The Reissue Section: Mike Love and Al Jardine Sail On With New Beach Boys Box

And more of the best reissues in recent months

The Beach Boys Sail On Sailor: 1972, UMe 2022

It has been 50 years since the Beach Boys got back to where they once belonged in their own right with a pair of albums that are finally getting the credit they both richly deserve on the Sail On Sailor box set. 

Released in December, this six-disc hardcover book is key in accentuating the underrated brilliance of Carl Wilson, who served as the de facto bandleader as his brilliant brother Brian took on a more minimal role in the creation of both 1972’s Carl and the Passions and 1973’s Holland. Adding a further earthiness to the sessions was the addition of guitarist Blondie Chaplin and drummer Ricky Fataar of the South African rock group the Flame, replacing a departed Bruce Johnston and an injured Dennis Wilson. Chaplin, in particular, who not only lent his fiery axe to the sessions but his heavenly vocal work as well on such material as Brian’s “Sail On Sailor” and “Hold On, Dear Brother.” 

The live-in-the-studio feel captured by this shaggier version of the Beach Boys assisted their efforts on the concert stage as well, evidenced byon the fantastic two discs containing a previously unreleased complete show from New York’s Carnegie Hall. It was originally recorded for the 1973 live album, The Beach Boys In Concert, but was largely unheard until now and includes longhaired takes on such eternal summer hits as “Fun Fun Fun,” “Do It Again” and “Help Me Rhonda.” The last two discs, meanwhile, offer a grab bag of additional live material from that era, including a 1975 performance of “The Trader,” along with outtakes from Brian’s Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairytale) sessions and a mesmerizing acapella version of “All This Is That,” one of the songs Love and Jardine speak with us about in the following interview.


It’s amazing to hear the dynamic of the band during this period with Ricky and Blondie in the mix.

Mike Love: They both brought a really great rock element to this period. Blondie just has a great voice, did an amazing job on “Sail On, Sailor.” They just added a different dimension to the group, which was sort of an evolution in a way. At the time, my cousin Carl and Al Jardine met them in a club they were playing in England with The Flame, and we actually signed them to Brother Records and produced an album with them. We were very fond of those guys. Ricky went on to play with Bonnie Raitt and Blondie has been playing with The Rolling Stones for a while.

Al Jardine: Ricky is the best, best drummer going, and we’ve had some great drummers. But he’s on the top of the heap. And Blondie, he just cooks on that guitar. He sang the high parts of the California Saga, because Brian didn’t show up for practically the whole album. And Blondie was right there doing all of the high parts and singing and playing. It was great.


Would you say Carl served as the sort of de facto leader of the group in Brian’s absence during this time?

Love: Carl really came forward to fill in the producer role, which Brian kind of pretty retired from at the time. I used to call him the Stalin of the Studio back in the day, when we were doing Pet Sounds and “Good Vibrations” and stuff. But in his absence, the group became a little more democratic, especially during this Carl and the Passions/Holland era. The music on Sail On Sailor is such a unique sound for us, something completely different.

Jardine: Yeah, exactly. There’s eras, and tThe Beach Boys had different eras. Each era had its own particular up and down, like anything. And we’re still here talking about it, which is fascinating. We were looking for a new identity and we began to incorporate new ideas and new voices and new songwriting, and I think we came up with a pretty good package.


It’s interesting to listen to Holland and hear all the songs about California.

Jardine: That’s because we were homesick. I knew we were on our way home when Carl and I were mixing down “California Saga,” which was a pretty big task. I remember Carl walked into the studio, went right up to the mic, cuz we were finished recording and getting the final mix done, and he started singing “On my way to sunny California, on my way to spend another sunny day.” Then the water theme. That was our rap.

Love: Jack Rieley was the one that actually got us to go to Holland and record there. We shipped all this equipment over there and took over a barn and made it into a studio. We lived in Holland for about six months. That was a great experience. Even though we were overseas, Al and I cooperated on the album’s trilogy, the “California Saga.” I wrote this really sweet little poem about Big Sur, which is one of the more beautiful places on Earth. And then Al had me sing a song that he wrote that went, “On my way to sunny California.”


How did the presence of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in your lives inform these recordings?

Jardine: That influenced my songwriting a lot. I loved the chant, “I am that, thou art that, all this is that.” It’s a scriptural saying that The Maharishi described the world as being so connected. Everything’s connected, and when you hear the voices come in with that, you hear all of the history and drama in those few words. It’s one of those indisputable facts, “I am that, thou art that.” It’s just biblical if you know anything about it. Here are The Beach Boys, that surfing group, singing these amazing harmonies, and it just blew me away. I don’t know where I came up with it, but I have to give the Maharishi credit.

Love: It was pretty amazing, because we learned TM from the Maharishi in December of ‘67, and I went to India on the Maharishi’s invitation. And The Beatles were all there. That was interesting, hearing Paul McCartney play “Back in the USSR” on acoustic guitar. But later on, Al and I went to a teacher training course in 1972, I think it was. And so we did that song “All This is That,” which is really beautiful now that it’s on the Sail On Sailor compilation in a couple of versions. But talking about Maharishi, that is straight out of the Veda, these ancient scriptures. “I am that, thou art that, and all this is that.” Doing that song in concert was hypnotic in a way.


Ultimately, what does this period say about The Beach Boys in your opinion?

Jardine: It shows growth. A lot of growth musically, because we were trying to establish a new identity. We were trying to get off the Beach Boy wagon and start with a new band. So we brought Ricky and Blondie aboard from The Flame. And they really helped get us into a more creative direction. As for the music, we were either ahead of the curve or behind it, I’m not sure which (laughs). Carl and the Passions was a stupid idea when you look at it from a Beach Boy point of view. It confused us. And then Holland, of course, followed up with an actual physical move to Holland, where we were really able to dig in and find ourselves with respect to the new music we were making.

Love: What’s really interesting about it is we did an event at the Grammy Museum a few weeks ago, and they played a few songs from the box set. One of them was a work in progress where it was a very early work that Brian was doing, getting the chord progressions and the melodies going for “Sail On, Sailor.” But it was before they had the words. The words was a collective, a whole bunch of people contributed to that. So it was interesting to hear the very early origins of some of these songs, which is a real treat for fans who know our music. It’s a deeper dive into this era, which is really interesting.


VIDEO: Sail On Sailor commercial




Neil Young Harvest: 50th Anniversary Edition (Warner Records)

Hailed as one of Uncle Neil’s crowning achievements in his recorded career, 1972’s Harvest is honored with its own box set commemorating its 50th Anniversary. This expanded edition contains both audio and visual bonus material, including the critically acclaimed documentary Harvest Time, which had a small, successful theatrical run in early December. Additional ephemera includes a stubbornly short three-song set of album outtakes and Young’s long-bootlegged 1971 appearance on the BBC (also here on DVD) highlighted by stirring solo versions of “Out On The Weekend,” “Old Man” and the essential Harvest orphan “Journey Through The Past.”


VIDEO: Harvest Time Official Trailer


Guns ‘N Roses 

Use Your Illusion: Super Deluxe Edition (UMe)

Guns ‘N Roses’ epic 1991 double header finally arrives as one complete package in this super deluxe set honoring its belated 30th anniversary. Housed in an innovative box that brings the album’s title to conceptual life, this definitive edition of Use Your Illusion comes appended with two stellar live recordings including an industry-packed club show at New York’s The Ritz in May 1991, where they played the majority of the new songsalbums a good five months before their simultaneous street date (the concert film is available on the accompanying Blu-rayblu-Ray). There’s also a three-disc set of the post-Izzy Stradlin lineup in full flight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas from January 1992. Despite its obvious warts, time has been kind to Use Your Illusion I and II, as the aging process only accentuates their more resilient components. And this necessary box indeed confirms what makes these albums two of the great hard rock works of the early 90s, schmaltz and all. 



Bob Weir 

Ace: 50th Anniversary Edition (Rhino)

Ace is not the first solo album by a member of The Grateful Dead, but its the closest to being considered a Dead album. Yet while all the members of the band save for Pigpen turn up across these nine songs (many of which became GD live staples), Ace ultimately positioned Bob Weir as a master of songwriting on the strength of such soulful tunes as “Looks Like Rain,” “One More Saturday Night” and “Cassidy”–songs that would have been great even if Weir didn’t work with his bandmates worked with unknown studio musicians. This belated 50th Anniversary edition of Ace features a bonus disc featuring the entire album performed live from New York’s Radio City Music Hall in April 2022, where Weir and his current band The Wolf Bros. (including Don Was on bass and former Primus drummer Jay Lane) welcome such esteemed guests as Tyler Childers and Brittney Spencer to bring these nine staples into the 21st century. 



The Sons of Adam 

Saturday’s Sons – The Complete Recordings: 1964-1966 (High Moon Records)

Before he brought the pain to the hippies as the guitarist for Blue Cheer, Randy Holden rocked L.A.’s Sunset Strip as the leading member of The Sons of Adam. Rounded out frontman Jac Ttanna (Genesis), bassist Mike Port, and drummer Michael Stuart-Ware (Love), these cats brought an electric edge to the mid-60s California sound, a sound that finally gets celebrated with the first-ever comprehensive anthology of the group. In fact, Saturday’s Sons features the band’s full recorded output, gathering rare 45s, outtakes and demo recordings – including fiery material from their early incarnation as The Fender IV as well as their fabled 1966 single, “Feathered Fish,” donated to the band by Love’s Arthur Lee. Also included is a previously unreleased 1966 full concert performance from San Francisco’s famed Avalon Ballroom. For fans of Blue Cheer and the guitar artistry of Randy Holden, Saturday’s Sons is a must-hear. 



The Strokes 

The Singles: Volume 01 (Legacy Recordings)

Wanna feel really old? The Strokes are now officially a catalog act. And the first missive from the incoming flood of career reassessment is this new box comprised ofcollecting all 10 singles from the band’s first three LPs on 7-inch vinyl. It’s no doubt a blast revisiting this soundtrack to the early days of social media by spinning the donuts of “The Modern Age” and “Juicebox” like you’re getting ready for a night at Enid’s all over again, while such rare B-sides as the original “New York City Cops” and covers of The Clash (“Clampdown”) and Marvin Gaye (“Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)”) make a welcome return to wax. 



Bob Dylan 

Fragments – Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series Vol.17 (Legacy Recordings)

The 17th volume of the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series focuses on debtably his finest studio album of the pastlast 30 years, 1997’s Daniel Lanois-produced Time Out of Mind. Across five CDs, Fragments: Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997) offers a whole new way to experience this era, primarily with a fully reimagined mix of the original LP that brings the listener into the studio with a more upfront, immediate feel. Discs Two and Three collect both the 1996 demo recordings from Teatro studio in Oxnard, CA and a swell of outtakes from Miami’s Criteria Studios in early ’97. Disc Four focuses on live material, culling prime performances of key album cuts from Dylan and his road band circa 1997-2001, while the fifth CD featuressimply compiles 12 Time Out of Mind era cuts originally included on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006. 



New Order 

Low-Life: Definitive (Rhino)

With 1985’s Low-Life, New Order officially emerged from the shadow of Joy Division by eschewing the post-punk overtones in favor of embracing the dance-pop that earned them worldwide renown. This definitive edition includes a trove of rarities, from instrumental versions of such Low-Life hits as “Love Vigilantes” and “Sub-Culture” on the bonus CD to a pair of DVDs housing such visual fare as a previously unreleased 1985 show from The Manhattan Club in Belgium to an Old Grey Whistle Test taping from the famed London nightclub The Hacienda. Featuring the original albumLP on 180g vinyl and encased in a hardback book with photos and a new interview with everyone in the classic lineup, this is truly the definitive edition. 




Tiddlywinks (Omnivore Recordings)

NRBQ’s vast cache of albums might leave newcomers to the band a little perplexed as to where to start with them. Look no further than 1980’s Tiddlywinks, the group’s eighth album and one of their most guitar-heavy works buoyed by such power pop-lacedpop laced singles as “Me aAnd The Boys” and “Never Take The Place Of You.” Back in print after over four decades in OOP obscurity, Omnivore Recordings freshens up Tiddlywinks with new artwork and four bonus tracks, including early versions of “I Don’t Think Of…” and “Big Goodbyes,” both of which would appear on 1983’s Tapdancin’ Bats. 



Laurie Styvers

Gemini Girl: The Complete Hush Recordings (High Moon Records)

The singer-songwriter boom of the early 70s yielded a smorgasbord of major label signings from across the United States. And one of the true lost treasures of that era is the works of Texas-born Laurie Styvers, who utilized her time as a student at both the American School of London and college in Colorado to craft a wholly distinctive sound that feels like Linda Ronstadt joining forces with Sandy Denny. Gemini Girl brings together, for the first time, her two solo albums, 1971’s Spilt Milk (originally released on Warner Bros. Records) and 1973’s The Colorado Kid (on Chrysalis), each amended with a trove of demos, alternate takes and previously unheard material. The 48-page booklet includes thorough liner notes by compilation producer Alec Palao that delve deep into Styvers’ legend, further enhancing the heartbreaking story of a career abandoned too soon. 



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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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