The self-aggrandizing and ostensibly talented Murry Wilson's primary claim to fame was as the patriarch of the Beach Boys -- Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson. Prior to the band's success in the early 1960s, the elder Wilson gained nominal recognition as the author of "Two Step, Side Step," a second-tier hit for C&W vocalist Bonnie Lou. Once the Beach Boys established themselves, Murry managed to finagle a solo album deal, yielding The Many Moods of Murry Wilson (1967). The contents are pure orchestral schmaltz, similar to the ersatz easy listening and so-called 'beautiful music' being produced by the 101 Strings Orchestra or Capitol Records' own Hollyridge Strings. In fact, it is presumed the latter unit are instrumentally responsible for much (if not all) of the actual performances on this 12-track platter. Despite the oft-documented torturous conditions under which he was reared, Brian Wilson has always credited his father as having possessed a distinct melodic sense. Murry's compositions, most notably the opener "Love Won't Wait," "Painting With Teardrops" and "Heartbreak Lane" do reveal an undeniable undercurrent of melancholia. Nowhere is the influence as evident as on the cover of the Beach Boys' "Warmth of the Sun." Murry -- who also fancied himself a talent scout -- drew upon the unlikely abilities of Eck Kynor -- who had done some plumbing work for the senior Wilson -- for "Happy Song," an unfettered and optimistic outing, as well as "Plumber's Tune," boasting a slightly mysterious and jazzy lilt, bringing to mind the possible theme to a non-existent "Private Eye" television show. Alan Jardine -- the only non-Wilson relation in the original Beach Boys lineup -- contributes the happy-go-lucky "Italia," while Richard Henn from the Sunrays -- a soundalike who Murry used to cash in on the surf craze -- supplies "Islands in the Sky." While even earnest Beach Boys enthusiasts will be hard pressed to revisit The Many Moods of Murry Wilson, it has been issued on CD in Japan in its original form, sans any bonus material.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer