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Carl and the Passions – The Beach Boys

Beach Boys Carl and the Passions So Tough

Carl and the Passions

(1972), 5.5/10
Bruce Johnston left the Beach Boys during the sessions for Carl and the Passions, and Carl Wilson bought in two South African musicians to beef up the live shows. Drummer Ricky Fataar was bought in to cover for Dennis Wilson’s hand injury, while Blondie Chaplin was bought in as a third guitarist and vocalist. With the new members and little input from Brian, Carl and the Passions pulls in a lot of directions over its 34 minute running time and feels thin and disparate.

Chaplin and Fataar provide two tracks which don’t feel like they belong to the band, of which ‘Hold On Dear Brother’ is straight out monotonous. Dennis contributes two orchestrated ballads, which again don’t feel aligned with the other tracks, even though ‘Cuddle Up’ in particular is strong. There’s also a gospel pastiche in ‘He Come Down’, which has a strong vocal arrangement, but which is a theological hodgepodge, referencing Jesus, Maharishi, and Krishna in succession. There are some very good songs among the mess; namely the beautiful Carl fronted ‘All This Is That’, and Brian’s fifties throwback ‘Marcella’.

There’s enough to make Carl and the Passions worth hearing, but it’s definitely one of The Beach Boys’ more disposable efforts.

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