surf rock. Furthermore, the country vocalists don't sing the Beach Boys' material with any true feeling for the material -- in attempts to personalize the songs, they knock the songs completely off track. A handful of singers deliver good performances, but for the most part Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1 is an unmitigated disaster and an outright embarrassment for all involved.

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