RARITIES II: SEA OF TUNES I
I - II - III - IV - V

NOTE: In November of 1997, A new label, "Sea Of Tunes" began releasing high-quality studio out-takes from all of the early Beach Boys albums.  Copied onto digital video tape during the making of the An American Band video in 1984, it took nearly 14 years before these tapes were bootlegged. Presented in chronological order, with session dates and photos appropriate to each album, these CD's are perhaps the most important ever released for scholars and serious fans of The Beach Boys.

Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 1 (1962) The Alternate Surfin' Safari Album
Sea Of Tunes C 9703 [CD]; Released 1997

CD Features:

  • 12 takes of "Summertime Blues"
  • 3 takes of "Heads You Win..."
  • 4 takes of "Land Ahoy"
  • 5 takes of "Little Girl (You're My Miss America)"
  • 2 takes of "County Fair"
  • 2 takes of "Cuckoo Clock"
  • 3 takes of "Surfer Moon"
  • 5 takes of "Cindy, Oh Cindy"

To view complete track list click here.

REVIEW:  This Sea Of Tunes release, which deals exclusively with the studio out-takes of the Beach Boys' first album, Surfin' Safari, is a welcome addition to die-hard fans collections. The sound is truly remarkable, although the revelations are few. Multiple takes of "Summertime Blues" reveal the fresh-faced young men not able to play the backing track unless they're singing along, during "Land Ahoy" they get reprimanded by a testy studio technician for talking during a vocal take, and already Brian is doing all of the countoffs and vocal direction. It's all very energized and ragged. Overall, this series will appeal to those fans who love to "peek" inside the studio while the Beach Boys are working, but will turn off any casual fan who thinks listening to take after blown take is a dull way to spend an hour.



Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 2 (1963) The Alternate Surfin' USA Album
Sea Of Tunes C 9704 [CD]; Released 1997

CD Features:

  • 3 takes of "Surfin USA"
  • 2 takes of "Shut Down"
  • 2 takes of "Lana"
  • 2 takes of "Farmer's Daughter"
  • 1 take of "Miserlou"
  • 1 take of "Honky Tonk"
  • 3 takes of "Noble Surfer"
  • 2 takes of "Finders Keepers"
  • 1 take each of "Stoked" "Surf Jam" and "Let's Go Trippin'" plus bonus tracks!

To view complete track list click here.

REVIEW: The second in the "Unsurpassed Masters" series tackles the Beach Boys sophmore Surfin' USA sessions, and in my opinion is more enjoyable than the first disc, due to the increased confidence of the Beach Boys, the greater variety and quality of songs, and the continued excellence of the sonics (listening over digital headphones is great). "Vol. 2" contains multiple stereo mixes of "Surfin' USA," "Lana," "Shut Down," "Farmer's Daughter," "Finder's Keepers," "Miserlou," and "Noble Surfer," and and one take each of "Stoked," "Surf Jam," and "Let's Go Trippin'."  The disc also includes bonus tracks of "Ballad of Ole' Betsy," "The Baker Man," and the previously unreleased instrumental "Take Two."



Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 3 (1963) The Alternate Surfer Girl Album
Sea Of Tunes C 9705 [CD]; Released 1997

CD Features:

  • 1 take of "Surfer Girl"
  • 8 takes of "Surfer's Rule"
  • 3 takes of "South Bay Surfer"
  • 6 takes of "Boogie Woodie"
  • 2 takes of "Our Car Club"
  • 2 takes of "The Surfer Moon"
  • 2 takes of "Hawaii"
  • 2 takes of "Your Summer Dream"
  • 1 take of "The Rocking Surfer"
  • 2 takes each of "Catch A Wave" "In My Room" and "Run Around Lover"

To view complete track list click here.

 

REVIEW: The Surfer Girl sessions disc was a disappointment to me, due to one main reason: I consider Surfer Girl to be the first great album in the Beach Boys' canon, and the out-takes presented here don't reflect that. The out-takes give weight to the lesser tracks; eight tracks devoted to "Surfer's Rule," three to "South Bay Surfer" (ugh), six for "Boogie Woodie," and only one for "Surfer Girl," and two each for "Our Car Club," "The Surfer Moon," "Hawaii," "Your Summer Dream," "Catch A Wave," and "In My Room." The album finishes with the non-Beach Boy, Brian Wilson production: "Run Around Lover." Listening made me very curious whether this was all that was on the master, or whether the "Sea Of Tunes" producers held some back... I wanted much more.



Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 4 (1963) Miscellaneous Trax
Sea Of Tunes C 9707/7 [CD]; Released 1997

CD Features:

  • 6 takes of "The One You Can't Have"
  • 17 takes of "Pamela Jean" (2 separate sessions)
  • 3 takes of Bobby Left Me"
  • 3 takes of "Go Away Boy"
  • 14 takes of "I Do" (2 separate sessions)
  • 3 takes of "If It Can't Be You"
  • 7 takes of "Endless Sleep"

To view complete track list click here.

REVIEW: This two CD set collects various Brian Wilson productions, from the Honeys to the Castells, and is a fascinating collection of "Girl Group"-type songs, and rarities. Again mastered with perfect, clear sound, these sessions record instrumental and vocal takes for the Honeys "The One You Can't Have," "Bobby Left Me," "I Can See Right Trough[sp] You (Go Away Boy)," the (Brian Wilson-helmed) Survivors "Pamela Jean," and the marvelous "I Do" that was first tried by the Beach Boys, then given to the Castells, who are featured on the last two takes. Other takes included are from "If It Can't Be You," and "Endless Sleep." One of my favorite sets in the Sea Of Tunes series so far.



The Beach Boys Live In Sacramento, 1964
Sea Of Tunes C 9701 [CD]; Released 1997

CD Features:

  • Complete first show recorded August 1, 1964 at The Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, California.
  • Songs include: "Little Honda" "Hushabye" "Hawaii" "Surfer Girl" "Be True To Your School" "Surfin' USA" "Don't Back Down" "Don't Worry Baby" "Wendy" "I Get Around" "Fun Fun Fun" and six more!
  • 12 bonus tracks

To view complete track list click here.

REVIEW: The first and second shows are on separate CD's, and, being the first releases on the new Sea Of Tunes label, announced to Beach Boys collectors around the world that these CD's were going to rock their world. Apparently taken directly from master tape sources, the sound and completeness are staggering. The concerts themselves are clumsy and rather badly played, but the boys are extremely enthusiastic, and the crowd (seeming to consist of LOTS of screaming girls) is forgiving. The bonus tracks on both sets are interesting; on the first show CD, a pre-concert rehersal shows the band struggling with rhythm and doing a little familial ribbing (Brian seems rather impatient).



The Beach Boys Live In Sacramento, 1964 Second Show!
Sea Of Tunes C 9702 [CD]; Released 1997

CD Features:

  • Complete second show recorded at The Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, California on August 1, 1964
  • Bonus tracks are the "live album" vocal overdubs
  • Bonus rehearsal for Honda "55" radio commercial

To view complete track list click here.

REVIEW: On the second show's CD, the vocal overdubs in the studio are documented, as well as rehearsals for the previously unreleased (radio jingle?) "Honda "55"," which is a wonderful acapella harmony tag to the set.



The Beach Boys Christmas Sessions
Sea Of Tunes C 9708/9/10 [CD]; Released 1997

CD Features:

  • 3-CD box set containing extensive sessions and full stereo presentation of the 1964 Christmas Album
  • 1 take of "Little Saint Nick"
  • 2 takes of "The Man With All The Toys"
  • 5 takes of "Santa's Beard"
  • 4 takes of "Merry Christmas Baby"
  • 16 takes of "Christmas Day"
  • 1 take of "Frosty The Snowman"
  • 5 takes of "We Three Kings..."
  • 4 takes of "Blue Christmas"
  • 6 takes of "Santa Claus is Coming..."
  • 4 takes of "White Christmas"
  • 3 takes of "Auld Lang Syne"
  • 1 take of "The Lord's Prayer"
  • 2 takes of "Little Saint Nick's Drive In"

To view complete track list click here.

REVIEW: I thought I would enjoy this 3-CD box set far less than I did. After all, THREE CD's of the 1964 Christmas Album?  It's not exactly screaming for a retrospective treatment.  However, there are some very interesting revelations here. For example, Brian Wilson gets fed up during the countless instrumental takes of "Christmas Day" and calls the song "a f****** piece of s***!" (That's right, a flaming piece of salami):) then on disc two, the engineers and band begin mocking Brian's Father, Murry Wilson, imitating his sledgehammer approach to producing, with hilarious accuracy. (Sing out men!  Get north!) (He's not at that particular session). Also included are some of the lush, dynamic symphonic orchestral takes, (which is a big reason the album is so good, and are very welcome), including the previously-unheard track to "Jingle Bells" (recorded by a full orchestra, with no vocals, and never used) plus several vocal takes and lots of stereo (INCLUDING the sparkling stereo rare single mix of "Little Saint Nick!") Wunnerful, wunnerful.



Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 5 (1964) Miscellaneous Trax Vol. 2
Sea Of Tunes C 9811 [CD]; Released 1998

CD Features:

  • 10 takes of "Fun Fun Fun"
  • 2 takes of "Ganz Allein" (German language version of "In My Room")
  • 7 takes of "He's A Doll"
  • 8 takes of "Thinkin' 'Bout You, Baby"

To view complete track list click here.

REVIEW: A single disc, chronicling various and sundry sessions, i.e.; "Fun, Fun Fun," from Shut Down, Vol. 2, "Ganz Allein" (German language In My Room), the Honey's "He's a Doll," and Sharon Marie's "Thinkin' 'Bout You, Baby" (which is the very first incarnation of "Darlin'" and is an excellent girl-group-like number.) A singular difference in this release is the inclusion of liner notes, written in somewhat stilted english, ("In My Room is one of the classic Beach Boys songs.  Even with German vocals it is still outstanding") but adding little to one's understanding of these tracking dates.  An odd collection, apparently trying to fill in the gap of "Shut Down Vol. 2,"  but still enjoyable, especially the super-charged takes of "Fun, Fun, Fun" (which begins as a slow blues jam, with Mike growling out the vocals!)



Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 6 (1964) The Alternate "All Summer Long" Album
Sea Of Tunes C 9811 [CD]; Released 1998

CD Features:

  • 12 takes of "I Get Around"
  • 9 takes of "All Summer Long"
  • 2 takes each of "Hushabye" and "Little Honda"
  • 7 takes of "We'll Run Away"
  • 3 takes of "Memphis Beach"
  • 4 takes of "Wendy"
  • 10 takes of "Do You Remember"
  • 8 takes of "Girls On The Beach"
  • 3 takes of "Drive In"
  • 7 takes of "Don't Back Down"
  • 4 takes of Little Honda" plus bonus alternate version of "Don't Back Down"

To view complete track list click here.

REVIEW: A three-CD box of All Summer Long sessions?  Al-righty!  Mike Love unveils his biting sarcasm from the recording booth during the tracking sessions of "I Get Around" ("Take 41.  ...I mean 14.") and then screws around during vocal sessions for "Wendy" (thereby getting replaced on lead vocal by Brian.)  There is a ripping version of "Do You Remember," Mike breaks out his operatic voice during the first run through of "Girls On The Beach," (and later, there are some wonderful, tentative vocal moments with the Boys working out their harmonies.)  The sessions reveal that Brian was a hard worker, and the rest of the band had a hard time getting serious, constantly cracking up and goofing off.  (Although Brian himself was sometimes the impetus for the joking.)  Also contains multiple takes of "All Summer Long," "Hushabye," "We'll Run Away," "Memphis Beach," "Drive-In," "Don't Back Down," and "Little Honda." Lots of fun to listen to.


Disclaimer: This is an unofficial site and has no connections with either the Beach Boys or their agents.
All content © copyright 2006 Bret Wheadon. All rights reserved.
The Monkees Guide | The Sinatra Guide