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Pacific Ocean Blue / Bambu (Deluxe Legacy Edition)

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Album Review

When Dennis Wilson's solo debut, Pacific Ocean Blue, was released on James Guercio's CBS-distributed Caribou Records in 1977, few had high expectations for it. Dennis' brother Brian Wilson was, after all, the acknowledged genius and mastermind of the Beach Boys sound and his other brother Carl Wilson had the voice, so little was expected of Dennis, the pretty boy drummer and near-professional party animal. But Pacific Ocean Blue was a gorgeous masterpiece, full of a naked and affirming spirit, romantic (in the best sense of the word), lush, wise, patient, and even panoramic, almost avant-garde, and worlds past and beyond what any of the other Beach Boys were doing at the time. It was also, perhaps not surprisingly, a resounding commercial flop, although the critical reaction to the album was strong and positive. Wilson began work on a follow-up, tentatively entitled Bambu, mixing in some new New Orleans and Caribbean elements, but the project was never finished and by the time of Wilson's death in 1983, Bambu had been sitting untouched and unfinished for nearly five years. Boots taken from LP copies of Pacific Ocean Blue and leaked tapes of the Bambu material have been bouncing around among collectors ever since and Wilson's solo work has taken on the allure and status of lost treasure. This wonderful two-disc set features a carefully restored and remastered version of the Pacific Ocean Blue LP and collects the remnants of Bambu along with other Wilson solo odds and ends to make a convincing case for Dennis Wilson as the other bona fide musical genius in the Beach Boys. It's difficult to describe Wilson's sound on these tracks, although "California gospel soul" might fit, since Wilson's raspy, wounded vocals carry more naked emotion and feeling than any of the other Beach Boys vocalists, even if Carl (and sometimes Brian) could sing like an angel. Dennis could sing like an angel, too, but an earthbound one who lost his wings yet never lost his love of the spiritual and romantic in the world. Highlights from this gorgeous, fascinating set include the majestic "River Song"; a chilling version of Carli Munoz's "It's Not Too Late"; the hauntingly tentative "Thoughts of You"; the personal, intimate, and self-autobiographical "He's a Bum"; and the two versions of "Holy Man," the first a beautiful, charming instrumental and the second, which closes things out here, featuring a newly recorded lead vocal from Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. Beautiful, sprawling, peaceful, wise, and as tenderly romantic as the world is round, these Dennis Wilson gems are as revelatory as they are stunning. Dennis Wilson was a man in love with life, a man in love with love, and as this essential package shows, he had an achingly personal vision for it all.


Born: December 04, 1944 in Hawthorne, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

The least talented Wilson brother at the beginning of the Beach Boys' career, Dennis Wilson later matured into an excellent songwriter, producer, and vocalist. Though he only released one LP before drowning at the age of 39, his assortment of heart-rending ballads and pop curios were major assets to the Beach Boys' late-'60s and early-'70s output. Born in Inglewood, California, in 1944, Dennis was the middle of the three Wilson brothers, also including Brian (b. 1942) and Carl (b. 1946). While growing...
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Pacific Ocean Blue / Bambu (Deluxe Legacy Edition), Dennis Wilson
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  • $16.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Pop, Pop/Rock
  • Released: 1977

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