Carl and the Passions

Carl and the Passions
Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"
Studio album by The Beach Boys
Released May 15, 1972
Recorded December 4, 1971 – April 13, 1972
Genre Rock, soul, rhythm and blues, blues
Length 34:26
Label Brother/Reprise
Producer Carl Wilson, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Ricky Fataar, Blondie Chaplin.
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The Beach Boys chronology
Surf's Up
(1971)
Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"
(1972)
Holland
(1973)

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" is the eighteenth studio album by The Beach Boys, released in 1972. Upon initial release, it was the second disc of a two-album set with Pet Sounds as the first of the set (which The Beach Boys were able to license from Capitol Records). Unfortunately, because Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" was a transitional album that saw the departure of one member and the introduction of two new ones (making it wildly inconsistent in terms of type of material present), it paled next to their 1966 classic and was seen as something of a disappointment at the time of release.

The title of the album itself was a reference to an early band Carl Wilson had been in as a teenager (some say a possible early name for the Beach Boys). It was also the first album released under a new deal with Warner Bros. that allowed the company to distribute all future Beach Boys product in foreign as well as domestic markets.

Contents

Album history

In 1971, Carl (who served as the group's de facto musical director at this juncture) decided to spice up the structure of The Beach Boys by hiring third guitarist Blondie Chaplin, whose soulful singing brought a strong R&B element into the band's sound. Joining him was drummer and singer/songwriter Ricky Fataar (Dennis Wilson had suffered a debilitating hand accident). Both South Africans, Blondie and Ricky were discovered while playing in seminal South African band The Flame by Carl in London circa 1969. The album sees The Beach Boys entering a period of surprisingly earthy arrangements, cycling through all manner of roots-based rock.

Brian Wilson himself barely contributed to the album's sessions, distracted by his personal demons and various extraneous side projects, although he did collaborate on the writing of three songs and singing some backing vocals. The album was lifted by two songs written and sung by the new additions from South Africa, Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin. Dennis Wilson also contributed two songs which he wrote with Daryl Dragon, hinting towards the rolling majestic sound captured on his solo debut album, Pacific Ocean Blue. Other songwriting contributions came from Jack Rieley (two co-credits), Alan Jardine(two co-credits), Mike Love (two co-credits), Tandyn Almer (one co-credit) and Carl Wilson (one co-credit).

Not long after the sessions began, Bruce Johnston had a falling out with manager Jack Rieley and quit the band (or was possibly fired). His main contribution, an early version of "Endless Harmony" entitled "Ten Years of Harmony", was re-recorded and eventually released in 1980 on Keepin' the Summer Alive. (Johnston recently confirmed that his only performance on the released album is as a background vocalist on "Marcella.") Johnston quit because he was unenthusiastic about Rieley's suggestion that the group adopt a hard rock approach and felt that Brian Wilson's prolonged lack of involvement had resulted in declining artistic quality. (However, Rieley claims he fired Johnston, and for two reasons: first, to prevent him from voting in the group's democratic processes and second, because of the supposed disrespect and contempt Johnston was showing the eldest Wilson at the time.)

It's been speculated that Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" was either scheduled to be released, or re-released, as a single album. A Warner/Reprise catalogue number, MS 2090, had been assigned to this single disc release, but nothing came of it. It was released as a stand-alone single album in Europe on Reprise Records.

The group photo on the inner sleeve was thought to have been doctored to show Brian with the rest of the Beach Boys, a fact confirmed when a picture featuring the same image of Brian appeared in a 2004 book by Keith Badman. This rare shot showed him surrounded by fellow band members including Bruce Johnston (in his final group picture), but not with either Ricky Fataar or Blondie Chaplin, both of whom are credited on the final album cover. This is the last known group photo taken with Brian before his massive weight gain.

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" was met with a less than rapturous response upon release, going only as far as #50 in the US and #25 in the UK. However the passage of time has repaired Carl And The Passions – "So Tough"'s critical standing considerably, so much so that many now consider this the "hidden gem" in the Beach Boys catalogue.[who?]

English Britpop band Saint Etienne used the title So Tough for their 1993 album as an homage to the Beach Boys. Likewise, they also named their compilation of the same year You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone after the Beach Boys song.

The LP was mixed for Quadraphonic reproduction (also compatible for Stereo). It was to be played back by using the long extinct Dynaco or EV Stereo-4 decoders. However, the recording (LP or CD) can be played back in Quad by most of today's audio-video receivers. The surround sound information can be extracted using the Dolby Pro Logic setting. The Surf's Up LP and some of the songs on the Sunflower LP were also mixed with this process.

Track listing

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone"   Brian Wilson/Jack Rieley Carl Wilson 3:27
2. "Here She Comes"   Ricky Fataar/Blondie Chaplin Ricky Fataar/Blondie Chaplin 5:10
3. "He Come Down"   Al Jardine/B. Wilson/Mike Love Mike Love/Chaplin/Al Jardine/C. Wilson 4:41
4. "Marcella"   B. Wilson/Tandyn Almer/Rieley C. Wilson/Love 3:54
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead Vocals Length
1. "Hold On Dear Brother"   Fataar/Chaplin Chaplin 4:43
2. "Make It Good"   Dennis Wilson/Daryl Dragon Dennis Wilson 2:36
3. "All This Is That"   Jardine/Carl Wilson/Love C. Wilson/Jardine/Love 4:00
4. "Cuddle Up"   D. Wilson/Dragon D. Wilson 5:30

Singles

  • "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone" b/w "Cuddle Up" (Brother 1091), 15 May 1972
  • "Marcella" b/w "Hold On Dear Brother" (Brother 1101), 26 June 1972) 'US #110

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" is now paired on CD with Holland.

Carl and the Passions – "So Tough" (Brother/Reprise 2MS 2083) hit #50 in the US during a 20 week chart stay. It reached #25 in the UK.

Personnel

  • Blondie Chaplin – Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Producer
  • Ricky Fataar – Drums, Vocals, Producer
  • Alan Jardine – Vocals, Producer
  • Mike Love – Vocals
  • Stephen Moffitt – Engineer
  • Ed Thrasher – Art Direction
  • Brian Wilson – Keyboards, Vocals, Producer
  • Carl Wilson – Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer
  • Dennis Wilson – Keyboards, Vocals, Producer

Sources

  • Carl and the Passions – "So Tough"/Holland CD booklet notes, Elton John and Scott McCaughey, c.2000.
  • "The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the Southern California Experience", Timothy White, c. 1994.
  • "Wouldn't It Be Nice – My Own Story", Brian Wilson and Todd Gold, c. 1991.
  • "Top Pop Singles 1955-2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002.
  • "Top Pop Albums 1955-2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002.
  • Allmusic.com

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