That Lucky Old Sun

Brian Wilson

Instead of dredging up the past and reviving abandoned masterworks, Brian Wilson embarks a new journey by returning to Capitol Records and exploring the sunny side of Southern California on That Lucky Old Sun. Wilson describes the album as an “interwoven series of ‘rounds’ with interspersed spoken word” — an autobiographical glimpse of the idyllic California that Wilson so vividly captured with the Beach Boys in the early 60s.

Originally commissioned by the Southbank Centre for its 2007 opening season, That Lucky Old Sun was a collaborative effort, with lyrics from band mate Scott Bennett, and the spoken word narratives written by Wilson's lovable partner-in-crime, Van Dyke Parks. He gathered his band together and ended up debuted the record at London’s Royal Festival Hall in September 2007. Like Smile before it, the buzz behind the six sold-out shows turned the album into a classic before Wilson even stepped into the recording studio.

The piece opens with a short take on “That Lucky Old Sun,” the classic 1949 song written by Beasley Smith and Haven Gillespie, and covered by Frankie Laine, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles, to name a few. Doubling as a recurring theme, the tune gets a pretty lush arrangement, thick with Beach Boys-like harmonies. Segueing into “Morning Beat,” Wilson skips and jumps through the lyrics, painting pictures of Los Angeles, before falling into the first of the spoken-word narratives, “Room With A View.”

At times, the narrations are like a colorful geography lessons, albeit read with a certain stiffness — yet, the ambitious musical interludes are infectious enough to maintain the momentum. “Forever She’ll Be My Surfer Girl” is a simple ode, strong enough in its projection to make it irresistibly powerful. With a talented cast of musicians, singers, and whatnot, the arrangements are consistently full and realized. The celebratory spunk of “California Role” is just as dramatic and sweeping as the introspection of “Oxygen To The Brain” and “Midnight’s Another Day.”

To end on its intended high note, That Lucky Old Sun recasts the California dream Brian Wilson wrote so eloquently about in the early 60s as a savior of the soul, as well as affirmation of his life coming full circle. The earnest, upbeat “Going Home” is a little too much on the nose. It's “Southern California” that properly sums up the man’s views on the paradise he helped put on the map nearly a half-century ago. Despite rapid changes altering the sunny disposition and radiance of Southern California, it apparently remains a main source of true inspiration for Brian Wilson.

~ Shawn Perry

Bookmark and Share

 

Rock News

Google Ads

ELP - Fanfare 1970 - 1997

ELP

Jethro Tull - 50 Years


 

Follow Vintage Rock @

Search

VintageRock.com Book!

NEW BOOK COLLECTS
25 INTERVIEWS WITH
VINTAGE ROCK LEGENDS!

book

CELEBRATE 20 YEARS
OF VINTAGEROCK.COM!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER
YOUR COPY TODAY!

Newsletter

Newsletter


Receive HTML?

David Gilmour - Pompeii

Amazon's Essentials