Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 16 (1966-1967) SMILE (Sea Of Tunes C9949)
Total Time: 43:36 1. Prayer (1:05) 2. Heroes And Villains (2:55) 3. Barnyard (0:54) 4. Do You Like Worms (4:04) 5. The Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine (1:10) 6. He Gives Speeches (0:54) 7. Wonderful (2:05) 8. Child Is Father Of The Man (1:45) 9. Cabin Essence (3:30) 10. Look (2:39) 11. Good Vibrations (3:39) 12. I Wanna Be Around/Friday Night (1:35) 13. Vega-Tables (3:27) 14. Wind Chimes (2:26) 15. Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow (2:34) 16. I Love To Say Da da (2:24) 17. You’re Welcome (1:05) 18. Surf’s Up (5:15)
“SMILE”/Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 16 (1966-1967) is the 16th of 20 Unsurpassed Masters volumes on the penned Beach Boys “Sea Of Tunes” label.
The Beach Boys Album Reviews, Message Board offers as part of its conclusion that “‘SMILE was to have been released before ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ wouldn’t have been as well-received as it was, had ‘SMILE’ come out when and as intended. That’s for sure. It’s possible The Beatles ‘response’ would have been seen as ‘too commercial’ and ‘lightweight’ by serious music commentators in the context of a full-blown release of ‘SMILE’. When “Surf’s Up”, the song, was completed in 1971 – it revealed well and truly to everyone how good ‘SMILE’ ‘could’ have been. If “Surf’s Up” had been released December 1966/January 1967 – it would have been acclaimed for what it is, one of the greatest songs of all time”.
The www.allmusic.com website offers the following review of ‘SMILE’: “This 16th volume in “Sea Of Tunes” all-Beach Boys-all-the-time Unsurpassed Masters series is none other than another set of bootleg takes from the legendary SMILE project that Brian Wilson emotionally, psychologically, and literally walked away from in 1967, leaving it as perhaps the most famous unfinished album in pop music history. Countless different bootleg versions of the original SMILE sessions have been bouncing around for decades now, and even though Wilson “finished” the album with all new recordings in 2004, the aborted 1967 model continues to fascinate, charm, and frustrate its many fans and admirers. The thematic and loopy cartoon Americana Gothic art of the finished version is cool to see revealed in Wilson’s newer rendition, but the original tapes are in many ways more powerful and striking, due in no small part to the angelic singing of Carl Wilson and the other Beach Boys. Even broken into tantalizing and frustratingly unfinished fragments like this, these 1967 recordings suggest a world that almost was, and if Brian Wilson feels the matter is closed, it really isn’t, because although you can make a wonderful facsimile that approximates the past, you can’t, no matter how hard you try, escape it”.
Wikipedia’s article on SMILE concluded with the following: “Despite the cancellation of SMILE, interest in the work remained high and versions of several major tracks – including “Our Prayer”, “Cabin Essence”, “Cool Water”, and “Surf’s Up” – continued to trickle out. Many were assembled by Carl Wilson over the next few years and included on later albums. The band was still expecting to complete and release SMILE as late as 1972, before it became clear that Brian had been the only one who could have made sense out of the endless fragments that were recorded. A substantial number of original tracks and linking fragments were included on the group’s 30th anniversary CD boxed set in 1993. The full SMILE project did not surface until Wilson and Parks completed the writing, aided by Darian Sanahaja who helped in the sequencing and Brian re-recorded it as Brian Wilson Presents “Smile” in 2004″.
This “Sea Of Tunes” 1999 release comes with a beautiful thick booklet including gorgeous pictures, graphics and detailed track by track breakdowns. This merits an interesting, if not compelling, listen after all of these years.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)