The Beach Boys

Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 20 (1968-1969)

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By this time (circa 1968), the band were primarily recording at Brian Wilson's home studio. The sole delegate from the Friends album on this collection also happens to be the title track. In deference to the information given on the rear tray card, instead of various vocal overdubs, each cut represents one of the four tracks used for the master take. Various points of reference, as well as the stellar sonics, allow for a virtual 5.1 experience as layer upon layer of instrumentation and vocals are presented here in widely separated stereo. 20/20 -- the final Beach Boys original long-player for Capitol Records -- is represented by alternate and separated multi-track mixes for "Do It Again," "I Can Hear Music," and "Time to Get Alone"; "We're Together Again" and the incomplete "Walk on By" are leftover from 20/20 and were first issued in 1990 on the legit Friends 20/20 CD two-fer as "bonus tracks." Although the sound is impeccable, the limited variance between the various "overdub" tracks makes for redundant listening. The "Odds & Ends" which fill out Disc Two are among the more interesting items in this volume. "Unknown Instrumental" is a short composition that features Brian Wilson on piano with muted strings -- giving the effect of a child's toy keyboard. "Sherry, She Needs Me" is a track that dates back nearly half-a-decade during the sessions for Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!) when it was called "Sandy." The song was revived and new vocals were overdubbed onto the existing instrumental track -- which can be heard on Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 9 (1965): The Alternate "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!!). In 1976 "Sherry, She Needs Me" was again revived and again left unreleased. Many Beach Boys scholars have proclaimed the version on this package to be from 1976. Incidentally, Wilson released the song as "She Says That She Needs Me" on his 1998 album Imagination. The history of "Breakaway" is equally as interesting. The tune is credited to both Brian Wilson and his father Murry and was released only as a contractual obligation. "Ode to Betty Joe" and "It's Time" are actually not Beach Boys recordings. At some point in the late ‘60s the group hired a musical/comedy group called the Pickle Brothers as a support act for their live performances. These two songs were recorded, pressed, and presumably vended at said concerts. The final work is a spoken word recitation titled "America, I Know You." Author Steve Kalinich reads his work, which was to have been included on A World of Peace Must Come -- a completed but never issued full-length album of Kalinich's poetry.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:11
2 2:37
3 2:37
4 2:37
5 2:37
6 2:37
7 2:37
8 2:39
9 2:35
10 2:31
11 2:30
12 2:52
13 2:40
14 2:39
15 3:45
16 2:15
17 2:16
18 2:14
19 2:20
20 2:23
21 1:39
22 1:03
23 1:05
24 1:03

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:49
2 2:23
3 2:27
4 2:48
5 2:48
6 2:46
7 2:45
8 4:16
9 2:26
10 0:33
11 1:20
12 2:58
13 2:59
14 2:43
15 3:17
16 3:11
17 3:15
18 2:38
19
3:34
20
1:19
21
0:32
22
1:06
23
3:01
24
1:39
25
1:05
26
1:39
27
1:40
28
4:08
blue highlight denotes track pick