By 1972, Bruce Johnston was having serious reservations about Beach Boys manager Jack Rieley (reservations which the rest of the band later shared), and during the recording of this album left the band. His place was taken by Blondie Chaplin (later a touring vocalist for both The Byrds and The Rolling Stones) and Ricky Fataar (later of The Rutles), members of The Flame , a South African soul band that Carl Wilson had been producing. Oddly, for a band considered by those who don't know their work in much detail as the epitome of white-bread Middle America, these black South Africans not only slotted in amazingly well (Blondie Chaplin's vocals fitted astonishingly with the band, given that most of the harmonies were being sung by family members...), but revitalised the band both on the road and in the studio.

Carl & The Passions (the name - a name the band had considered when first forming - a recognition of the fact that Carl Wilson was now de facto leader of the band) is a return to the R&B sound of Wild Honey, but with a far more layered sound than the live sound of that album.

The album is essentially four singles by different 'bands' rather than a coherently recorded album, but it still strangely feels more like 'an album' than almost any BB record. Mike Love and Al Jardine have two tracks - He Came Down (co-written with Brian Wilson and All This Is That (co-written with Carl Wilson) that are both stunningly good, if you overlook the lyrics, which are a paen to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Dennis Wilson comes up with two orchestral songs with definite echoes of Wagner and Johannes Brahms - Make It Good and Cuddle Up (both co-written by Darryl Dragon of The Captain And Tenneille) which, while over-lush for my taste, are undeniably beautiful and moving; Jack Rieley dusted off and wrote new lyrics for two Brian Wilson songs, which Carl Wilson produced - Marcella and You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone; and Blondie and Ricky came up with two very good, but very un-Beach Boys country flavoured songs - Hold On Dear Brother and Here She Comes.

And after all this work, on what remains one of the band's best albums, Warner Bros. scuppered it commercially by putting it out as a double album with Pet Sounds, for reasons that have still to be adequately explained...


  1. You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone
  2. Here She Comes
  3. He Came Down
  4. Marcella
  5. Hold On Dear Brother
  6. Make It Good
  7. All This Is That
  8. Cuddle Up

The album is currently available on a double CD from Capitol Records with Holland

Band line-up for this album - Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Blondie Chaplin, Ricky Fataar and an uncredited Bruce Johnston

Previous album - Surf's Up
Next album - Holland

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.