Beach Boys' Party!/Stack-O-Tracks

Beach Boys' Party!/Stack-O-Tracks

by The Beach BoysThe Beach Boys

CD(German Import)

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It was probably a wise choice by Capitol Records to put Beach Boys' Party! and Stack-o-Tracks together on one CD because those are the two original LPs by the group that are likely to be appreciated most by hardcore fans (whereas Wild Honey, Friends, et al., have much broader potential audiences). Both of these records provide a look behind and inside of the group, and constitute, in a sense, almost musical documentaries of the work behind their sound -- Beach Boys' Party! was a kind of "unplugged" album of its day, with the band and a few friends and colleagues (including an uncredited Dean Torrence) relaxing in the studio, strumming and singing along to some of their favorite songs -- and also having some fun at the expense of a few contemporary figures; the version of "Times They Are a-Changin'," for example, may have played to Al Jardine's folk inclinations, but it gave the rest of the group a chance for some frat-boy-style japes at Dylan's and the folk music movement's earnestness. Stack-o-Tracks, by comparison, is sort of the Beach Boys' karaoke album, made up of the finished backing instrumental tracks to the group's songs, including many of their biggest hits -- these tracks (which, as one would expect, are thoroughly polished) reveal as much about the internal makeup of the group's songs as the Beach Boys' Party! cuts do about the members' influences, likes, and dislikes. Neither would ever be a first listening choice for 99 percent of the group's fans, although together they make for a delightful evening's Beach Boys ambience, and they are fascinating documents. [This two-on-one CD originally appeared in 1990 with okay sound, then in a spring 2001 remastering that is even better, with cleaner and sharper sound.]

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