Brian Wilson, the creative genius responsible for the best work of The Beach Boys and a fine body of solo material, has released a special preview of one of the tracks that will comprise his new work, That Lucky Old Son (A narrative).
When I talk to people about Brian, his voice is often mentioned, not always in the best light. In his youth Brian’s voice was a truly remarkable vocal instrument of amazing purity and versatility, capable of strong leads, that amazing soaring and seemingly effortless falsetto, and with the other Beach Boys, a quality of vocal blend that I have never heard anywhere else.
Then in the 1970’s when Brian retreated from the world for a period, heavy smoking, heavy drug use and other factors ripped away at his vocal chords. Tho for Beach Boys fans there is a real pleasure in listening to some of his vocal performances from this period, for the gruff charm of some of the tracks in “Love You” and some monents of real pathos.
Come the 80’s and the long overdue start of Brian’s solo career (his brother Dennis produced a solo album of remarkable quality in the 70s called Pacific Ocean Blue) and Brian’s voice is clearly on the mend. This trend has continued and some of his recent vocals have been quite strong. He may have struggled a little at Glastonbury with some stage nerves and unhelpful sound mixing, but hear him in a full solo concert when he has time to relax and the sound engineer is concentrating only on mixing Brian and his amazing band, and the voice is there, instantly recognisable and coping well with some demanding vocal lines.
This latest release embraces the time and care worn voice of a man in his early 60’s who’s lived a bit, and is reflecting with positivity tempered with experience. A simple, but effective piano accompaniment and yes, you’ve guessed, some wonderful backing vocals make for a very welcome addition to one man’s remarkable body of music.