Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Beach Boys capsules: Bootlegs, part 1 of 4 (early years)

By necessity, this post will be based even more on personal experience and taste than the others. There's been a widespread bootleg market for the Beach Boys since the '70s, even if it was never as densely populated as that for the Beatles or Dylan, and there's no chance I can come anywhere close to addressing everything that's available. So this informal listing and set of brief capsule reviews (as well as a not-so-brief review of Christmas Sessions) is based wholly on what I've personally tracked down through the years. I started down the road with a cassette dub someone made me of some Smile stuff in 1997, one of the first things I ever got through an internet connection. (It eventually turned out to be a hybrid of the Vigotone CD and the stuff on the Good Vibrations box, which I didn't yet have.) Since then I've gradually acquired a pretty hefty collection of boots; all my Beatles bootlegs were ripped off the internet but I actually got to have the experience of buying some Smile stuff and a few other things from "behind the desk" at a now-defunct music store in 2003. For the most part, however, the most interesting Beach Boys bootlegs are those I either got via CDR trades or over the internet, and my suggestion in the post-physical media age is for anyone interested in this material to do the same. As Capitol and the band have slowly trickled out rare material since 1990, a few of these releases have grown superfluous, but surprisingly few of them; band politics have prevented a number of their best vault items to stay illegitimate. (As an example, Carl Wilson supposedly kept "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" off the market for decades because he didn't like his vocal on it; the divine "Carry Me Home" was left off Made in California because of discomfort with some of the lyrics Dennis sings.)

This post and the three that follow will cover both studio and live bootlegs, which brings us to this: if you have a line on any free downloads or trades of Beach Boys live shows from the Ricky / Blondie era (roughly 1971 to 1974), I'm interested and you can email me at the address above. I don't think there's any major studio stuff out there that I haven't grabbed at some point, and frankly getting what I've got was enough of a hassle that I don't really want to play the game anymore. The best quality Beach Boys bootlegs for the '60s sessions at Capitol come from the Sea of Tunes label; thanks to some enterprising crook who copied a bunch of tapes sometime in the '80s, they allowed folks to hear a veritable wealth of session material in wildly overpriced boxed sets and single discs. If you're looking for these, the physical copies are pretty much extinct but it's much easier to crawl the bootleg blogs for 'em. I don't know how easy this is now, but I managed to find them all back around 2009. My preferred way to hear the unreleased '70s stuff is through fan-made "bonus tracks" for the individual albums. (I'm not aware of such a collection for So Tough; if you know otherwise, I'd like to hear about it.) These are fairly easy to find on the web. I can't help you with this but trust me.

I can't consistently provide cover art, label information or release years for these, so the dates given just correspond to when the included tracks were recorded. I've listed the bootlegs in vaguely chronological order under this arrangement. Lastly, this is already noted elsewhere, but a much more extensive gathering of information about bootlegs can be found at Bret Wheadon's site.

The Beach Boys: In the Beginning/The Garage Tapes (bootleg 1960-63) [2CD]
Two basically unrelated items thrown together by Sea of Tunes, one far more engrossing than the other. In the Beginning is just another gathering of loose odds and ends. It starts with a pre-Capitol (pre-Capitol demo, in fact) session with the Beach Boys working with and largely backing Gary Usher; the most intriguing part is hearing a paternal partnership forming between Brian and Chuck Britz, with the latter chiding Brian for coughing and yelling into the mic without biting his head off, which he'd have undoubtedly expected from other sources. We then skip forward several months. A Brian-produced version of "Summertime" by Sharon Marie -- released as the b-side to "Runaround Lover" -- is a fairly interesting sideline for Pet Projects fans; the rest of the Brian-produced rarities here were later officially released in better sound quality on The Big Beat 1963. Some leftover outtakes and session material from Surfer Girl, mostly false starts on basic tracks but a few vocal and overdub takes, closes out the first disc, rounding out one of the less satisfying discs from earlier in the series. "The Rocking Surfer," here under its original title "Good Humor Man," features Chuck Britz and Brian both getting vocally impatient with David Marks, who was gone not long after.

But the second disc is where it's at, in terms of historical interest. This is the famous reel-to-reel tape from the Wilson family's garage recording various mundane and miraculous fragments from 1960, and while it's the definition of arcana for hardcores only, it's truly fascinating with a slight air of voyeurism. We start with twenty minutes of the band rehearsing and arguing over "Surfin'," probably immediately after it was written; from there, we have lots of goofing off and oddball conversations, ranging from Brian and Dennis having a playful spat to Murry discussing a car accident with someone over the phone, and uh... Brian and a classmate speaking Spanish for five minutes. Most striking is the sequence wherein Brian and Mike invite a few teenage girls over to sing some songs, one of which is "Sloop John B," which of course the band would later cover on Pet Sounds; like the other musical snippets here, it's not exactly good or impressive, but its fly-on-the-wall moment of undiluted adolescence is endearing and sweet. The main point of interest is that this really does establish and capture the Beach Boys as an intimate family affair of sorts, their background in prosperous postwar "nuclear family" America never more apparent than on these snatches of quintessential suburban life.

The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 1: Surfin' Safari (bootleg 1962)
The first in the Sea of Tunes label's Unsurpassed Masters series, delving into exhaustive, undoctored and unissued session material for each of the Beach Boys' '60s albums on Capitol Records via miles of stolen tapes. A general note on this and most of the other Sea of Tunes boots is that you have to be really, really into the Beach Boys to enjoy hearing them plough through take after take after take of the same song; for someone like me it's quite interesting to hear them tweaking arrangements, screwing up and chatting between takes and I really dig hearing the songs take shape, but that's because they're one of my absolute favorite bands. For even most artists I love, such dedicated minutiae would be too much. That goes double for the early "garage" period of the Beach Boys, when they can only barely hold a song together in the first place, and for most people it's likely monotonous to hear them try to crank these primitive songs out, again and again and again. Only around 1965 or so do these outtakes and false starts start to have anything resembling general interest, even then only to Brian Wilson acolytes. So, with that warning in mind: of the nine songs specifically recorded for the band's first album ("Surfin'" was recorded at Hite Morgan's studio and simply sped up, while both sides of the first Capitol single were part of Murry's demo tape), five are represented here. Sorry, "Ten Little Indians" fans, you're outta luck. "Summertime Blues" takes up a lot of the disc, with basic track takes and vocal overdubs all captured seemingly in their entirety. The investigations of "Heads You Win, Tails I Lose" (track and vocals), "County Fair" (track and vocals including "acting"), "Cuckoo Clock" (track and vocals) and "Little Miss America" (track only, disappointingly) are far less exhaustive. The outtakes "Land Ahoy" and "Cindy Oh Cindy" are also documented with some level of what sounds to me like completeness. Lastly there are a couple of stripped-down takes of an unissued version of "The Surfer Moon," which Brian farmed out for two outside productions before using on a Beach Boys album in 1963. One intriguing facet of this first volume is what a cheerful presence producer Nick Venet is, when compared to the sardonic Chuck Britz or even Brian in his most intensely focused, dedicated period (1963-65). A fitfully interesting document, but even serious fans or scholars are unlikely to listen to it more than once.

The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 2: Surfin' U.S.A. (bootleg 1963)
This set of session material represents all eleven "new" songs recorded during the Surfin' U.S.A. period, plus the outtake "The Baker Man" (with two takes on the backing track and one vocal take), as well as a demo of the later recorded "Ballad of Ole Betsy" and the unused instrumental "Side Two," both later repped on the official Big Beat compilation. Unfortunately, Surfin' U.S.A. is one of the weakest early Beach Boys albums, downright overrun with instrumental filler. This boot -- in outstanding sound quality that actually improves on most masterings I've heard of the record's original stereo mix -- does offer a reminder that the scattered actual Beach Boys songs on this album are very good, with most of the throwaways actually eclipsing the better-known "Shut Down." The mostly embarrassing instrumentals (all five of them) are each represnted by one take. None of these songs are explored as extensively as a few of those on the first album; we generally get a complete backing track and a set of the vocal overdubs. This is sometimes interesting because you can hear, for instance, Mike single-tracked on "Shut Down," Brian without backing vocal accompaniment on "Farmer's Daughter" and "Lana" (both lovely performances), and the band sans Mike's lead on "Noble Surfer." With "Finders Keepers" fading later you can catch Mike's spoken flub at the very end -- and in case that doesn't stress this enough, this stuff goes very deep into the irrelevant end of the pool and there are no serious revelations. The most enjoyable and "different," rather than just interesting, tracks showed up on other releases later. Again, hardcore fans will enjoy the dissection of the record, but since it's such a weak LP in the first place this is not one of the really essential titles in the Sea of Tunes series.

The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 3: Surfer Girl (bootleg 1963)
The first really strong Beach Boys album -- and the first officially produced by Brian Wilson (he also produced Surfin' U.S.A., at the very least, uncredited) -- unfortunately gets a less interesting entry in the Sea of Tunes series than its predecessors, though since it only collects a few takes of most of the album's songs (all of which are represented except "Little Deuce Coupe," and the only taste of "Surfer Girl" is the final take without the fadeout) it's perversely more accessible to casual listeners. With a lot of session material missing at the time this was compiled (some of it later showed up on In the Beginning), this mostly is an exploration of a double tracking: you get to hear the group double down on its own vocals on "In My Room," "Catch a Wave," "Hawaii" and "Our Car Club." That last one is sort of nifty because you can clearly hear Brian's flub in the second bridge that later caused a weird lapse on the final mix, and because when the Beach Boys tape runs out you can hear a remaining fragment of the Honeys' abandoned "Rabbit's Foot," joined unexpectedly then by a tidbit of screaming guitar. That song and "The Surfer Moon" are both pickups of older material, and we get confirmation here that Brian is the only Beach Boy performing on "Moon." He also takes on the vocal track of "Your Summer Dream" by himself and in general takes a more prominent role in the sessions than previously, in part because this album was recorded in the brief period when both Al Jardine and David Marks were full-time touring Beach Boys so Brian could opt out of a number of gigs. Hearing Brian's vocals so intimately is quite nice ("Breathing is very sexual," he announces before laying down "The Surfer Moon"), though the appeal of it is naturally limited. Speaking of Brian, one of his outside productions -- "Run Around Lover" by Sharon Marie -- is also dissected here. But the Beach Boys themselves are all over the rest of the disc. The most documented songs on this release are without a doubt the album's four weakest selections: there's one alternate take of "The Rocking Surfer" and numerous dull runthroughs and overdubs of "Boogie Woodie," during which you get to hear Murry being patronizing as usual in the control booth. There are numerous instrumental takes of "Surfers Rule" and Chuck Britz coaxing the band through it, followed by all of the vocal takes and double tracking. The extremely lame "Swanee River" rewrite "South Bay Surfer," the album's only out and out dud, is represented by two instrumental takes and the second vocal overdub. It's not necessarily the fault of the compilers but this is a pretty disappointing chronicle of a fine album.

The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 4 (bootleg 1963) [2CD]
Despite being billed as a Beach Boys bootleg, this is really Brian Wilson's show in his earliest days working on other artists' records with the Wrecking Crew. It's quite something to contemplate how far he'd come as an arranger and producer in just the two years since the first Beach Boys single on Candix. Unfortunately, it's a bit difficult to hear his discussions with engineers and musicians on many of these sessions, though when he is audible (as on the sessions for "Endless Sleep") he's already showing off a bracing, professional command of the studio, a great artist at work. Pity this revelation comes on such a lame recording. Truthfully, apart from these scattered "genius at work" moments this boot is only really necessary for tracking the evolution of "I Do," a superb rewrite of "County Fair" recorded by the Beach Boys but finally released by the Castells. Five of the other six tunes we hear in progress are more properly enjoyed either on the Brian Wilson Pet Projects compilation (the Honeys' wonderful "The One You Can't Have"; Brian's own one-off group the Survivors with "Pamela Jean," later to become "Car Crazy Cutie"), Capitol's copyright extension comp The Big Beat 1963 (the Honeys' unfinished "Bobby Left Me," Gary Usher's grating "If It Can't Be You") and its sequel Keep an Eye on Summer (Larry Denton's "Endless Sleep," with Brian layered up on backing vocals). The only oddball item is the Honeys' "Go Away Boy," a.k.a. "I Can See Right Through You," which was abandoned but released by the Honeys without Brian decades later, and it doesn't come anywhere close to completion here. The aforementioned songs are generally represented by several instrumental takes followed by the vocal overdubs, which are interesting for those with a heavy interest in Brian's production methods but will test the patience even of many hardcore Beach Boys fans.

However, you could use the "I Do" material as a perfect microcosm of how Brian thought through his records as of 1963. Like so many songs in the Little Deuce Coupe era (and really, like so much of Brian's work in general) it's a refinement of earlier work. On the first disc we hear the Beach Boys tackle a rudimentary, draggy arrangement of it, sounding extremely uncomfortable with it; they do a few vocal takes but Brian was apparently (understandably) unhappy, and he took it to the Wrecking Crew some time later, crafting a sparkling, beautiful Spector-like arrangement over which the Beach Boys recorded soaring vocals. (I've loved this track, issued officially on the Surfer Girl/Shut Down Vol. 2 twofer, for years but not until hearing Brian actually direct the musicians did I notice that the bells during the tag are playing the Wedding March!) For unknown reasons, this version was left unreleased for years and the track was instead used by the Castells for a Warner Bros. single. (You can hear this lovely single on Spotify as part of The Best of the Castells.) The progression on other tracks is less interesting because either the professionalism is such that not a lot changes, or in a couple of cases the songs just aren't particularly good. "Endless Sleep" is badly and bewilderingly sung by one Larry Denton, and though it shows Brian's fondness for off-kilter doo wop evolving from him belting out the Delroys' "Bermuda Shorts" with Mike and Carl on stage at Hawthorne High in 1959, it's really hard to sit through five vocal takes of the thing. Overall, this bootleg hasn't aged well with the wider availability of most of these finished songs.

The Beach Boys: Live in Sacramento (bootleg 1964) [2CD]
This Sea of Tunes release tracks the construction of the Concert live album, collecting both shows as well as rehearsals and the painstaking tweaks made in the studio to cover up the shortcomings of the original recording. The shows themselves have since been officially released in digital form and on streaming services under a virtually identical title. It's missing all but two of the extra studio cuts, though. The only reason to seek this out is to hear the band bashing out "live in the studio" renditions of a few cuts that inevitably sound a little (and sometimes a lot) better than their attempts to overwhelm the screaming fans while actually on stage. By this point, as cruddy as the setlist was, they've started to actually become a tight band, at least a quantum leap beyond how they sound when stumbling through "Surfers Rule" and "I Do" in the studio during the preceding year. This peaks with the second "rehearsal" take on "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow," during which they rock harder than one might think possible, sounding like a full-on garage band with Brian in full, loosened up rare form in his delightful rock & roll voice. (This cut is so deniable it actually made it to the 2014 official release.) The extra material on disc two gets into the nuts and bolts of polishing Concert; one wonders how they still managed not to make "Johnny B. Goode" acceptable. A bit of a superfluous release now, though I kept it instead of the official version just because there's a bit more material.

The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 5 (bootleg 1964)
Bit of a weird one. At the time this was compiled (or stolen, rather) most of the tapes pertaining to Shut Down Vol. 2 were missing, so everything available from the record is related to the single, "Fun, Fun, Fun." Luckily it's an interesting gathering of material, deconstructing the creation of that masterful song. We start with a hilarious slowed-down rehearsal, transforming the song to a slow blues raveup, before a bit of tomfoolery with the organ insert. Then come the really fun parts: several takes of the overdub to record the band's vocal and Carl's guitar, with the unparalleled experience of hearing Mike getting the words mixed up and making an almost perverse point to pronounce "li-BRAR-y" correctly. There are a couple of alternate takes on a different, abandoned backing track, during which you can faintly hear someone (Brian or Carl, I think) saying "That's so bad I can't believe it! The guitar sounds shitty." (He isn't wrong.) Mike is even more nasal than usual here; you can't imagine how close a record as flawless as "Fun, Fun, Fun" might have come to sounding like undistinguished sludge. The rest of this disc is far less revealing, returning -- apart from two takes on "In My Room" in German -- to the well of Brian's outside productions for others. "He's a Doll" and "Thinkin' 'Bout You Baby" are both good songs given to the Honeys and Sharon Marie respectively (the latter was rewritten years later as the classic "Darlin'"), but the takes here are too repetitive, capturing the songs after they were already too well-established for us to sense any evolution besides the overdubbing process itself. This is an essential boot for the "Fun, Fun, Fun" stuff, but unfortunately the rest of it is disposable.

The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 6: All Summer Long (bootleg 1964) [3CD]
With the inevitable exception of the filler track "Our Favorite Recording Sessions," this set provides a documentary of every track on the Beach Boys' most confident early album. We track the evolution of each song, some more extensively than others, none more devotedly than "I Get Around" and "All Summer Long," which eat up the entirety of the first disc. It's amusing to hear Brian fighting endlessly with the xylophone for the intro, to hear the other Beach Boys groan (Carl: "oh god, Mike") when Love suggests changing the first line to refer to something more obscene than Coke "all over your blouse," to hear Brian's "fuck it!" just after the master fades, and to learn that Dennis' "not for us now!" was apparently a spontaneous addition. But "amusing" is surprisingly the limit of a lot of these outtakes. All Summer Long is situated perfectly between the Beach Boys' amateurish period in the studio and Brian's assertion of absolute control and mastery. He's in command here, but he's rubbing up against the limits of what his band can really do. For fans, there's some pleasure to be gleaned from listening to a vocal session of "Girls on the Beach" that the band, Brian included, is incapable of taking seriously, though the more telling moments are on the vocal sessions for "Wendy" -- Brian gets agitated with everyone and harshly scolds Mike for laughing and flubbing takes. Aficianados of the band's singing will appreciate the inclusion of a few vocal takes without double tracking that was subsequently layered on; namely, Brian's unadorned vocal on "Hushabye" is lovely, and without the extra tracking "Do You Remember" sounds grittier. Admirers of All Summer Long will enjoy this boot, but with so few remarkable variants on the final released versions of the songs, honestly three discs may be a stretch.

The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 7: Today! Vol. 1 (bootleg 1965) [4CD] [r]
The first half of an alarming eight discs dedicated to tracking and vocal sessions for the Today! album, this boxed set of voyeuristic documentation of Brian Wilson's evolving production methods will be fascinating for fans, as it captures him on the brink of transitioning from gifted rock & roll auteur to an actual master of writing and recording. Not that the Beach Boys aren't starting to sound really good in their own right; "She Knows Me So Well," recorded just after All Summer Long was completed but already leaps and bounds over it in sophistication, proves them more than capable of keeping up with Brian's increasingly ambitious balladry. While the instrumentation on his records for other artists had grown ever more elaborate, it was on Beach Boys records that he felt freedom to experiment with more difficult thoughts, both compositional and emotional. "When I Grow Up" (which takes up a whole disc) captures an extremely testy brand trying to cut a vocal track late at night, adding to the feeling that the Beach Boys and Brian in particular were putting themselves through torture to get these records sounding perfect. They're in (mostly) better spirits while exchanging playful death threats with Chuck Britz on "Dance, Dance, Dance," along with a threat to record an obscene "alternate version" called "Fuck, Fuck, Fuck," but those overdub sessions also capture what sounds like a very heated argument over money for personal appearances, with Dennis particularly convicted. Pressures were mounting; it was during the Today! period that Brian suffered a breakdown and retired from touring. The upshot was that he was then able to subsume himself at home in the act of creation. On disc four's takes of "Guess I'm Dumb" and "Kiss Me Baby," you can hear the miraculous results; with expansive use of a large room of session players, these tracks finally marry Brian's ears and heart: the sonic and aural exploration of his most ornate recordings is matched with the probing melancholy of his best early Beach Boys songs. "Guess I'm Dumb" would end up being a Glen Campbell record, produced by Brian with guitar and backing vocals from Carl plus the Honeys, but next to "The Little Girl I Once Knew" it's the most vital step toward Pet Sounds of the tracks he wrote and recorded in 1965, and it really belongs in the Beach Boys' canon -- and the pop canon overall -- as an arresting, sad, towering single and a zenith of Wilson's output. "Kiss Me Baby," one of the ballads destined for side two of Today!, is nearly as strong, and to hear Brian beginning to play the studio like an instrument, employing everything he had learned thus far to lay down the sounds in his head and beginning to powerfully express his fears, longings and insecurities through the Beach Boys' records, is nothing short of remarkable, and a privilege to witness.

The Beach Boys: Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 8: Today! Vol. 2 (bootleg 1965) [4CD] [r]
Though they're best heard in conjunction, this might be the better of the two Sea of Tunes Today! boxes if you can only track down one of them or just want to get the gist of how Brian's production methods evolved during this transitional period. For this is when the Wrecking Crew begins to fully take over, and as a result it's often riveting, and the chunks of verite audio capturing Brian in the driver's seat are just as remarkable as those on the Pet Sounds session boxes. There's a lot of material here, but highlights include the complete evolution of "Please Let Me Wonder" from rehearsal to completion, the tracking for the original "Help Me Ronda," on which "something's wrong with that goddamn ukulele," the opportunity to hear the layering in progress on "Do You Wanna Dance" as well as a botched Carl guitar solo on the vocal take and a remarkably cacophonous instrumental insert that suggests Brian was now becoming, with Phil Spector's influence, as meticulous about the cumulative impact of incongruous instruments as he already was with harmony vocals. I believe the extensive "In the Back of My Mind" sessions, despite some bad edits on the tape, offer the most impressive complete look at a day in the studio with Brian and the musicians pre-Pet Sounds, getting pissed off at the number of takes but still willing to make changes on the fly (like the percussion block pattern in the verses). It's extraordinary to hear this haunting song falling into place; it's a Dennis solo vocal, so on the vocal takes -- the initial one is effortless, the overdub like pulling teeth as always -- we get to hear his lovely, awkward croon unadorned, and it's intriguing how low-key, well-behaved and free of blabber a vocal session is without Mike in the room! The last disc is a bit ponderous, with endless takes of the relatively simple "I'm So Young" ("Chuck mixes a gin and tonic as good as he does a record!" "Better!") followed by the sporadically funny full twenty-minute version of "Bull Session with Big Daddy" -- a logical enough inclusion but not exactly riveting, except in the sense that Brian's feverish optimism and positive attitude, closing dirty jokes notwithstanding, capture a sense of his momentum (and his alignment with the times in the first half of the '60s) that you can't help sensing as ominous knowing how badly his life would derail in the coming decade.

The Beach Boys: (various rare & bootleg items) (bootleg 1964-65)
This set of entries on bootlegs, as noted, only covers stuff I actually have, and I got sufficiently burned out eventually that I never sought out the Dumb Angel series of boots, nor do I have Leggo My Ego, the Sea of Tunes live box with the Milwaukee concert, or Time to Get Alone. You can find lots of information on these boots at BootlegZone, Bret Wheadon's review page and various Beach Boys forums and fan sites, and a lot of '60s material that was once exclusive to the illegal market has since seen official release, but a couple of extracts bear mentioning here. The Beach Boys recorded a theme song for a sitcom called Karen in 1964, only officially released on a compilation of TV songs; it runs forty-six seconds and is amusingly terrible. They also laid down the theme -- backing Annette Funicello -- for the Disney live action feature The Monkey's Uncle a year later; it too is dismal, but it's a hard to find actual Beach Boys recording from their peak period so it should be acknowledged. Most famously -- and I'm not sure why it is missing from the Sea of Tunes discs, likely it just came from a different set of tapes that didn't get copied -- there is the harrowing argument between Brian and Murry Wilson (with Al, Mike, Carl and Dennis audibly uncomfortable on the sidelines) from the vocal overdub session for the "Help Me Rhonda" single. At forty minutes, it's a maddening aural document of verbal abuse and emotional manipulation; Brian invited his dad and several other people down to "relax" and watch the band lay down the finishing touches on the track, but Murry was drunk and became increasingly agitated, and the old resentments came flooding back. Brian does his best to maintain his authority but Murry's outrageous, cold, controlling behavior would be enough to drive the most sane, collected, self-possessed person into a state of tumultuous frustration. Unpleasant and train-wreck terrible as it is, the recording is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand what a tyrant Murry Wilson was, even after he no longer managed the band, and how his persecution complex and strained relationship with his sons cast a permanent shadow over all of the Beach Boys -- he keeps insisting that Al is not "syncopating" the lead vocal, and chides the group over and over again to "loosen up" along with various other meaningless complaints -- but especially Brian, who's audibly caught between adult independence with people who love and understand (but, crucially, depend on) him and his domineering, snide, jealous father.

***

We'll cut this here and the next post will cover Brian's continued peak as a studio giant, the 1965-66 run of Summer Days, "The Little Girl I Once Knew" and (of course) Pet Sounds.

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