The Beach Boys

Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 13 (1965-1966): The Alternate "Pet Sound" Album, Vol. 1

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Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 13 (1965-1966): The Alternate "Pet Sound" Album, Vol. 1 is the first of two four-disc sets documenting instrumental and vocal recording sessions for the Beach Boys landmark long-player Pet Sounds. In comparison to Capitol Records' three-disc Pet Sounds 30th Anniversary Box Set, the two bootleg Unsurpassed Masters volumes are more complete and sound less processed than the legit package. The main trade-off being the two info-laden booklets found in the 30th Anniversary Box Set. The first disc is a compilation of the various master takes ultimately used to create a final product. These recordings are raw, un-mixed, unbalanced, and unedited. This spontaneous "fly on the wall" perspective is exactly what Beach Boys enthusiasts desire -- the real-time experience of being with Brian Wilson as he was creating his masterpiece. Hearing the rag-tag and informal feel Wilson creates among his fellow musicians is another benefit of this collection. This in no way implies that Wilson couldn't likewise be strict or demanding from his individually selected all-star instrumental assemblage. However, negativity is at a minimum as Brian Wilson is audibly brimming with confidence and pleased with what he, and you, are hearing. The sessions begin in earnest on the second disc with several instrumental pieces: "Trombone Dixie" and a track named "Run James Run" -- later renamed as the title track of the entire Pet Sounds project. "Let's Go Away for Awhile" is the final instrumental recorded for and used on the album. The remainder of this volume deals with the recording of the tracks "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "You Still Believe in Me," "Caroline, No," and both "Hang on to Your Ego" and its subsidiary composition, "I Know There's an Answer."

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