Music Review: Dennis Wilson
BND "Cynics will say, with some accuracy, that when an artist dies, his previously dismissed work becomes overpraised. One could make that case for Dennis Wilson's 1977 solo album 'Pacific Ocean Blue,' now hailed as the first and the best solo album by a member of the Beach Boys. It briefly appeared on CD in 1991 but quickly went out of print. Sony Legacy's lavish, remastered two-CD reissue (or triple-vinyl LP) includes cuts in various states of completion that would have made up 'Bambu,' a proposed follow-up album Wilson never finished (he drowned in 1983). As such, 'POB' is worth a reappraisal. It would be easy to dismiss this music based on Wilson's singing. Years of cocaine and alcohol abuse, plus cigarettes, had turned his already raspy voice even raspier, out of tune, strained and wobbly. As a time capsule, 'POB' deftly captures the hedonistic West Coast ambience of the late '70s. Wilson's challenging melodies, layered harmonies and widescreen arrangements are darker than big brother Brian's optimistic pop tunes. They aren't instantly accessible. Yet much of this project rewards repeat listens. His subjects range from the ecology ('River Song') to the declining state of his marriage to actress Karen Lamm ('Thoughts of You') and a eulogy ('Farewell My Friend'). Sony has done a fantastic job of repackaging this lost album by including lyrics, insightful essays with links for more information online, period pictures and studio notes"