Wake The World: The Friends Sessions
Review by David Bowling
During the 1960’s, The Beach Boys recorded some of the most enduring and popular rock and pop songs in music history. Their precise and tight harmonies combined with Brian Wilson’s producing wizardry enabled tens-of-millions of listeners to grab ahold of their vision of an endless summer.
As the decade drew to a close, their contract with their label was coming to an end. Tensions within the group and with the label had begun to erode their popularity.
Friends was their second to last album for the label. Released against the background of the Vietnam War in the United States, it was a mellow album that had an excellence that was lost in it quickly disappearing from the musical consciousness of the day.
The entire recording process has now been released as Wake The World: The Friends Sessions. The original album consisted of 12 tracks, clocking in at just over 25 minutes. The new release has 31 tracks from the original recording sessions.
It always comes back to the vocals with the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson was a genius in creating their harmonies. A Cappella versions of “Friends,” “Anna Lee The Healer,” “Little Bird,” and “New Song” are highlights as they present the unadorned clarity of their vocals.
The rest of the album is typical of the type. It contains demos, alternative versions, and backing tracks. “My Little Red Book,” “Be Here In The Morning Darling,” and “Child Is The Feeling Of The Man.” It all adds up to a complete history of the album and a peek into their recording process.
This is an album that is for the person who wants everything by the band. If you just want the hits, there are dozens of other releases and downloads that are a better option. For the Beach Boys completest, however, it fills in a lot of gaps.