Dennis Wilson's "Pacific Ocean Blue" CD reissue coming June 17th
Sony Legacy will be releasing a deluxe edition of Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue on June 17th, 2008. The long-unavailable 1977 album was the only released solo album from the late Beach Boys drummer, who died from drowning in 1983. This edition will be released in 2-CD and 3-LP formats, which will not only feature bonus tracks for the original album but will also feature the entire unreleased Bambu album, which was intended to be Dennis' second solo release.
This will be a dream come true for many Beach Boys fans, some of whom regard Pacific Ocean Blue as a long-lost masterpiece. Personally, I do not share this view of the album. Although it did prove that Dennis could withstand comparison to his brother Brian in the songwriting and production departments, Pacific Ocean Blue suffers from a tragic flaw: Dennis' vocals. The aging Beach Boy's voice had become worn and ragged, and it tended to clash with the album's well-crafted arrangements. Pacific Ocean Blue is a unique recording with undeniable emotional depth, but it's arguably an acquired taste.
Still, I do intend to purchase this new edition, not only because my ancient cassette copy is crying out for an upgrade, but also because I've always been curious to hear the previously unreleased Bambu.
Understandably, the coming re-release of Dennis' solo album is overshadowing the recent reissue of another 1977 solo album by a former Beach Boy. The thoughtful people at Wounded Bird Records released Blondie Chaplin's self-titled solo album on CD this past April. Chaplin was one of two South African musicians (along with Ricky Fataar) who were members of the Beach Boys from 1972 until 1974. Chaplin is best known for singing the lead vocal on the band's 1973 hit "Sail On Sailor". His 1977 release Blondie Chaplin is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Rock + Roll, because those words appear in the front cover photo. It's certainly not false advertising, because the album rocks and rolls from beginning to end. There isn't a dull song in the bunch; Chaplin's soulful vocals are perfectly matched with the Little Feat-style r&b grooves of the backing musicians (including Fataar, Garth Hudson, and Dave Mason). Blondie Chaplin is a most enjoyable and satisfying rock + roll album.
Rarebird's Beach Boys solo album reviews: